I don’t know whether it’s an especially Australian thing, but we always had peanut butter and honey sandwiches as kids. There was something really magical as a child about pulling out your lunchbox to find that the honey had soaked into the bread and crystalised in the summer heat. Of course, the accompanying semi-fermented banana and warm school milk are far less nostalgia-inducing memories, but we’ll leave those aside for now!
When the February Sourdough Surprises challenge of a monkey breads and pull-apart breads was announced, I knew immediately that a peanut butter and honey pull-apart needed to feature. Never having made a pull-apart, all I knew is that it is a loaf constructed in such a way that you can tear portions off with your hands, so I searched the interwebs for inspiration and settled on this beautiful form (where you will also find loads of great step-by-step pics).
For the dough, I adapted a recipe for challah because I wanted something rich and soft and shreddy. If you don’t sourdough, you can make a yeasted version – just halve the linked “easy challah” dough recipe to make one loaf and use those rise times.
120g 100% hydration starter, room temperature
120ml tepid water
320g all-purpose (plain) flour, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
4 tbsp granulated (white) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp peanut butter
4 tbsp liquid honey
2 tbsp extra honey for glazing
Combine starter and water in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add half the flour and beat with a wooden spoon to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.
Add the egg, sugar and salt to the dough and beat together.
By hand or with your dough hook, knead in the remaining flour until soft and elastic, about 7 minutes with a mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about three hours, depending on ambient temperature.
Punch down dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth.
Roll out to a rectangle about 40 × 25cm (16 × 10″). Stir together the peanut butter and honey and spread over the dough, leaving a small border on the long edges.
Roll the rectangle tightly from the long edge and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, ensuring that it is seam-side-down. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 2.5cm (1″) segments, 3/4 of the way across, at a 45° angle. Take every second segment and fold it back, so the loaf is staggered.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).
Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 190°C (375°F) and bake for about 18 minutes longer, until golden.
Transfer to a wire rack. Heat the extra honey in the microwave and brush onto the warm loaf, then allow to cool completely.
Check out these monkey breads and pull-aparts made by my fellow sourdough surprisers!