Reddit Is Obsessed with This No-Yeast Peanut Butter Bread, and You Will Be, Too

It tastes like a giant peanut butter cookie.

Reddit No-Yeast Peanut Butter Bread
Photo: Sarah Crowder

In a four-week span of sheltering in place in my New York City apartment in the spring of 2020, I’d probably used every plate, utensil, pot, and kitchen gadget I owned. Cooking is a stress reliever for me, one of the few that I still had access to during a time that seeing friends and going to the gym were off limits. I wasn't the only one — sales of heirloom beans spiked, and yeast seemed to be impossible to find on my once-a-week grocery runs. That wasn't a problem for me, since I live that sourdough starter life, but it was no fun if you wanted to make bread at home. Which is why it wasn't surprising that one of the most popular recipes going around Reddit then was for a Depression-era bread that requires no yeast at all. Instead, it’s a peanut butter bread.

The Reddit community /r/Old_Recipes is devoted to resurfacing, well, old recipes, often taken from pamphlets, community cookbooks, and other self-published materials. It’s 343,000 members strong, and full of all kinds of retro delights. The no-yeast peanut butter bread first circulated thanks to user @trixietravisbrown, who found it in a 1932 cookbook from the Five Roses Flour company.

True to many recipes of that particular era, it doesn’t use many fancy ingredients — odds are you already have them on hand. Per the original post, it calls for 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/3 cups milk, and 1/2 cup peanut butter. You mix the dry ingredients, then blend in the milk, then the peanut butter. Bake in a greased loaf pan in an oven preheated to 325°F for an hour. That’s it.

If you’re usually intimidated by baking bread, a recipe like this, essentially a not-too-sweet quick bread, is a great place to start. There’s no yeast, no kneading, and no fancy equipment. Other posters followed suit, with some adding little extras like chocolate chips, using the peanut butter bread to make French toast, or just smearing it with Nutella. I tragically could not find peanut butter to make it, but our wonderful then-photo editor Sarah Crowder did and made up the loaf at home. Her report was that it smelled amazing and was very tender and not overwhelmingly peanut butter-y. Sounds pretty great.

And if you, like me, need some recipe inspiration now and then, /r/Old_Recipes is a great place to poke around. Aside from the peanut butter bread, there’s an excellent, easy recipe for molasses cookies, dubbed "murder cookies” since they were developed by a person who previously lived in the poster’s house who was, um, killed. Despite the dark history of a few treats, browsing through these old recipes can feel particularly soothing and instructive, a reminder that people cooked through other periods of uncertainty and kept living (and baking) as best they could.

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