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


March 19, 2014

  • Makes: Makes 2 loaves.


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


1Pour 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.)

2In 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?

3Shape 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.

4Butter 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.

5Starting 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.

6Preheat 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.


About Julie

21 comments on “White Bean White Bread

  1. Colleen
    March 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm

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

  2. Julie
    March 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    But….what about the beans?

  3. Anonymous
    March 19, 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
    March 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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

  5. A non a mouse
    March 19, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Up the fiber sneaky….

  6. Julie
    March 19, 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
    March 20, 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
    March 20, 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
    March 20, 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. Jo
    March 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm

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

  11. Lisa
    May 25, 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!

  12. Jean
    April 24, 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).

  13. Raphaella
    March 3, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Hi, a small question.. Am I able to replace the all-purpose flour with cononut meal?

  14. Neeli
    April 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Julie. I wanted to stop by to let you know that this bread is awesome. I’ve made it a few times, but with less flour to make smaller loaves, but last night I made the recipe as stated above with a little more sugar and it’s a wonderful recipe. Tender and delicious. Perfect for adding more fiber to the diet. I also bought your Spilling the Beans cookbook last year and I can’t wait to add more beans into my meals. I’m really looking forward to the candied lentils.

  15. Rebecca
    March 9, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I tried this recipe with chickpeas instead of white beans because that’s what I had and I forgot the butter. I also inadvertently forgot about it and let it rise the first time for about 12 hours. Then I let it rise a 2nd time since it was a bit over risen. In the end, we made 3 loaves instead of two. They turned out so nice and fluffy.

  16. Steven Howe
    July 10, 2018 at 12:55 am

    From the crumb you use too little salt; not trying to be a critic just what I have learned from experienced.

  17. Debbi Phillips
    September 3, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I need a recipe using only bean flour. Anyone have one of those with a carb count.

  18. Samanda Ann Smith
    October 14, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Made this recipe for the 2nd time today. This time i made half of the dough into clover leaf and fantail rolls and then a regular loaf out of the rest. Rave reviews from all who ate the buns!

    • Julie
      October 15, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      SO great to hear it!!

  19. Jenn
    November 3, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Any way to make the bread a little more moist or not so crumbly? I’m new to baking bread, so not sure if I made any mistakes. Was delicious though – especially with butter and honey spread on!

    • Julie
      November 8, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      Oh interesting… I don’t find it crumbly! Sounds like you perhaps added too much flour? Make sure you aerate it (stir it up) before measuring, so it’s not packed down.

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