Green bread with spinach and pepitas, a fluffy, savory bread perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
A green bread perfect for you if you are celebrating St. Patrick's Day. If not, you should still bake it, it is a delicious, simple and satisfying homemade bread that your family will love. Especially the kids, mine were even bragging with their green sandwiches in the school.
A savory, easy to make spinach bread suitable to serve with either cheese/cold cuts or jams. Just because there is spinach inside doesn't mean it doesn't taste great with any sweet spread, even Nutella is fine.
What do you need to make green bread?
- I used 170 g/ 6 oz/ ¾ cup chopped spinach.
- You will not need to remove the stems for this recipe (unless they are particularly large and woody), the spinach will be pureed anyway.
- All-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
- You could also bake the loaf with white spelt flour and whole wheat spelt flour. Or try this 3-minute spelt flour no-knead bread recipe.
- I used pepitas, which are hulled pumpkin seeds that grow inside certain types of pumpkin and which don't require shelling.
- The seeds are optional but nice, I rarely bake a loaf without any seeds. Usually flaxseeds, sunflower, or sesame seeds, but in this case, the green pepitas fit the recipe perfectly.
- I had instant yeast, which only needs to be mixed with the flour before adding the milk and the rest of the ingredients.
Can I use active dry or fresh yeast?
- Yes. They both need to be proofed. Place them in a small bowl, add about 50 ml/ 1.7 fl.oz/ ¼ cup of the measured and lukewarm milk and the sugar. Mix well and let stand for about 5-10 minutes until foamy on top. Mix with the flour and the rest of the ingredients.
Other ingredients: salt, egg, sugar, butter.
How to make spinach bread?
Most important tip: use a digital kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, it guarantees for best results (Amazon affiliate link). For instance, the original recipe for this green bread was only mentioning cup measuring. I had to bake it three times before I was perfectly happy with the results, the amount of flour was different every time I measured and I had to keep trying to get the right ratio.
- Wash the spinach, shake it well in the sieve and pat dry with kitchen towels, it should not have too much water clinging to it.
- Chop it roughly if the leaves are large and place it in the food processor. (1)
- Add salt, egg, milk, soft butter, and sugar. Blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients. (2)
- Mix together both types of flour, yeast, and pumpkin seeds. If you can knead the bread in your food processor, add the mixture to the pureed spinach. (3)
- Knead well until smooth and not so sticky anymore. It took me about 7 minutes in the food processor. (1)
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer to the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, between 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is. If you are using fresh yeast, start checking after one hour already. (2)
- Punch down the dough in the bowl. Punching helps degassing/removing air bubbles and reinvigorating the yeast cells. This will help the crumb to become more tender. (3)
- Transfer to a lightly floured working surface and knead 2-3 times with a small amount of flour to form a ball. (1)
- Press the ball into a thick rectangle almost as wide as your baking tin (my tin is 30 cm/ 12 inches, so I pressed the dough about 2 cm/ 0.8 inch smaller). (2)
- Fold the dough. This helps strengthen it by stretching the gluten strands and will make the bread rise higher and become airier.
- Fold a third of the dough a third of the way over the rest of the dough. Fold the other side over the already folded piece. (3)
- Pinch the seam to help the bread hold better together. (1)
- Place in the buttered loaf tin, with the seam facing down. (2)
- Cover the tin with the kitchen towel again and let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes until golden on top and sounding hollow when you tap it with your knuckles.
- Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
How to store and freeze?
The bread with spinach keeps well for at least 3 days at room temperature. It can be stored it in a special box if you have one, otherwise the counter is fine.
You can wrap in a clean kitchen towel or paper to prevent the crust from drying, but I never bother, we usually finish any homemade loaf within 1 or 2 days.
The green bread for up to 3 months. Either freeze the whole loaf (when completely cool) or the slices. If freezing the slices, it is preferable to freeze them on a baking tray first and once frozen (after 2-3 hours) to transfer them to freezer bags.
This way they will not stick to each other and you will be able to remove only a certain number of slices when needed.
Defrost the whole loaf slowly in the fridge. The slices will defrost very quickly, less than an hour if you leave them on the counter.
What to serve the spinach bread with?
A few suggestions?
- Just butter and a sprinkle of salt. Or butter + tomatoes/cucumber slices + good salt.
- Obatzda (German Camembert Spread)
- Red Currant Jam
- Lemon Jelly
Green Bread with Spinach
- 170 g fresh spinach 6 oz/ ¾ cup (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 240 ml milk 8.1 fl.oz/ 1 cup
- 60 g soft butter 2.1 oz/ ¼ cup, I had unsalted
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 450 g all-purpose flour 1 lb / 3 ¾ cup, Note 1
- 100 g whole wheat flour 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast Note 2
- 70 g pepitas 2.5 oz/ ½ cup, Note 3
- Wash the spinach, shake it well in the sieve and pat dry with kitchen towels; it should not have too much water clinging to it. Chop roughly if the leaves are large.
- Blend: Place it in the food processor with salt, egg, milk, soft butter, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Or use an immersion blender.
- Combine: Mix both types of flour, yeast, and seeds.
- Knead: If you can knead the bread in your food processor, add the mixture to the pureed spinach. Or knead everything in a stand mixer with the hands. Knead the dough well until smooth and not so sticky anymore. It took me about 7 minutes in the food processor.
- Let rise: Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough inside, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, between 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the temperature in the kitchen and the type of yeast you are using (Note 2).
- Second knead: Punch down the dough. Transfer to a lightly floured working surface and knead 2-3 times with a small amount of flour to form a ball.
- Shape: Press the dough into a thick rectangle almost as wide as your baking tin (my tin is 30 cm/ 12 inches, so I pressed the dough about 2 cm/ 0.8 inch smaller). Fold a third of the dough a third of the way over the rest of the dough. Fold the other side of the dough over the already folded piece. Pinch the seam.
- Second rise: Butter the loaf tin and place the dough in it with the seam facing down. Cover with the kitchen towel again and let rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Bake: In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 55-60 minutes until golden on top and sounding hollow when tapped. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
- Measuring your flour by weight will provide much more accurate results. Converting flour to cups can vary by room temperature, quality of flour, the person measuring it, etc. A digital kitchen scale is the best kitchen gadget you can own when it comes to baking. (Amazon affiliate link)
- You can use the same amount of active dry yeast or 25 g/ 0.9 oz fresh yeast. Proof the yeast first: place in a small bowl, add about 50 ml/ 1.7 fl. oz/ ¼ cup of the measured and lukewarm milk and the sugar. Mix well and let stand for about 5-10 minutes until foamy on top. Mix with the flour and the rest of the ingredients.
Bread made with fresh yeast might rise quicker; start checking after 1 hour already.
- Pepitas are pumpkin seeds without a hull; they come from specific pumpkins and don't require shelling. You can use other seeds instead; try flaxseed, sesame, or sunflower seeds.