When I'm baking bread I usually make several loaves at a time. I'll make most of them savory, for the family's sandwiches during the week. But I'll also play around with sweet additions in at least one loaf, mainly for my own amusement, though the kids and Bill tend to approve most of the time.
I've done versions of cinnamon raisin bread, and I cooked down appples and made apple cinnamon swirl bread and apple raisin cinnamon swirl bread – all to my family's delight.
The other day I was making a variation of potato bread, subbing rye flour for half of the all-purpose flour in the recipe. I was making a 4 loaf batch, and I decided to make some new sort of swirl bread with one of the loaves.
I've been wanting to do something with peanutbutter…and I also happened to have some bananas on hand…so I mashed them together – one banana and about 3 tablespoons of peanutbutter.
Next, I thought it should have some kind of topping.
Last week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Allspice Crumb Muffins, and that must have been on my mind because I decided to make a simple streusel topping.
I put a generous handful of rolled oats in a bowl, added about a quarter cup (I think) of light brown sugar, several shakes from the cinnamon jar, and about 3 T unsalted butter, cut into bits. I worked all that together with my fingers, to incorporate the butter throughout as much of the topping as possible, and then I sprinkled all this on top of the peanutbutter-banana swirl loaf in the pan.
When I checked them after 30 minutes, I noticed that the topping looked…how do I explain? It sort of looked dry and fluffy. I thought maybe I didn't work in enough butter, so I quickly melted a couple more tablespoons of butter and drizzled that over the streusel.
I will say, in hindsight, that maybe a streusel topping wasn't the best idea for the bread. Or maybe I just put too much on. Lots of it fell off any time I sliced the bread. But not all of it (excuse me while I talk to myself here)…so I guess I put too much. Yes. That's it. You only want a light layer of the streusel. Save the rest for a coffee cake.
I baked this loaf longer than the other three loaves – about an hour total instead of 45 minutes. The top just seemed soft underneath the streusel, so I thought it needed more time.
I let the bread cool in the pan for about fifteen minutes. When I tipped the pan over so the loaf would fall out, a shower of streusel decorated my cutting board. Yep. Less topping next time.
Here's the loaf.
First he tried it just plain, as-is. And he loved it. I was actually surprised at HOW much he enjoyed it. He wanted more. And he thought this might be the kind of bread that tastes good toasted, and buttered, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. So we went that route.
And it was good.
The following morning Alex checked out the new loaf…
The bread was incredibly moist, and unlike my batches of raisin or apple swirl breads, the layers all stayed compressed together – the bread didn't tear apart in a spiral when I took it out of the toaster.
Next time? I think I'd up the cinnamon level in the filling…peanutbutter and banana are pretty mild flavors, and I thought it needed a bit more…something. And, as we all know now, I'd use less streusel on top. And there are plenty of other combinations possible…peanutbutter and jam…peanutbutter and Nutella…so many possibilities!