It’s summer and we’re full of beans! (BBB July 2017)

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Bread Baking Babes July 2017 summary: recipe for Velvety Bean Bread; reducing the yeast; summer and over-rising; hazards of scoring overproofed bread; a Bread Baking Babes project;

BBB Velvety Bean Bread Bread Baking Babes (BBB) July 2017: Velvety Bean Bread

I’ve heard of beans on toast before, but beans IN toast??

Cooked pureed white beans are the basis for this nifty bread. Unless you tell people, no one will guess, though they will puzzle over the velvety even texture and the depth of flavor
– Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford, HomeBaking, p160

Pureed Beans? In bread??

Here’s how this month’s BBB bread making went:

BBB Bean Bread diary:

4 June 2017, 20:05 I’ve had bean brownies but never seen (or even heard of) bean bread. The brownies I made used black beans. This bread calls for navy beans.

Here’s what the Sally and Martin Stone say about navy beans:

“HARICOT BEANS (Phaseolus vulgaris) a.k.a. Great Northern Beans, Small Whites, Navy Beans, Soissons, Cannellini, White kidney Beans Haricot beans come in many varieties and colors, but the most common are ivory-white small (3/8 inch) ovals, slightly kidney-shaped and with a tough skin. They are the mature, dried white seeds of the green bean (string bean, known as haricot vert in France). They are probably the most widely used of all the common beans. […] Navy beans are called that because in the mid-nineteenth century the Navy used a lot of them.
– Sally and Martin Stone, The Brilliant Bean, p13, 247

11 June 2017, 12:32 In a general discussion, Tanna began by saying, “Always bake the original recipe before changing any thing … right? So, I want to create an over nite soaker, etc. etc.” To the first part about “always bake the original recipe”, I say, that maxim doesn’t apply to us though, does it?! After all we’re experts. We don’ need to follow no stinkin’ recipe to the letter!!

I must say that I really like Tanna’s idea of turning this into a two-day bread and to use the drained water from cooking the beans.

17 June 2017, 14:08 How handy that Lien has a copy of HomeBaking (entitled “De kunst van het bakken”) with the recipe in weights rather than volume. It’s very nice to know the weight for the cooked beans – especially because I’m not planning to use canned beans. I wonder what weight of dried beans is needed to make 200gm of drained cooked beans.

7 g dry yeast
250 g water
200 g drained cooked beans
130 g whole wheat flour
1 TBsp olive oil
1 TBsp salt
2 TBsp chives
320 g AP flour
-ingredients list from Lien’s copy of HomeBaking

I’m really surprised that the metric book doesn’t give salt weights though!

Just to review: 1 Tbsp table salt = 18gm

12 July 2017, 23:58 After all that talk about weights, I’ve decided to use volume measures. :lalala: And because we have very little room in the freezer, I’m going to make just half the recipe.

We had quite a discussion, earlier today, about what volume of dried navy beans I should soak to make 1 cup of cooked beans. With a little singing and dancing and dodging around, it turned out that we pretty much agreed that I should soak about half a cup. So that’s what I did a few moments ago. They’re soaking now. If there are any left over, we’ll add them to tomorrow night’s stew.

13 July 2017, 08:23 Ha. Did I say I was going to make just half the recipe? Well, I changed what’s left of my mind.

Here’s why: we easily have 2 cups of beans (give or take a tablespoon or so) AND both of us were quite hungry when we were talking. We were thinking about just how big an 8×4 bread tin isn’t.

Makes 2 small pan loaves […] Butter two 8×4″ pans.
BBB July 2017 recipe

And because I completely forgot to weigh the dried beans and completely forgot to volume measure the un-pureed beans, I j plopped the mashed beans (I used the hand blender) and eyeballed that it seemed like about 2 cups.

09:48 After breakfast, I mixed the dough, assessing that the whopping 2 teaspoons of yeast was way too much and immediately reducing it to three quarters of one teaspoon, carelessly scooping whole wheat flour into the half cup measuring cup, suddenly deciding to add a tablespoon (or so) of wheat germ, racing out to the garden to cut a bunch of chives and then seeing that I had an extra half tablespoon so threw it in because it’s optional anyway, mildly freaking out about measuring salt by volume (please see Salt is salt, right?), wondering if a tablespoon of salt wouldn’t be way way way too much salt, going ahead with 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt with the knowledge that this is indeed far less salt, continuing with careless half-cup scoops of all-purpose flour, stirring madly with the wooden spoon in one direction as per Naomi Duguid’s instruction even though I’m pretty sure now that it really doesn’t matter, and finally dumping the last half cup of flour into the bowl to hand-knead in the bowl noting that the dough was a bit on the stiff side but lovely.

Haha! I keep hearing my grade 8 English teacher cautioning us about run-on sentences and my sister’s home-ec teacher declaring that “there will be no guesswork in our kitchen”. Wouldn’t they be in apoplexies now?

13:17 We don’t have small bread tins. I’m waffling about whether to use our usual bread tin or to make the loaf free-form. Then it occurred to us that our neighbour who has a state of the art kitchen with EVERYTHING that goes with it would have 8×4″ tins.

But no. Our neighbour is also a neat freak and has EVERYTHING that she needs and nothing that she doesn’t want cluttering up her lovely kitchen. So. I guess I’ll go with free-form.

17:04 BBB velvety bean bread The dough rose beautifully. Instead of following the instructions (when di I ever?) I shaped it into two rounds, covered them with a tea towel and into the oven, with only the light on, they went.

18:26 They’re beautiful!! Time to turn on the oven!

18:40 Oh oh. I slashed the first loaf and it deflated. Big Time. :lalala:

Silly me. Kelly did warn us that this might happen!

So for the second loaf, I tried using the scissor method to make little tufts (I hope) on top. Wish me luck! The bread is in the oven now.

19:27 Well. It took a little longer than I expected to bake – more like 40 minutes than 30. And I wouldn’t exactly call the crust “rich brown”. But the bread sounds nice and hollow and doesn’t feel like doorstop, so maybe it will be fine.

But {gleeps!} we’re going to have to majorly break all my rules and cut into it before it cools completely! It’s our starch for tonight’s dinner….

(Talk about bad planning! Irritatingly, as of tomorrow, I’m on a temporary diet that disallows me from eating just about everything that is in this bread. So I won’t be able to taste it after it has cooled completely. :stomp:

Velvety Bean Bread (BBB) The bread was very good with dinner. We couldn’t really taste the chives (or really see them either) even though I added more than were called for. Still, I wonder if they weren’t there, if we wouldn’t think there was something missing.

I have to confess though, that to me, it was very much like our standard bread. It would be perfect for sandwiches.

T had some toasted the next morning and said the toast was brilliant.

Why didn’t I try it toasted? Because, irritatingly, for a brief time starting that morning, I’m not allowed to eat whole grains, seeds or legumes! :stomp: I had to eat soda crackers for breakfast. (Who me? Cranky?)

Here is the BBB July 2017 Velvety Bean Bread recipe we were given. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Velvety Bean Bread
based on a recipe in “HomeBaking” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford

makes two small loaves


  • 0.5 c (~100gm) dried navy beans
  • cold water


  • 1 c (250gm) body temperature water (I completely forgot to use the cooked bean water!)
  • 0.75 tsp (2.5gm) active dry yeast ²
  • 1 Tbsp (14gm) olive oil
  • all of the beans from above, drained and mashed (The BBB recipe calls for “2 c drained cooked navy beans, room temp”)
  • flour
       »1 c (113gm) 100% whole wheat flour
       »2 c (240gm) unbleached all-purpose flour
       »1 Tbsp wheat germ ³
  • 1 Tbsp (8gm??) Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (Uncharacteristically for me, I didn’t weigh the salt. The gram measurement is from Gourmet Sleuth Calculator….)
  • 2.5 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (The BBB recipe calls for “2 Tbsp (~6gm) chopped fresh chives (optional)”)
  1. beans: On the evening before you will be baking the bread: Sort through the beans to check for stones. Wash them well and put them into a large pyrex bowl. Pour plenty of cold water overtop, making sure there is at least a finger length of water above the beans. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave the beans to soak overnight.
  2. Early in the morning of the day you will be baking the bread: Remove any floating beans, then drain and rinse. Put the beans into a smallish pot with a lid. Pour clean cold water overtop to completely cover the beans. Bring them to a boil and immediately turn the heat down to very low to allow the beans to simmer for about an hour until tender. When the beans are soft, drain them (forgetting to save the bean water) and purée. Set aside to cool.
  3. dough: Pour body-temperature water (Let’s pretend that you remember what I’ve gone on and on about heating the water in a kettle because you should NEVER use water from the hot water tap…) into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and whisk until it has dissolved.
  4. Add olive oil. Check that the beans have cooled to around body temperature (put a small spoonful against the inside of your wrist) and dump them in. Add flours, salt and chives overtop. Stir as best you can with a wooden spoon until all the flour is absorbed. Completely the instruction in HomeBaking to “add the whole wheat flour and stir for 1 minute, always in the same direction, to develop the dough”. (I had forgotten about Duguid’s and Alford’s instructions to always stir bread dough in one direction! I’m sure it doesn’t hurt, but by the same token, it probably doesn’t matter.)
  5. kneading: Using one hand to turn the bowl and the other to dig down to the bottom to lift the dough up to the top, turn, fold, turn, fold, etc. the dough until it is smoothish and no longer looking like porridge. As you knead, resist all temptation to add more flour.
  6. Once the dough is kneaded, cover the bowl with a plate and allow the dough to rise until almost completely doubled. If your kitchen is normal, put it on the counter in a non-drafty area. If it’s cold, put the dough into the oven with only the light turned on. If it’s really cold, put a bowl filled with hot water into the oven to cosy up to the rising (you hope) dough. Feel free to do a few folds and turns as the dough is rising.
  7. shaping: About two hours before dinner (oops!!! it would probably be better to do this three hours before), when the dough has definitely risen and been folded down at least a couple of times, turn the beautifully light and almost foamy dough out onto a very lightly floured board (just the smallest dusting will be enough). Divide the dough evenly into 2 pieces and form into rounds. Cover with a tea towel, followed by a large plastic grocery bag and leave to rise to almost double in a draft free area (the oven with only the light turned on).
  8. baking: With the bread stone on the middle rack, preheat the oven to 400F. Just before baking the bread, score the top of each loaf. When the first loaf collapses because it has slightly overrisen, use the tip of kitchen scissors to make little cuts in the top of the second loaf. Spray the loaves liberally with water and transfer them onto the hot stone. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F and bake for about 30 minutes, turning the pans once to allow for uneven oven heat. After 30 minutes, the bread probably won’t be quite done. Put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. If it seems like the bread is getting too dark (it didn’t for us) reduce the temperature to 325F.
  9. When the bread is done, allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still baking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

This makes great sandwich bread. It is also delicious toasted.


1.) beans The BBB recipe calls for “2 cups drained cooked or canned navy beans, room temp”. According to Sally and Martin Stone in “The Brilliant Bean”, most dried beans double in volume and weight after being soaked and cooked. Soybeans and chickpeas can triple. As a general rule, 1 cup (8oz) of dried beans increases to 2 to 2½ c (1 to 1¼ lb) of cooked beans. One cup of dried beans is usually enough to serve four as a side dish. [1 lb = 453.6 gm]
-Sally and Martin Stone, The Brilliant Bean

2.) yeast The BBB recipe calls for “2 teaspoons (7 g) active dry yeast”. That seemed excessive to me, so being the expert I am, I reduced it to less than half that amount. The bread still rose beautifully.

3.) Wheat germ After reading “Cooked” by Michael Pollan, and noting that our flour never seems to go bad, I have decided to always add at least a little bit of wheat germ that we now always have on hand in the freezer.

When millers mill wheat, they scrupulously sheer off the most nutritious parts of the seed—the coat of bran and the embryo, or germ, that it protects—and sell that off, retaining the least nourishing part to feed us. […]
[M]ills have been expressly designed to produce the whitest possible flour, splitting off the germ and embryo […] To leave the germ in the flour would literally gum up the works, I was told by an experienced miller by the name of Joe Vanderliet. This is why it is always removed at the beginning of the milling process, even when making “whole” wheat flour. […] Vanderliet claims that many large mills, including ones he used to work for, simply leave the germ out of their “whole-grain” flour “because it’s just too much trouble”—a serious charge, but a difficult one to prove.
– Michael Pollan, Thinking like a Seed, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
In our search for ways to make the home baker’s job easier, we looked for natural equivalents for the dozens of chemicals bakers use, […] In our researching attempts, some of the most interesting information we came across was in old books written for bakers — books published around 1920 […] [O]ne book suggested that adding a tiny amount of wheat germ to your white flour had an improving effect on the dough. The amount suggested was not too different from the amount that occurs naturally in whole wheat flour.
– Laurel Robertson, Some Natural Dough Conditioners, The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book


BBB Velvety Bean Bread

Thank you, Kelly! That was fun!

Bread Baking Babes BBB July 2017

Kelly, is our host for July 2017’s Bread Baking Babes‘ project. She wrote:

I was intrigued by the description of this bread. Nice brown crust, velvet smooth, fine moist crumb. […] It over proves easily and took much less time to prove than the recipe stated. My first batch rose up to an inch over the edge of the pan and I could tell it was over risen. Totally deflated when I slashed it. Still tasted great, but had a close crumb at the bottom as a result. Still velvety and soft. […] You can’t really see the chives after baking, but you can taste them.
– Kelly

Ha. Too bad I completely forgot about Kelly’s caution that the bread proofs quickly and will deflate when slashed…. And I used less than half the amount of yeast too! Even so, the resulting bread slightly flat bread is delicious.

We know you’ll want to make Velvety Bean Bread too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 July 2017. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ July 2017 bread.


Confession: I couldn’t bear to be late so I fooled around with the date stamp. I was ALMOST finished at midnight…. I really was.


BBB Velvety Bean Bread
Velvety Bean Bread
Velvety Bean Bread Recipe
based on a recipe in HomeBaking by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford


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14 responses to “It’s summer and we’re full of beans! (BBB July 2017)

  1. Kelly

    Haha, total apoplexies. Totally stinks that you only got to taste it once, but at least you know it toasts well too. It freezes well! I totally forgot that beans on toast is part of a full English breakfast…

  2. Lien

    Give me beans in toast in stead of on toast anyday! Glad you were able to at least taste it before your diet. I like the loaf with those little scissor-cuts.

    1. Elizabeth

      Thank you, Lien. I admit that I was quite pleased with the scissor cuts. (You should have seen the disapproving look on T’s face though, considering what had happened to the first loaf when I went at it with the serrated knife and it collapsed.)

  3. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    Standard loaf … perhaps that’s part of this loaf’s glory: all that healthy bean protein lower gluten and still looks and tastes like the real deal.
    I think your loaf looks picture perfect.

    1. Elizabeth

      Ha. Pictures can fool you, Tanna; they were ALMOST perfect loaves but would have been so much better if we hadn’t let them over-rise. (Hmmm, maybe it was because of the lower gluten that they turned out so flat. I hadn’t thought of that!)

        1. Elizabeth


          (Duh) As soon as I saw what you had written, I understood. And. I realized what my problem probably was and why the bread was so flat! I also realized that I probably didn’t develop the gluten enough in the latest experiment with wild bread. It really collapsed after shaping.

          1. MyKitchenInHalfCups

            This bean bread has got to be very different from the wild bread. There would seem to be very little gluten in the bean bread: flour is AP (as opposed to bread flour with higher gluten), bean replaces flour (no gluten in bean), whole grains cause gluten to tear. That’s why I’ll allow more yeast as an effort to get extra rise possibility. But with any dough over rise may be the most common reason for flat. But hey Elizabeth, I’m not really super expert. You’ve got me wanting to do sour dough again and there’s no chance to keep a pet at this travel point. I expect “All you Knead is Bread” to arrive on door step tomorrow.

  4. Karen

    Oh your neighbor sounds like a total freak. I have so much stuff I don’t need “just in case” ha ha. Your bread slices look great! I’m pretty sure my bread was free form even though I baked it in a pan because it never touched the sides!

    1. Elizabeth

      Our neighbour is brilliant – except that she gets rid of whatever she never uses. And face it. Who uses those little tiny pans? When we make bread, we want bread. Not just a little sample. {snort}

      How amazing that your bread didn’t touch the sides of the pan. Ours went nuts with the rise. I think it might have taken over the kitchen if we’d left it any longer before baking it.

  5. katiezel

    Navy beans are the most common? Never see them here lol. I really like the sound of the bread – one could put beans on top of it too… (I think not… toast with goat cheese)

    1. Elizabeth

      I can’t see any reason not to put beans on top of this if someone particularly likes beans on toast, or fuhl…. – the bean flavour really doesn’t come through in the bread.

      If you’re thinking about making this, I’d use whatever beans are used to make cassoulet. (Lingots or coco blancs???)

  6. Everopensauce Ever

    Thanks to you, now I make the connection between haricot vert and Great Northern beans. Your free form bread came out very nice, especially the crust. ~ Shirley


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