KitchenRecipes

Baby Beetroot Bread, a loaf with a tasty twist

Have you ever tasted a slice of freshly baked, gorgeously hot pink bread, with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt?

Well, here’s your chance.

This recipe is the result of the amazing beetroot surplus our garden shared with us this winter. We literally ate beets at every meal (yes, for breakfast too!), used them as a basis for all kinds of culinary experiments and, of course, also shared them with our neighbours.

Here is the super-simple recipe. All you need is a good amount of patience – yes, the dough needs to rise twice –  and great background music to knead to (it has been proven that when you dance and knead, the dough turns out perfectly!).

Last but not least, be warned: your kids will become highly addicted to kneading perfect pinkness into such scrumptious goodness.

Have fun!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp of dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 large raw beetroot, or 2 small ones
  • 3 cups of whole wheat flour, with 1 cup more for kneading
  • A pinch of salt

Prep time (prepping + rising)

  • 5 hours

Cooking time

  • About 1 1/2 hours

Total time (prepping + cooking)

  • about 6 1/2 hours

Method

  • Mix dry yeast and warm water in a small bowl with a spoon. Let sit for 5 minutes. You will then see the mixture start to froth. This means the yeast is “activating”, or coming alive, as a reaction to the warm water.
  • In the meantime, peel beetroot, chop and put in an S-bladed blender. Blend on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  • Add flour and salt to the beetroot in the blender.
  • Stir the frothy water/yeast mix with your fingers and make sure all yeast has dissolved. Pour water/yeast mix into the blender.
  • Blend on medium speed until a ball of dough forms.
  • Sprinkle some flour on a large surface (e.g. a table),
  • Remove the dough from the blender. When of the perfect consistency, it will just plop out on its own – if it doesn’t, help yourself with a spatula.
  • Knead vigorously for 10 minutes (little hands will need a bit of help here). Form dough into a round loaf.
  • Put the loaf in a bowl, cover it with a clean dishcloth and then set in a fairly warm place. A spot in the direct sunlight through a window will do as well.
  • Let the dough rise for about 3 hours. By then, it should have doubled in size.
  • When the time is up, take the dough out the bowl and then knead for 5 minutes. This will help remove any air bubbles that may have formed during rising. Form a round loaf.
  • Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle crushed Brazilian nuts, cashews or any other nut on the paper.
  • Set the loaf on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, make an X on the loaf (see picture). This releases any trapped air and ensures full rising.
  • Let the loaf rest, as is, for about 1.5 hours. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 165 degrees C (330 degrees F).
  • Bake the loaf for 1.5 hours or until it sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Let the bread cool for 1 hour before serving plain or with any of your favorite toppings.

Of special notice

  • Make sure to use only fresh, raw beets. Pre-packaged, steamed ones will not color your bread vibrantly. They will actually turn it brick orange.
  • When peeling the beetroot, make sure you do so under cold, running water. Unless you want flashy pink fingers for a couple of days.
  • If the dough is too stiff while blending, you may add 2 tbsp of almond, cashew or soy milk or 1 tbsp of olive oil to soften it. If it is runny, you may add 2 tbsp of flour to stiffen it up.
  • If the dough isn’t rising, your kitchen probably isn’t warm enough. Turn your oven on (minimum temp), set the dough next to it to warm up and then close your kitchen door.
  • Brazilian nuts are the best sprinkled on the parchment paper. They are super rich in good fats and oils that are released at high temperatures (e.g. during baking) and will give your bread a special crunchiness and flavor.
Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Planter-in-Chief
Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

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