A Rather Interesting Bread Recipe

OK, so if you've been to this blog before you probably realize a few things--that I like cooking, bread making, and bike riding--but also that I have sort of eclectic tastes, meaning I have never really been one to stay "inside the box." Anyhow, this is a good segue to this rather odd-sounding bread recipe (which is actually very delicious and economical)...

Whole Wheat Spelt Bread with White Beans and Maple

Don't laugh; it's delicious and nutritious. It's the outcrop of having soaked too many beans for this soup recipe the other day. I boiled the extra beans in plain water, reserving the liquid, and made bread in the same way I make Ezekiel Bread (click here, here, or here), and substituting maple syrup in place of honey. The beans become part of the dough and are barely visible, but they add flavor and texture...actually making the dough a little lighter in some way. The maple is only mildly noticeable, but it does add a sweetness to the bread. It'll make great toast for breakfast tomorrow that's for sure (and probably a tomato sandwich for lunch). Anyhow, here it is in pictures; the recipe is below.

Whole Wheat Spelt Bread with White Beans and Maple Syrup

Makes 4 small loaves

3 cups cooked white beans
2/3 cup cooking liquid (from the beans)
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups cooking liquid

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons instant yeast
3 teaspoons kosher salt

Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained beans with 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups spelt flour, and 2 teaspoons instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it's job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of yeast. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 4 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.