Despite my love of cooking, baking bread from scratch has always seemed like a daunting task to me.
There are usually a lot of steps involved and the words "yeast starter kit" (plus my busy schedule) make for an iffy combination. But when this five-ingredient Keto Peanut Butter Bread recipe from a food blog called Headbanger's Kitchen began to take the internet by storm, I felt compelled to try it.
I mean who can resist homemade bread that takes only 10 minutes to prep, has no flour and tastes like peanut butter?!
I'm not following the ketogenic diet but I'm always open to trying new things.
In a (pea)nut shell, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) involves eating foods that are high in fat while staying away from nearly all carbohydrates to achieve a 4:1 ratio of fat to carbs; which is why the Headbanger's bread is basically just peanut butter. The idea is that the diet helps promote weight loss by burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Despite some criticism from nutritionists and even trainers like Jillian Michaels, keto has gained popularity among adherents for garnering fast results. After losing about 40 pounds in under six months, TODAY's Al Roker became a big fan and still follows the keto regimen.
Get ready for your new favorite keto bread, Al.
Is this bread really easy to make?
Kudos to the Headbanger's Kitchen because this recipe was incredibly easy — so easy that my 4-year-old helped make it (and probably could have done the whole thing by herself if mom wasn't so picky about how neat the loaf looked on top).
Unlike a lot of other keto breads that use almond flour and pricier, harder-to-find ingredients like psyllium husk, I loved how I could make this loaf with pantry staples like peanut butter and vinegar. It was straightforward, inexpensive, only required one mixing bowl and took less than 10 minutes to mix up.
When I first added the peanut butter to the rest of the ingredients, I was nervous that the consistency would be off because of the amount of liquid that remained.
But after about 20 to 30 seconds of light whisking, everything blended to a cake batter-like consistency, dissimilar to dough.
After 25 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, the flat, shiny batter rose up and looked like proper bread.
Between the natural oils in the peanut butter and the lightly buttered pan, I was able to remove the loaf effortlessly and quickly place it on a plate to slice while still warm.
How does keto peanut butter bread taste?
If you like peanut butter — or any kind of nut-butter confection — this bread is a keeper. It's reminiscent of a peanut butter cookie and way more moist than a lot of loaves out there.
When asked whether the consistency might vary depending on the brand of peanut butter used (as some are more oily, creamy or dryer than others), the blogger behind the Headbanger's Kitchen told TODAY Food he's had steady results across the board. He has used Teddie (which is made with only two ingredients: peanuts and salt), as well as a freshly ground peanut butter made in a grocery store, and both worked well.
Headbanger's recipe also calls for Stevia, only to taste. For my first go, I decided not to add any type of sweetener and felt the bread hit just the right sweet and salty notes.
Is the bread actually healthy?
According to Keri Glassman, licensed nutritionist and founder of Nutritious Life, the basic requirements for a typical keto diet are that it must be high in fats, low in carbs, with a moderate amount of protein. To achieve a true state of ketosis, most people need to eat less than 40 grams of carbs per day, but it could be as low as 20 grams. The Headbanger's Kitchen cook created this bread to fit his own daily limit of 30 grams of carbs.
If the peanut-butter loaf is cut into 20 slices, each one has 86 calories and 2 grams of carbs. If it's sliced into 10 pieces (which equates to 4 grams of carbs a pop), the bread will still work well for anyone on the keto diet, as long as they don't overdo it with other carbs later in the day, according to Glassman.
"The recipe ingredients aren’t necessarily unhealthy," Glassman told TODAY. "I love peanut butter!"
For those not adhering to the keto diet, however, Glassman thinks "a normal, sprouted whole grain slice of bread" should be something to consider, at least some of the time, as it likely has less calories and will have less fat.
Overall, this keto-friendly recipe is great for a breakfast bread or an easy snack for those looking to keep the carbs down ... or for those who just love peanut butter. I found the bread to be delicious eaten on its own, especially when warm. And for all of the non-keto followers out there out there, such as myself, try it with a thin coating of chocolate-hazelnut spread, some sliced bananas and chia seeds. It was truly delicious and very filling!