No-Yeast Peanut Butter Bread Is Almost Too Easy To Make

During the dark days of the Great Depression, when resources were scarce, creativity and innovation in the kitchen became essential. Traditional baking ingredients like yeast, eggs, butter, and oil were hard to come by or prohibitively expensive for many households. In the face of adversity, people devised ingenious ways to create nourishing meals with what little they had. Out of these trying times emerged a simple yet satisfying recipe that continues to be cherished today — peanut butter bread.

Born out of necessity, peanut butter bread became a staple for families struggling to make ends meet. The primary ingredients — flour, baking powder, and peanut butter — were relatively affordable and accessible, and this humble loaf provided both sustenance and a touch of comfort in these challenging times.

Cut to today as the world continues to emerge from a global pandemic that shifted perspectives and priorities. During the recent dark days, many people found solace in baking and sought out evermore creative recipes that possibly spoke to simpler times. While no one is suggesting an exact parallel between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Depression, there is something to be said for an interest in another time of widespread hardship and the solace and meditation inherent to baking. It also doesn't hurt that peanut butter bread, with its commonplace ingredients and quick prep, is a cinch to make, even for those who are avowed non-bakers.

What is in peanut butter bread?

This moisture-packed loaf is a testament to the versatility of peanut butter, which serves as both a binder and a substitute for the butter or oil that is normally used in no-yeast quick breads, such as zucchini or banana bread. There are scores of recipes online, but most call for flour, baking soda or powder, salt, peanut butter, and sugar. There are, of course, other variables and swaps you will see if you go perusing these recipes. Some bakers choose to add a bit of vanilla extract, others swap out the sugar for — or simply add – honey or maple syrup, and still others use non-dairy milks to make it a fully vegan recipe.

The original recipe, which recently surged in popularity on Reddit, is from a 1932 cookbook released by the Five Roses Flour of Canada. It is made from flour, baking powder, sugar, peanut butter, milk, and salt. The dry ingredients are first combined, the peanut butter and milk whisked in, and the batter poured into a loaf pan, which is then baked at 325 degrees for an hour. Five Roses recommends allowing the bread to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool further to room temperature.

Much like its close quick bread cousins, peanut butter bread is more of a breakfast or dessert bread. As such, recommendations for serving the bread range from toasting with a smear of butter to drizzling with honey or slices of banana.