I grew up in a town which had a fabulous family-owned bakery, Frances’s Bakery. We loved their breads, cakes, pies, cookies, brownies but most of all their spinach bread. The bread was stuffed with tons of tasty, garlicy and cheesey spinach and was my way of finally eating spinach as a kid. I’d start with the ends which had a higher bread to spinach ratio than the rest of the loaf. And as I got older I’d forgo the ends for the most spinach middle pieces. We’d often pick up two loaves at a time, one with meat (salami and ham)and one without. When I had kids of my own we’d stop off there and pick up a spinach bread and bring it over to my mother’s house. The same family owned it and would still hand out rainbow cookies to my kids— until a few years ago they sold it. After that the quantity and quality went down and the new owners stopped getting our business.
So, with so much spinach from my CSA last week I decided to try my hand at making my own spinach bread. I searched for recipes online but didn’t really find anything that I was looking for, so I thought I’d just wing it.
For the amount of spinach to use, you want good amount in bread & once it cooks it decreases in volume. So start off with a generous amount.
2 cups flour (½ cup whole wheat, 3 ½ cups all purpose)
½ tsp salt
1 cup water
4-6 cups fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful shredded mozzarella
handful shredded parmesan
salt & pepper
Mix flour, salt, yeast and water together until gooey. Either knead on well floured surface and let rise for 2 hours or leave covered in oiled bowl overnight to rise. Stretch out dough so it’s about 1/3 inch thick rectangle. Let rest on parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Steam the cleaned and de-stemmed spinach until wilted. Drain well. Sauté garlic with 1 tsp olive oil until cooked but not brown. Add spinach back to garlic & oil. Mix well and then squeeze out excess liquid. Chop spinach so it’s easy to bite.
Brush olive oil on dough and spread spinach, mozzarella & parmesan all over except edges. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Optional fresh or dried basil, oregano or tiny bit of nutmeg. Using parchment paper, grab side & pull, should help roll dough/spinach into loaf. Cut away excess parchment.
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly and cut into pieces to serve.
It worked and the boys loved it too! I brought it to friend’s house and they too loved it. I decided to make again this week (had even more spinach!) with all white flour and brought it over to another friend’s home. It was a huge hit. The boys ran to grab a piece before it was all gone!
Can be served hot, warm or cold!