Sunday, July 16, 2017

Velvety Bean Bread For The Babes

Somehow it's the middle of July. Time sure whips on by. Last month at this time it was really the 100s hot, and this month it's the same...should be 100 today. Any reader who reads this blog regularly knows that about the middle of the month I post along with the other Bread Baking Babes, having baked the challenge bread for the month. Last month I didn't post because the heat caught me by surprise and I left the baking to the last minute. This month I baked a week early, before it got hot. Glad I did.

I do enjoy the process of bread baking with yeast. There is something so magical about taking fairly basic ingredients and creating something that smells so good, tastes so delicious, and is such a building block for good eating. When kneading the dough this unpromising mass moves under your hands and suddenly it becomes silky and smooth and somehow more alive. Leave a yeasted dough at room temperature and it rises and fills the container it's in. Put the risen dough in a hot oven and it often rises some more. Pure magic!

This month Kelly of A Messy Kitchen blog gathered us around the kitchen table to bake Velvety Bean Bread. I've never made a bread with beans before, so wasn't sure what to expect, but this lovely bread doesn't really taste of bean. It has a close crumb, but is still fluffy in texture, which is a nice trick. Sweetie really liked this bread, especially the texture. I included spelt flour which gave it a subtle nutty flavor. Unlike many times when I make lots of changes, this time I pretty much stuck to the recipe ingredients. I used canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, for my bean paste. No sourdough this time, just a packet of dry yeast.

One thing I did differently was to make a poolish (yeast, flour, water) the night before which sat in the fridge overnight. I'm sure the bread would be fine without doing that, but it usually adds a bit of additional flavor. I left out the chives because I wanted to see what it tasted like without. I even ate the first piece without any embellishments, even butter.

Be aware that the water amounts in the recipe might need modifications. I needed to add water and I should have added even more since the volume of dough was 1/2 pound less than the recipe said it would be. Because of that, I used smaller bread pans. Probably should have just used it all in a large bread pan, but it was kind of fun to have a mini loaf. One thing I really should not have done was score the top. Not needed and it is too fragile to the top crust.

Do make this bread if for no other reason than seeing how you like bread with beans. It's a fairly easy to work with bread and delicious! Makes good toast, too. If you bake the bread, let Kelly know via email so that she can include you in the Buddy round up. Include a photo and a short description of your bread/baking experience.

Be sure to check out the efforts of the other Bread Baking Babes!

The recipe is from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World

Velvety Bean Bread
Makes 2 small pan loaves

2 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
1 cup (236.5 g) lukewarm water (I used 1 1/4 cups, but think 1 1/2 would be better)
2 cups drained cooked or canned navy beans, room temp (I used canned, rinsed and drained cannellini beans)
1 cup (113 g) whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour)
1 tbsp (13.7 g) olive oil
1 tbsp (17 g) salt
2 tbsp (~6 g) chopped chives (optional)
~ 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in water.  Process beans until smooth, transfer to a large bowl or stand mixer.  Stir yeast mixture into beans.  Add the whole wheat flour and stir for one minute, in one direction, to develop the dough.  Add the oil, salt, and chives, if using and stir them in.  Add 1 cup of the AP flour and stir in.  Add the remaining AP flour and knead in with a dough hook, or work in and knead by hand for about 5 minutes, until smooth.

Place dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise for 3 hours, until almost doubled in volume.  (There should be about 2.5 pounds of dough, but there may be less depending on how much water you used.)

Turn out dough and divide in half.  Butter two 8x4" pans.  Form each portion of dough into a loaf and place seam side down in the pans.  The directions say to let rise for 2½ hours.  That was WAY too long for my kitchen.  You'll have to watch the dough for proper rise.  Check at 1 hour and continue to proof if needed.

Preheat oven to 400ºF, have a spray bottle or small cup of water ready for steam.  Slash each loaf lengthwise (or skip this step, which I recommend), place in oven and bake for 5 minutes, adding steam every couple minutes with the sprayer or cup.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF and bake for 25 minutes until rich brown with a matte finish.  Turn the loaves out and check for doneness. Finish cooling on a wire rack before slicing.


  1. Yep I forgot to slash mine ...
    Yes it is worth baking just to try beans in bread.
    But we really loved the rye and spelt flavor combo.

  2. Super impressed with your lovely crumb! It seems much more open to me than my batches turned out.

  3. Yay you beat the heat and made these fantastic loaves! They are well worth it, what beautiful crumb!

  4. Love that you used spelt instead of whole wheat and I like the idea of using a poolish. I made mine with yeast but gave it an overnight ferment in the fridge.

  5. Great idea using the poolish, and I'm so happy you baked along after all! Glad you got a reprieve from the heat.

  6. Wow. You are having the kind of summer I dread! I feel for you. But how wonderful to have this bread for comfort. And yours looks beautiful - both crust and crumb. Nicely done!

  7. We are also hot - but have the odd day of very cool to tease us. I like your many loaves.