Our local Aldi started carrying dried kidney beans, at a very attractive price, so I bought a few pounds and then cooked up two pounds of them for a weekend of chili making--two large crowd events with three batches of chili would call for a lot of beans.
Not, however, quite as many as I had thought. Do you know how many cups (quarts!) of cooked beans you get from two pounds of dry beans?
So, even after all that chili, there were still beans left. I was definitely done with chili as an option. I made one batch of the Depression era salad I occasionally enjoy nostalgically, but there were still a couple of cups of cooked beans in the refrigerator.
Yes, I could have frozen them, but I was looking for something new and different to try. Dessert? Bread? I started some internet searches and found lots of bean recipes, but the distinctive color and generally firmer texture of kidney beans didn't include them in most of these unique uses. I did, however, find some breads made with cooked beans that were intriguing.
Thinking that the kidney beans would leave telltale dark flecks in whatever bread I would make, I started to think of ways to disguise this, and herbs were an easy solution. Then, looking forward to an event when I would be making some kind of dip and dippers, I considered making this into a flat bread that could be made into something like pita chips.
The result? A wonderful new recipe that provides a great sandwich bread (part of the recipe was shaped into a typical loaf) as well as flat breads that can be used whole or toasted into chips for dipping, the original plan.
And one more side benefit, besides using up those extra beans: this is a vegan bread that has boosted protein from the beans.
Kidney Bean Flat Bread
2 c water and drained bean liquid
1 t garlic powder
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t black pepper
1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/2 t)
2 1/2 t salt
1/4 c sugar (or less--see NOTE for canned beans)
3 T olive oil)
approximately 4 1/2 to 5 1/2c bread flour
1. Drain the bean liquid into a 2 cup measure and fill the measure to the top with water. Heat this mixture in the microwave until very warm.
2. Put the kidney beans and one cup of the water/bean liquid in a processor, using the metal blade. Blend until the beans are very smooth.
3. Add the oil, herbs, salt, sugar, and yeast along with the rest of the water and about 2 cups of flour. Process until smooth.
4. Continue adding flour, one half cup at a time, processing each time until blended. If you have a large (about 14 cup) processor, you can probably add all the flour, processing until the dough makes a smooth dough. However, with a more standard size processor (mine is an 11 cup processor), you will need to stop after about 3 cups or so have been added. DON'T overtax your processor's motor!
5. Turn the dough into a floured bowl, adding more flour as necessary to develop a "kneadable" dough. If you were not able to finish the kneading in the processor, knead the dough now, until it is pliant and slightly resistant to pressure.
6. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly and allow to rise until doubled.
7. Shape the dough into flat rounds about 1/4 to 1/3" thick. Place on an oiled sheet and allow to double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely browned.
9. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil or butter for a glossy surface.
You can substitute a 15 1/2 oz can of kidney beans. Be aware that almost all canned kidney beans are prepared with both sugar and salt--even the organic varieties! If you are using a can of these beans, reduce the sugar to 3 tablespoons and the salt to 2 teaspoons.
Instead of shaping the dough into flat rounds, shape it into 2 to 3 loaves. Place the loaves on pans that have been oiled and sprinkled with corn meal (I use masa harina). Cut slits in the tops of the loaves and allow to raise until double. Bake at 350 degrees.
Other beans can probably be substituted for the kidney beans, but I have only tested this with kidney and black beans. For the latter, do NOT use the liquid, as it will give the dough a not so attractive gray color overall.
You may use your own favorite herbs in place of or in addition to the Italian seasoning.
Flat Bread Chips for Dipping
1. Cut the flat bread in half horizontally, as you might for a sandwich. Then cut each into triangles.
2. Spread the triangle chips across a tray that has been lightly oiled. Spray the chips with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt--coarse salt is good, but seasoning salt, garlic salt, etc., may also be used.
3. Bake the chips at 280 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn and continue baking another 12 to 15 minutes until they begin to turn golden and are crisp. Allow to cool before serving.