Hey bakers and friends, Susan here. I know it’s been a while. I’ll cop to having been off on extended frolics and detours, pursuing other Life Goals and altogether neglecting both this blog and my sourdough starter. I’ll cop to not having baked a loaf (other than my perennial Thanksgiving Cranberry Bread) for almost four years (gasp!). And I’ll abashedly cop to being the blogger-equivalent of that annoying relative who comes around only when they need money.
Actually, I don’t need money, but I do need a favor. Now that Life has settled down some, I recently grew a new starter. It took a while to get off the ground, but yesterday I was able to use it to bake my STILL favorite Norwich Sourdough. It was good. Crusty, and tangy enough so you know it’s sourdough at first bite.
Now it turns out this particular bake seems to have sparked a friendly dispute about the uses and misuses of a crusty sourdough loaf. I won’t tell you which side of this bet I’m on, but the question is this: is a loaf like Norwich Sourdough properly deployed in a PB&J? Is the combination perfection itself, or is that just nuts?
I’d be ever grateful if you’d respond. (No pressure to do so, of course, but consider that the stakes here might or might not involve me having to shave my head, and winter is coming.) And as a
bribe bonus for having read this far even though I’m that annoying relative who completely doesn’t deserve it, explain your answer in the comments and I’ll enter you into a random drawing to win my extra copy of The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz. Thank you! Update: Giveaway has closed, but voting and commenting is still open. PB&J on sourdough appears to be a thing for most of you!
So happy to see you writing again! I’ve long neglected my own blog as well, so I completely understand the haitus; no explanations needed! To answer your question, I consider good bread a fundamental simple pleasure in addition to being a source of sustenance, and there are few beloved staple sandwiches in the American diet as iconic as the PB&J, so why not use sourdough for PB&J? It could only be awesome. The tangy bread will balance out the sweetness, and make it more complex in flavor. Then again I’m more of a peanut butter and orange marmalade person, so perhaps my sensibilities are not quite one of a purist to begin with!
Claire Fleet says
I agree! And think the brambly or stone fruit jams do prefer an almond butter -more of a cherry bakewell vibe going on there. Peanut butter and strawberry does have considerable allure if there’s a little salt in there. But honestly, when it comes to nut butters I’m straight up. Except peanut butter, which demands a good crack of freshly ground black pepper. I prefer my jams and marmalades with salted butter. But whatever, sourdough is always my preference. Not yet able to bake my own well, I’m ashamed to say. But I adore it. And only dream of the crust and tang of the likes of your Norwich! It’s good to see you blogging again, Susan.
The acidity from the bread if welcome to counterbalance the sweetness of the jelly, it works better with natural peanut butter. The rye flour in this particular case goes well with the peanut butter at least to my palate.
Why not? My neighbor ordered sourdough bread from me and he said it was the best peanut butter & jelly sandwich he had.
I am so glad to see you writing again!
O Susan, I was so happy when this morning a new post poped up in my Feedreader 🙂 I missed your blog so much!
I use sourdough bread for everything from cheese to peanutbutter and honey (what I prefer over jam), but as I’m German, it maybe does not count. Beside the more flavourful bread the crisp crust adds another sensual experience beside the soft peanutbutter and soft jam/honey, something I like, too!
Many Greetings from Germany!
While i am a devoted sourdough lover (particularly from your own starter), i’m not a fan of it with PB&J. i like the peanut butter and jelly to play on their own together, with no butting in by an overly-assertively flavored bread like sourdough. (now WHEAT bread, sure…)
I was lucky enough to be gifted a loaf of Susan’s Norwich Sourdough from her oven. I performed a taste test just now; blind-folded to be scientific. Haha. The PB&J was more than good but her bread was simply better by itself.
Oh, the joys of RSS. I didn’t need to do anything to know that you had, like a long dormant starter, sprung back to life.
As for the sandwich — of course!
Unlike some of my relatives, it’s always a joy to hear from you !
I love the taste of sourdough with peanut butter, but I don’t like my PB&J crusty… So I wouldn’t use this particular bread.
Sally johnson says
Anything inside a sandwich is made better with sourdough bread.
It wouldn’t be my first choice (roast beef!) but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it!
Beth Brown says
I can’t imagine any peanutbutter and jelly combination not being made better by good bread.
Sourdough makes everything taste better! Even bacon!
I find PB&J can be problematic on a bread with a very open crumb because it can ooze out the holes. Otherwise, yum.
I like it so much that I actually baked a PB&J inspired sourdough loaf. I love it especially if the bread is toasted and the peanut butter melts through the holes. Messy, but delicious.
So lovely to hear from you, Susan. You’ve been missed!
Sourdough — with its tang and wheat-iness, crackly crust, slightly chewy crumb — in my opinion goes with everything, including PB&J.
To be fair though I’d rather have my sourdough with something else, but as bread for PB&J, yes please.
Lisa Garcia says
definitely yes. I love the tangy flavor along side the peanut butter. A perfect combination.
Barbara Stanbro says
Nice try, but I’m a PB&J purist. It needs a bread softer than sourdough and with no added tang. Sourdough is best served toasted with plenty of buttah and my own homemade carrot cake jam.
Oh my goodness, sourdough is a must! And this is coming from someone who ate so much PB&J as a kid, it’s pretty much all I would eat, so much so that a neighbor still talks about how she made me a PB&J taco as a child, a grown-up PB&J definitely involves sourdough. No more wonder bread for this girl!
Terri Betz says
Sourdough bread and pb&j compliment each other! We eat it a lot!?
I think a well-maintained sourdough is versatile enough to be used for a sweet sandwich, like a pb&j. It shouldn’t be too sour to where it would clash at all.
Yael Levi says
Ever since starting to bake with my sourdough starter I haven’t been able to enjoy any other type of bread. Your Norwich bread is the perfect canvas for anything – including PB&J! Thanks for writing again! I’m looking forward to your future blogs!
My five year old prefers it on a crusty sourdough loaf and I’m sure if a child likes it like that it can’t be wrong.
Sourdough bread belongs anywhere and everywhere. No sandwich is off limits for sourdough!
I’m definitely in the minority here…but where I come from sourdough was used for savory fair like butter & gorgonzola! My Mom bought a loaf just for this purpose along with melted cheese sandwiches etc.
Sourdough is tangy and may not seem to fit certain flavors, but tang can accentuate flavors even for PB&J.
And also, why not? bread is bread. PB&J is a standard American combination and the use of sourdough should not be discouraged.
Absolutely! While PB&J on soft, white bread will always be a well-deserved classic, I think a PB&J on very lightly toasted sourdough adds an almost savory quality that makes it something special. On another note, over the past few years, I only occasionally check in at this site, hoping you’ll be back on. And oddly enough, for some reason I checked today and here you are! Welcome back. We have missed you!
Adriana Caseti says
Well comeback Susan ! I missed your blog a lot .
I’m sourdough addict .
I’m sure that you can use it in a PB&J sandwich .
cindy h says
Soft white bread for my PB&J’s. It can be sourdough based but has to be soft and white. ( and the jelly has to go on the PB….not on the other slice of bread 🙂
Dionysia PALMER says
I wondered where your posts went..
Anyhow..i only buy crunchy peanut paste freshly ground and put sluced cbaby roma tomatoes on top..
Steven W says
It all comes down to personal choice and what flavor/texture you are looking for. Sometimes you want soft and sweet, sometimes crunchy and chewy.
Love sourdough, but prefer it with cheese/cold cuts, etc. or anything else on the savoury side.
Anything you want is okay on homemade sourdough. If you like it go for it!
Gina Bisaillon says
I’m not into sweets, and I’m not American, and I’m not into white bread, that may be why I voted No.
The tang of the sourdough upsets the perfect, delicate, balance of creamy, nutty peanut butter and sweet, grape-y jelly.
Sourdough bread enhances any food with which it is combined. Period.
Katherine Laise says
As long as the bread is sliced thinly. The creaminess of the pb and the sweetness of the jelly filling the holes along with the crispy crust is the perfect combination. Toasted sourdough bread is even better. Welcome back!
Love sourdough, peanut butter and strawberry jam yes.
Turkey salad on your Thanksgiving Cranberry bread, I can’t wait.
Penny Collison says
Sourdough does belong in a pb and j but only if toasted. Yum!
Yes, OH MY MY, OH HECK YES! Sweet, rich, tang, plus crunch, Oh WoW! Now I’m hungry.
Yum. What’s more, I love the different mouth-feelexperiences. The peanut butter spread first, filling the holes; dissolving if hot, or integrating into tiny pockets of lushness. Smooth plum jelly or chewy blackcurrant jam on top giving that intense tang to different tastebuds.
Or spread the other way round, hot or cold, the peanut butter sealing in the flavours and textures into one smooth mouthful. Mmmm.
It doesn’t get much better.
Kimberly A Miles says
Toasted with all natural peanut butter and a home made jelly ( I cut up fresh strawberries and mash them with a bit of honey) I would say, absolutely!
Holly fitzpatrick says
I detest peanut butter so would never put it on any bread but certainly not on a wonderful piece of sourdough!
Bess Simons says
I think sourdough bread is good with everything, although I prefer straight peanut butter sandwiches, no jelly
I just found your blog today, looking (ironically) for a rye bread recipe that would match the good dense hearty crusty breads I miss from Germany without having to grow my own starter. (I’ll be making the Guinness Rye tomorrow to pair with some fresh salmon chowder!) I’m not in a place where I bake enough to keep a starter healthy, but I dearly miss our billion different types of breads and meticulously sorted and labelled flours.
Anyway, I think that any good bread can be used for peanut butter and jelly — the sour-ness of a white sourdough adds a pleasant addition, and good crusty bread definitely helps break up the softer textures on the inside! So I’m a yes for the sourdough + PBJ combo.
So good to see this!!
Starting up a new starter myself!!
Thank you for your encouragement!
Prior to my Masters level college years I would have said no. But my friend and I started going on bike rides on the Erie Canal and she would pack what she called gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We loved them. While there something very delicious in purist white bread peanut butter and jelly, there is something equally delicious about sour dough peanut butter and jelly.
First of all, PB&J is pretty much with almost all breads. And second, the tanginess no doubt complements the sweetness. And the soft, stickiness offsets the crunchy crust. How can you lose? Great to have you back, BTW. I, too, have taken a break from writings, although not from baking. Welcome back.
Your stater info is the one I use and share with everyone who asks. It never fails. Thank you!
Also, I have been making your Norwich Sourdough ever since my starter was ready. I really should venture out, but it is perfect.
I love the heft of sourdough with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. the chewy crust and just right holes to hold it all. Yum! I can’t think of a better carrier for PB&J. Whoever thinks it doesn’t go with Norwich or any other sourdough is just plain silly.
So glad you post again. please continue.
I love to combine flavors – especially salt and chocolate, so why not sourdough and jam?
Nope. A pb&j sandwich should be soft and squidgy. With crusty sourdough it’s no longer an American sandwich – kind of like a Micky Dee’s burger on a hard roll. Lovely to see you back. I still consult your blog for recipes and techniques. Thank you for not deleting it. I hope you are well and happy.
Sarah Breeze says
Sourdough belongs darn near everywhere! 🙂 Very happy to see a new post. I’ve actually returned to your blog after 6 (!) years of very little bread baking other than pizza dough and flatbread. I’m so looking forward to getting my starter going again. Thank you for your wonderful blog!
Every sandwich is improved by being made with sourdough! So I’m a a yes.
of course!!! if the eater likes it, that’s what counts….and using a good quilty peanut butter and a luscious jam or jelly will up the bar on pb and j. Happy eating.
I don’t know about the Norwich, but your sourdough sandwich loaf is our absolute favorite sandwich bread. It doesn’t have all that much sour if the starter is in regular use, but has more of that lovely chew. My kids would eat any kind of filling on that bread. Actually, they love sourdough so much that I’ll bet they would do PBJ on the Norwich too.
Some people get hung up on the “sour” part of sourdough, but it is just a name. Sure there is a little tang but that just adds interest. Sourdough is almost always a better choice.
hey sis. so glad to see you. i’ve been busy, as you have, changing life paths. and you know what? all is good. i still use your site. it is indispensable to us all, and we love you for such a huge undertaking! xoxoxo
(you are the gal who put me out there for the world to see. i owe you a debt of gratitude for that).
The only thing better is Nutella on sourdough.
I’m not a fan of peanut butter anything, so I vote no on Sourdough PBJ for me personally though I’m happy for all the other people to enjoy it.
People can eat whatever bread they prefer in whatever way they prefer! When I make a loaf of sourdough, usually at least some of it gets used for a sweet bread thing like jam or nutella or something (we’ve been out of PB for a while, so that’s the primary reason why not PB). If the primary goal of the bread is sandwiches, I’ll make an enriched sourdough in a loaf pan so that it’s a soft crust. Sometimes my jaw starts to hurt when I’ve made crusty sourdough because I eat so much of it so fast.
John Cornellier says
Only with crunchy PB. Never smoothie.
So happy to see you writing again!
I wanted to click both “yes” and “no”: if I like it, yes. If I don’t care for it , no. Interesting to see the responses you received. All the same, welcome back!
I’m so grateful to see your blog online again. It went away last time I checked. Today is Thanksgiving and I’m dedicating a bountiful gratitude to you. I love your recipes.
just wanted to thank you for the 2007 panettone recipe (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/panettone/). i first used it in 2010 and still continue to use it every year (despite your 2012 update ha). i still come here yearly to re-read the 2007 panettone post.
I’m allergic to peanuts, so putting it on sourdough is just a waste of good bread to me. It’s nice to see this blog active again. Some of my favorite sourdough recipes are from here.
Diane Gorch says
Peanut butter is used in so many ways around the world that it is silly just to restrict it to being used on Wonder Bread with Welch’s Grape Jam! To lovingly spread it atop crusty sourdough is yet another way to savor both flavors. Rock on! PS love your blog.
Diane Gorch says
ANother wonderful thing to do with sourdough is layer it with basil pesto, thick-sliced beefsteak tomato, thick slices of fresh mozzarella, and run it under the broiler till the cheese is all melty.
Just a thought says
What DOESN’T sourdough make better?
Sorry to be a naysayer, however I found that I am sensitive to peanuts. Ever had a canker sore? Well that’s what peanuts do to me. Arrrgh! not pretty! So I’ll take my sourdough with AB&J, thank you Very Much. Any nut butter and sourdough works just fine, but please be sensitive to those with sensitivities!
And in grilled cheese! (I’ll take mine with Swiss Lorraine and strawberry jam, if you please.)
This is good
Gina Giannini says
Of course PB&J “belongs” on crusty sourdough! What objection could anyone possibly have to this?…Let’s look to another continent with lovely countries like Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland…They have long been slathering their decadent butter, nut-spreads and jams on their crusty breads for ages. Peanut butter, Mascarpone, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, all pair beautifully with a bright and fruity anything, so why not do these goodies justice by serving them up on the best bread you have?
Definitely, I’m pro-PB&J on crusty sourdough!
Nancy Kever says
Hi. I have had this lovely sourdough starter from King Authur for several years With it cdme copies of your recipe for Norwich Sourdough bread. I am finally getting around to trying it! But it is difficult because all thmeasurements are in grams11 Please can’t I have cups? I lived in PragueCZ. for eight years and the weights always gave me grief, but this is America and we still use cups, yes?! Please can i have the amounts in cups instead of grams? Nancy
A sandwich can be made on ANY type of bread and PB&J does not bread-shame by virtue of its name, which doesn’t even mention the bread. Whether it is ourdough, a hot dog bun or a bagel, a PB&J is a PB&J. Nuff said.