“I don’t know how to not make it personal,” says Jerrelle Guy, blogger at Chocolate For Basil. “For me, cooking and baking are part of my emotional process and I don’t want to sugarcoat it.” The approach shows in her beautiful new book, Black Girl Baking, which is brimming with family stories and recipes that reflect her personal approach to cooking.
However, the book is hardly a collection of hand-me-down recipes. Instead, it’s Jerrelle’s take on traditions. One recipe, for example, is a a gluten-free ambrosia breakfast bread that’s reminiscent of the canned fruit desserts her mother used to make. Another is a chocolate cake that reminds Jerrelle of her first Easy Bake Oven. And then there’s this PB&J swirl bread, a twist on the traditional lunch bag sandwich.
The Inspiration Behind Those PB&J Swirls
This recipe for a PB&J swirl bread is inspired by the sandwiches Jerrelle’s mom used to make for her lunch— sandwiches that were not always enthusiastically received by Jerrelle. “My ma would buy those already-swirled-together pinstripe jars of peanut butter and jelly and spread a good quarter cup onto a couple of slabs of thick-sliced potato bread,” she writes. “For her, the ratio of peanut butter to jelly in the jar was perfect. For me, I never liked that much peanut butter. It left my mouth tacky and dry.”
The Baker’s Tips
Here, she turns the ratio on its head, using peanut butter powder in the batter for a subtle peanut flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the soft, yeasty (vegan!) bread. A swirl of jelly transforms it from a goopy sandwich to a more sophisticated (and Instagram-worthy) treat that has just the right amount of nostalgic flavor.
“I’ll eat a slice or two fresh out of the oven, then toast the leftovers and serve with sliced banana and honey, or spread some butter on a warm slice,” says Jerrelle. Make it for your mom to say thanks for packing all those lunches. We think she’ll approve!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread
Makes two 9-inch (23-cm) loaves.
- 1¼ cups (295 ml) warm oat or nut milk
- 4 tbsp (50 g) sugar, divided
- 1½ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups (360 g) unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ cup (36 g) peanut butter powder
- 6-8 tbsp (90-120 g) favorite jelly
- In a small bowl, combine the milk with 2 tablespoons (25 g) of the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit and bloom until a thick cap of froth is formed, 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour and salt. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (25 g) of sugar along with the bloomed yeast and peanut butter powder. Knead the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it turns into a springy dough.
- Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a damp cloth. Place it in a warm dark place to double in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin and have two 9 x 5-inch (23 x 12.5-cm) oiled loaf pans lined with 4-inch (10-cm)-wide strips of parchment long enough to stretch across the width and up the sides of the pan with a little hanging over.
- Unwrap the risen dough, punch it down in the center to release the air and roll it out to roughly a 16 x 30-inch (40.6 x 76-cm) rectangle. Spread the jelly all over the surface, then roll the dough up tightly from the shorter end. Slice the log in half so you have roughly two 8-inch (20-cm)-long rolls. Transfer them to the prepared loaf pans. If they’re longer, compress the rolls slightly, like accordions, or tuck the ends under to fit. Cover the bread again with plastic wrap and a warm damp dish towel. Keep in a dark place to double in size for another 60 to 90 minutes. The bread should peak out just slightly above the edges of the pan, or at least come up very close but not poof far over the edges.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4) and position an oven rack on the lower half of the oven.
- Bake the loaves for 50 to 60 minutes, or until you can hear a hollow knock when you tap on the bottom of the baked loaf with your knuckle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve with sliced banana and honey.