Whenever I make bread for friends and family, I typically go for safe recipes like Rosemary Bread or Cinnamon Raisin. I usually bring my “experimental” bread into work. I decided to try kidney bean this time.
Cook at 475 for 10 total minutes(5 minutes in, brush oil)
Cook at 425 for 20 more minutes
The kidney bean helps keep the bread moist, but you have to balance the amount of non-flour in the bread, or it will have problem rising. In the case of this recipe, I adjusted all the numbers around the single can of kidney beans, which is about 2 cups. The 2(beans):9(flour) ratio is one that I have just played around with. It allows me to keep enough gluten in the mixture so the bread isn’t too dense.
Tuesday 7 PM - After dinner, before bed I melted the butter. Then added the warm water, sugar, and kidney beans. Then I "lightly" mashed the beans. I just wanted to make sure they were crushed but not pureed. If they were whole, I was worried that the beans might take on a texture that was very different than the rest of the bread. If they were too mashed, I would just make pink colored bread.
I took the mixture of beans, butter, sugar, and mixed it with 4 cups of the flour. This cooled the mixture down enough to add the 1/2 cup of starter. After I mixed it thoroughly, I kept adding the flour 1 cup at a time and mixed it. I added the salt mixed with the last 2 cups of flour.
I have a silicone pastry mat(used to roll out pie crusts) that I use instead of my counter for kneading. I just add a few drops of water UNDER the mat, so it is tacky with the counter and doesn’t move around too much.
I dumped the mixture out onto the mat and kneaded it for 2 minutes just to ensure that it got mixed a bit. Its at this stage that I added the nutmeg. I typically add my spices at this stage, and kneed them in. I have had past bad experiences with spices messing up by rise by mixing them in too early. So I add them early on in the kneading step, so they still get mixed, but not too well.
I kept kneading it until smooth(about 10 minutes), and using only enough flour to prevent sticking. I don’t own a mixer, so I am talking about hand kneading. Even if you have a mixer, I would still hand knead this recipe, since I would worry about the dough hooks abusing the beans too much. I was going for a pretty speckled red look, it looks like I achieved that.
I put the dough aside in a lightly greased bowl overnight.
Wednesday 6AM - The morning
I punched it down and folded the dough a few times just to make sure everything for mixed. It didn’t rise too much, which is normal for the first stage of a “room temperature” raising. Put it back in the bowl and cover.
The dough had risen plenty by this time. I cut the dough into 2 equal pieces, and gently formed them into balls. I didn’t want to deflate the dough too much at this stage, so there was no punching involved. I just bunched the cut ends up, and rolled the ends around to seal it. Then I put the dough in the floured brotform baskets. I like to use the scrunchy elastic plastic covers to keep them from drying out. Leave them on the counter overnight.
Thursday 6AM Preheat the oven to 475. I use a baking stone, so it takes the oven a while to heat. I dumped the dough onto a cornmeal covered pizza peel. I scored the dough, then brushed it with canola oil. I used canola instead of olive oil or butter because both of them impart a distinctive flavor to the bread. I didn’t want it to interfere with the flavor of the beans. Put some kosher salt on the top. It looks pretty, and we didn’t really use too much salt in the bread, so it will help the flavor.
I put the loaves in the oven, and dumped a cup of water into a pan on the bottom rack for making steam. After 5 minutes of cooking, I brushed more oil on the top, and cook for another 5 minutes. After the total of 10 minutes at 475, turn the oven to 425 and cook for another 20 minutes. (30 minutes total).
Served it to co-workers. By all accounts, it was one of the best tasting breads I have ever made. (I have been making bread every thursday for them for 1 1/2 years) It came out mildly sour and slightly sweet, and had a unique aroma that smelled good, but didn’t have the yeasty smell of bread. The tiny amount of nutmeg really went well with the beans.