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Spinach Bread Recipe – Popeye Bread Copycat

This whole wheat Spinach Bread recipe is so moist and delicious that you forget it’s healthy. Spinach Popeye Copycat Bread is a Savory Yeast bread that’s loaded with fresh spinach, onion, red pepper, cheese, and beautiful spices.

This is a soft and tender bread loaf that’s perfect with a cup of soup but sturdy enough to make an amazing sandwich.

This spinach bread recipe was originally posted in 2015. Improvements were made to the recipe and content to improve readers’ experience.

Finished spinach bread on parchment paper.

Why You’ll Love This Spinach Bread Recipe

I love the bread at Great Harvest Bread which is a local bread bakery in my area. I set out to find a recipe for it, but most of the recipes were for spinach bread or stuffed spinach bread so I set out to give it a try instead. My first attempt resulted in a bread that was so moist that it wouldn’t hold together.

I wasn’t in a hurry to redo it until one of our readers wanted to give it a try. I told him to give me a little time to develop a recipe that was worthy of making. After a little experimenting, I got a recipe that I’m super happy with.

This is delicious bread for sandwiches or avocado toast like we did with our Spelt Sandwich Bread!

A batch of my spinach bread recipe makes a heartfelt gift. Who wouldn’t love a loaf of homemade bread?

Equipment Needed for the Popeye Bread Copycat Recipe

Ingredients are pictured: onion, flour, wheat flour, spinach, garlic, salt, olive oil, yeast, honey, red peppers, thyme, lemon juice, cheddar, butter.

Ingredients for Spinach Bread

  • Warm Water. It needs to be between 110º to 115º F to activate the yeast.
  • Honey. A little bit is used mostly to feed the yeast.
  • Fine Sea Salt. – I find that this seasalt mixes and disolves easily. Kosher salt can be heavier and sink to the bottom of your dry ingredients when mixed together.
  • Active Dry Yeast. Find out more about different types of yeast.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Whole Wheat Flour. Adding this flour creates a wonderful crumb and texture.
  • All-purpose Flour. Bleached or unbleached is fine.
  • Spinach. I prefer baby spinach and remove the tough stems.
  • Onion. Yellow onion or a sweet onion would be my choice.
  • Red bell pepper. The red is sweeter than the other colors but you use what you prefer.
  • Diced Garlic.
  • Fresh Thyme.
  • Lemon Juice. Lemon helps keep the ingredients their beautiful color and adds a brightness to the bread.
  • Cheddar.
  • Butter.

How to Make Spinach Bread

While there are a lot of steps for the spinach bread recipe, it is not nearly as complicated as it seems! Just follow our step-by-step instructions.

Step One. In a medium-size bowl, combine the water, honey, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk together and then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to foam.

Step Two. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix until combined. Set aside for 45-60 minutes or until it has a sponge-like texture.

Step Three. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the onions and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes.

Step Four. Add the thyme, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Step Five. Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is softened and bright green.

Sauteed red pepper and spinach.

Step Six. Pour the lemon juice over the mixture.

Step Seven. Drain the spinach mixture in a colander set over a bowl to catch the drippings.

Step Eight. In a large bowl, add two cups of all-purpose flour. Make a well and pour the sponge mixture into the well.

bread sponge poured into a well of AP flour

Step Nine. Knead for 10 minutes, adding enough of the cooking liquid to make it pliable yet firm (see notes). The dough will be very stiff but not craggy.

Step Ten. Transfer to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 hours. The dough doesn’t rise substantially at this phase.

Stiff bread dough formed into a ball
Tight Spinach Bread Dough

Step Eleven. Add the diced cheddar cheese and spinach mixture together. The drippings from the sauteed vegetables and spinach are added here. I needed about 1/4 cup so added water to the drippings to get that amount and added it slowly until the dough was workable.

The dough is still stiff and I found that pressing my fingers into the dough as you would with Foccacia (or playing a piano) was helpful.

Step Twelve. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. Mix together quickly. Do not knead the dough again.

Step Thirteen. Form into an oblong loaf and place the dough on a well-oiled or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Loaf of formed spinach dough.

Step Fourteen. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour.

Step Fifteen. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step Sixteen. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes. Cover the last 10 minutes with aluminum foil if the bread gets too brown.

Step Seventeen. Cool the bread on the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it to a cooling rack. This bread cuts best once cooled.

How to Serve Spinach Bread

This amazing savory bread recipe is perfect on a cheese tray or charcuterie board. It will also work great with any meal that is crying out for amazing bread and pairs especially well with a salad.

Spinach bread makes amazing croutons or stuffing – Once the bread is beyond its prime, I’ll put it in the freezer to make homemade croutons.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Replace the onion with fennel or leek.
  • Cheddar cheese can be replaced with another semi-hard cheese. Swiss, Asiago, or Havarti would be amazing.
  • Change up the spices. Replace the thyme with dill or a Mediterranean spice blend would be delicious.

Pin this amazing Spinach Bread Recipe!

A loaf of spinach bread with the front slice cut off showing spinach and red pepper inside

How to Store Leftover Spinach Bread

Best Way to Store Popeye Bread.

Once the bread is completely cool place it in an airtight plastic bag and store it at room temperature. If you bag your bread before it’s cool, it will create condensation and make your bread soggy.

How Long will Spinach Bread last?

Even thorough there are NO preservatives in this bread, it can last up to a week.

Can I freeze savory homemade bread?

Yes! This bread freezes great. Make sure the bread is thoroughly cooled. I double bag it or bag it and then wrap
the loaf in foil. Make sure you label it before putting it in the freezer.

How to Thaw Spinach Bread

I thaw the bread on my counter at room temperature.

To reheat, wrap the loaf in foil and put it in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. This bread is also great toasted. I don’t recommend heating it in a microwave. Microwaving bread can make it gummy.

Finished loaf of spinach bread sliced, close-up.

Spinach Bread Recipe FAQ

Can spinach bread be refrigerated?

No, I don’t recommend it. The additional moisture created will make it
gummy.

Can I use frozen spinach in this spinach bread recipe?

No, I don’t recommend it. This is a moist bread and the additional moisture
will make this bread fall apart.

Do I have to use wheat flour?

No, but it works well in this recipe because wheat flour absorbs moisture and adds a nutty flavor.

Tips for Making the Best Popeye Bread

You can successfully replace or eliminate some of the ingredients in the spinach bread recipe. However, follow the same method of reducing the liquid the ingredient creates in the recipe.

I recommend “free-form” (without a pan) baking this loaf on a baking sheet. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes on the sheet which helps this bread set.

Make sure your yeast is fresh. When activating it if it doesn’t bubble, you need to replace your yeast or this bread will not rise.

You may use up to 1/4 cup of liquid to get the dough pliable. I added water to the spinach mixture drippings to get 1/4 cup.

More Great Bread Recipes You Will Love

Multigrain Wheat Bread Recipe with Sourdough Starter

Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls Recipe

Easy Focaccia Bread Recipe

Crack Bread from An Affair from the Heart.

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

Spinach Bread Recipe loaf.

Don’t Forget To Come Back And Let Me Know How Your Popeye Bread Turned Out!

Spinach Bread Recipe – Popeye Bread Copycat

Author: Hostess At Heart
A whole wheat bread recipe that is moist, tender and delicious. Flavored with spinach, onion and red peppers make it a great choice for a cheese board or with a salad.
Prep Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword: Homemade bread, Onion, Red Pepper, Spinach, Whole Wheat Bread
Servings: 12 loaf

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3/4 cup warm water – 110 to 115 degrees F
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt – I use fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp olive oil divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour divided
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 oz baby spinach clean, remove stems and chop
  • 1 cup onion diced finely
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup cheddar diced into small pieces
  • 2 tsp butter

Instructions
 

  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the water, honey, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk together and then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to foam.
    Whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix until combined. Set aside for 45-60 minutes or until it has a sponge-like texture.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the onions and peppers until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
    Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is soft. Pour the lemon juice over the mixture. Drain the spinach mixture in a colander set over a bowl to catch the drippings.
  • In a large bowl, add two cups of all-purpose flour. Make a well and pour the sponge mixture into the well. Knead for 10 minutes, adding enough of the cooking liquid to make it pliable yet firm (see notes). The dough will be very stiff but not craggy.
    Transfer to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 hours. The dough doesn't rise substantially at this phase.
  • Add the diced cheddar cheese and spinach mixture together. The dough is still stiff and I found that pressing my fingers into the dough as you would with foccacia was helpful.
    Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. Mix together quickly. Don't knead again.
    Form into an oblong loaf and place the dough on a well-oiled or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes. Cover last 10 minutes with aluminum foil if the bread gets too brown.
  • Cool the bread on the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it to a cooling rack. This bread cuts best once cooled.

Notes

You may use up to 1/4 cup of liquid to get the dough pliable. I added water to the spinach mixture drippings to get 1/4 cup.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse Spinach bread with changes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 596mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1487IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Michaela Kenkel

Thursday 20th of January 2022

I have made this bread three times already!! We LOVE it!

Kathleen Pope

Monday 17th of January 2022

I love your bread recipes and this one is no exception! Love me some hearty, whole wheat, veggie full bread! Bet it's amazing toasted schmeared with a bit of veggie cream cheese.

Julie Menghini

Monday 17th of January 2022

Smeared in cream cheese would be amazing! Thank you!

Sandra Shaffer

Sunday 16th of January 2022

This is my kind of bread making! Love that you free form the loaf, and all those veggies makes this practically a meal. Getting some fresh yeast (great reminder, thanks)!

Julie Menghini

Monday 17th of January 2022

Thank you, Sandra! I love all of those flavors in this bread too!

Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!

Friday 14th of January 2022

What an interesting and beautiful loaf! I love your tips - thanks for those!

Julie Menghini

Friday 14th of January 2022

It's indeed unique. Thank you so much, Jeff!

Liz

Wednesday 11th of November 2015

I thought, what a colourful and delicious looking loaf. It has lovely colours and I would personally use it for my soup...mmm that would be awesome!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 12th of November 2015

That would be so good too Liz!