Baking History

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Archive for the ‘Beans’ Category

Bean Bread

Posted by bakinghistory on August 23, 2008

A pleasant bread with a thin, crispy crust and a tender, moist crumb

This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair-Second Helping hosted  by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook


and for

Yeast Spotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.

In the vintage cookbooks that I have read I have found that beans are used in bread in two forms: cooked and mashed or as flour. The addition of either was done at times for health reasons (improving the bread nutritional value) and at times for economy.

I recreated the recipe for this bread from one suggested by Eliza Acton in her influential “The English Bread-book: for domestic use”.  Miss Acton’s instructions were brief and I added a few details myself.  The recipe required “French-beans” which here are usually called navy beans.

I included a little butter and used 50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat flour, to approximate wheatmeal, which was originally called for in the recipe. I did not add any sweetener, but a little brown sugar or honey might be added to taste. I baked the bread in a covered cast iron Dutch oven.

The bread develops a thin, very crispy crust and a fine, moist crumb. The beans do not add much in terms of flavor but provide the moisture for the velvety crumb.

From the original recipe by Eliza Acton

In: “The English Bread-book: For domestic use”, 1857—UK


For the overnight sponge:

1/8 tsp active dry yeast

250 g (2 cups) white whole wheat flour

150 g warm water

For the dough

1/2 lb cooked navy beans, pureed

250 g (1-3/4 cups) bread flour

2 tbsp brown sugar or honey (optional)

2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and thinly sliced

9 g fine sea salt

1 tsp active dry yeast

130 g warm water—or as needed

Make the sponge: stir the yeast in the warm water then add the flour and knead briefly until smooth. Shape into a ball place it in a covered glass container and let the sponge ferment overnight in a cool place (12-14 hours).

Make the dough: stir the yeast in half the amount of water, (the sugar or honey if you want) then mix in the pureed beans and finally the sponge cut into small pieces. Mix at low speed for a minute or two, then add the flour and salt and enough of the remaining water to have a dough that is soft and supple. More water or flour might be necessary. Knead at low speed until the gluten is well developed (about 10-15 minutes), and towards the end add the butter, kneading until well incorporated.

Let the dough ferment until doubled in bulk, in a covered bowl. Briefly knead again and let the dough ferment once more until doubled.

Shape the bread and place it in a large cast iron Dutch oven (or clay pot) that you have previously lightly greased and sprinkled with semolina). Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and once the bread is light score it, sprinkle with water and place the pot (covered) in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then uncover the pot (carefully!) and let the bread finish baking until golden brown.

Carefully take the pot out of the oven and lift the loaf out —it should be easy, especially if you used a cast iron pot, the bread won’t stick.

Let the bread cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Posted in Beans, Blog Events, Cast-iron cooking, whole grains, Yeasted Breads | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Bean Taffy

Posted by bakinghistory on February 9, 2008

Bean taffy, a candy as tasty as it is unusual, is made with pureed beans, sugar, milk and butter
This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook .
Pureed beans are used to make this unusual candy, with an excellent taste (it reminds me a lot of Marrons glacés ) and a not-too-chewy texture.
It is not particularly difficult to make, but you need a candy thermometer and some time and patience.
The mixture must be stirred as it cooks, but ever so gently or the candy will be grainy instead of smooth.
It is also important not to cook it too long, or it will harden. If that happens, it can be cooked again with some more milk until it reaches the right consistency.
The book recommended dried Lima beans, but also said that any variety will do—I tried also with Great Northern beans and Navy beans. The dried beans should be picked over, rinsed, soaked in cold water overnight, and cooked in fresh water until tender. They should be pureed and strained to eliminate skins.
From the original recipe by Mary Elizabeth Hall
In: “Candy-making revolutionized; confectionery from vegetables”, 1912—USA
2 cups (400 g ) sugar
1/2 (118 ml) cup water
1 tbsp (15 g) butter (room temperature) + extra to grease pan
1/2 cup (125 g) cooked, pureed beans
1 cup (237 ml) milk

Necessary equipment:

candy thermometer

wooden spoon

cake pan 10 x 15 x 2 inches (25.4 x 38 x 5 cm)

saucepan + tight fitting lid

Place the candy thermometer in hot water, butter very generously bottom and sides of the cake pan.

Mix well and boil together water, pureed beans, and butter. Let the mixture simmer, covered, for about 3 minutes. Uncover and add 1/3 of the milk, bring to a boil again and let boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring gently, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 more of the remaining milk and proceed as before, finally adding the last of the milk.

Place the candy thermometer in the pan and let the mixture boil gently, stirring all the time with slow and gentle motion, until the thermometer register 242°F (116.67°C), which is slightly above the soft-ball stage.

Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and when warm cut in squares.

Posted in American Cooking, Beans, Blog Events, Candy & Confections | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »