White Bean White Bread

white bean white bread text

Two years ago I baked a couple loves of white bread using Julia Child’s recipe. They were nothing particularly special as far as breads go – the kind with the not-too-crusty crust that’s shaped like a caricature of toast when sliced. Soon after I made a peanut butter and jam sandwich on the aforementioned bread to pack in a school lunch (no allergies!), and it has since become referred to by W as My Favourite Bread. He asks for it by name, with butter or peanut butter or poached eggs or as a sandwich, and always quietly smiles when I have a loaf of it, or he sees me making a batch. But at one point I started to feel guilty for doling out so many thick slices of white bread, and figured I’d best inject some nutrition into it. In the form of pureed white beans, of course. They’re starchy, thick and have very little flavour on their own – they literally blend right in.

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I’m a fan of grainy breads – as a kid, it was whole wheat or nothing, preferably thin, square slices of dark bio bread that were so loaded with whole grains and seeds they practically crumbled when you took one out of the bag. (I asked for Wonder Bread for my birthday one year, and actually got it.)

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I get the appeal of white bread, unfettered by tweedy grains, and I can empathize with W’s love for white bread sandwiches. And yet – there’s no reason white bread should consist of little more than white flour and yeast. I’ve done plenty of baking with pureed white beans in the past – they boost fibre as well as protein – and so I whizzed up a can to add to the dough, and hey! They blend right in – a sleuthy nutritional boost to his PB & J and morning toast. I am the bean ninja.

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White Bean White Bread

2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 19 oz (540 mL) can white kidney or navy beans, drained
6-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and sprinkle over the sugar and yeast; let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. (If the yeast doesn’t do anything, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.)

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the beans with the remaining 1 1/2 cups water until as smooth as you can get it. Add to the yeast mixture along with about half of the flour. Stir until well blended. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and butter and stir with the dough hook (or by hand) until well combined and shaggy. Continue to knead (I let the dough hook go for about 8 minutes, poking it down once in awhile) until it’s smooth and elastic. You could do this by hand, too. If you used the dough hook, turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead a few times to make sure it’s evenly smooth. Doesn’t it feel great?

Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

Butter two loaf pans. Punch the dough down and pat each piece into a rectangle that’s about – or a bit bigger than a standard piece of paper.

Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are honey brown. Immediately turn the loaves out of their pans and onto a rack to cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

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March 19 2014 02:14 pm | beans and bread

13 Responses to “White Bean White Bread”

  1. Colleen on 19 Mar 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Umm, when do you put in the beans? along with the rest of the water etc.?

  2. Julie on 19 Mar 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    But….what about the beans?

  3. Anonymous on 19 Mar 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Sorry Julie, I must be slow, but I too need to know how you incorporated the beans and when.

  4. Jean on 19 Mar 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    I don’t see where you added the beans. Am I overlooking it somehow?

  5. A non a mouse on 19 Mar 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Up the fiber sneaky….

  6. Julie on 19 Mar 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Sorry guys! I was working on this post on two computers and one version got deleted.. along with the instructions! Just fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Carmen on 20 Mar 2014 at 7:04 am #

    Julie, with the addition of the beans, how will the dough freeze? I like to bake a loaf and freeze half the dough to bake a week or two later.

  8. julia on 20 Mar 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi, I’m a student at Boston University and we are developing a new cookware and would like to listen to some opinions from our potential consumers. I would be greatly grateful if you could take a few minutes to help our team fill out this survey! Thank you!

  9. Julie on 20 Mar 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Carmen – I haven’t tried freezing the unbaked dough, but I imagine it would be no different from regular bread dough!

  10. Friday Five | Bubbly Meadow on 21 Mar 2014 at 11:39 am #

    […] White bean bread: another food blog I saver. She’s also the author of one of my favourite cookbooks: Spilling […]

  11. Jo on 27 Mar 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Brilliant. Made it. The picky eater ate it! Brilliant.

  12. Lisa on 25 May 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    The bread is fabulous! Soft, fluffy, delicious!

    Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I also made burger buns with the dough. I shaped the dough into 12 flatt-ish buns, brushed them with egg yolk glaze, and sprinkled them with sesame seeds. Baked at 375 for about 25 minutes, rotating pans partway through. Yummy!

  13. Jean on 24 Apr 2015 at 11:41 am #

    I’ve got this bread rising in the pans. I’m not going to tell my family it has beans in it, but just see how they enjoy it.
    I hope it tastes as good as it looks ( and feels).

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