Wild hairs … they aren’t called that for nothing are they. That’s why we have brushes. Right well, who knows why but I started thinking I didn’t like the sound of sweet in this beet bread. I first considered that I had over a quart of liquid pickled beet juice that I would love to have used. I guess I thought about that too long and just couldn’t get my head around it. Then I searched out some other flavoring to tone down the earthy aroma of my beets because my beets were earthy. Beets pair well with cloves, ginger, allspice, apples and walnuts. That sounded really good. Sounded like Christmas, festive. I really liked the walnut idea. My walnuts were rancid. Apples, if I used apples, that would be a perfect sweetener … adding too much liquid. In the end, I brushed all that aside (perhaps for another time) and went with Cathy’s sugar and vanilla and honestly it was just perfect.
Cathy from Bread Experience is our hostess this month and I really did enjoy her kitchen table. Cathy I thank you deeply for all your testing/experimentation. Raw beets will now be my go to red!
I do love adding sprouted wheat as it gives a heady wheat aroma to any bread and it seemed to work well here.
I’ve done lots of Bread Braids. Most have come out looking fabulous. This one … not so much. Still this bread braid has much going for it. I’ve learned how beets work in dough and how red you can go with bread. It has a wonderful crumb and is delightfully moist and soft. A bread well worth baking and learning from … and definitely worth eating. That’s why we bake after all.
Sourdough Red Beet Braid
Yield: 2 to 3 loaves
25-30 grams sourdough starter (or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast)
100 grams bread flour (or all-purpose)
40 grams water
700 grams bread flour or all-purpose flour (divided 450, 200, 50), 250 grams of the 700 was sprouted wheat the remaining was AP)
2 tablespoons sugar, I used brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
40 grams water
338 grams raw beets cut into small chunks, blend until smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
Chia seeds, optional
Leftover eggs whites mixed with a little water
1. Puree the beets in a blender, adding the water gradually. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth. This will take a little while unless you have a high-powered blender. Weigh the beet puree mixture, if it weighs more or less than 380 grams, you’ll either need to add more or less flour.
The beet I had weighted 438 grams. I added 40 grams water. I used 400 grams of the beet and water blended mix.
2. Mix the flour (reserving 100 grams), sugar and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the pureed beets, beaten eggs and egg whites, oil and vanilla, if using. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir slightly. Add the sourdough on top and mix thoroughly. My mixer remains packed in a box somewhere. I mixed by hand with no issues. I did add additional flour.
Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated and there are no bits of dry flour. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the mixture to a floured surface or you can continue doing this part in the mixing bowl. Gradually add 75 – 100 grams of flour while kneading the dough. It should become very supple and workable. Resist the urge to add too much flour. Unless you change the hydration, you shouldn’t need too much more flour. I think since I added the extra beet blend, I needed about an additional 1/2 flour.
4. Clean out the bowl, or scrape it down really well. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let it proof for 4 to 5 hours. Perform a fold after the 1st hour, place back in the bowl. Repeat at the 2nd hour. Let rest for 2 to 3 more hours. Perform an additional fold if necessary.
Ah, I only did one fold.
5. After the bulk fermentation, divide the dough for braiding. I divided the dough in half and made two loaves with double braids.
Roll out the ropes for the braids, shape the braids and tuck the ends under.
6. Place the braided loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Let them proof 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until they have grown to about 1 1/2 times their original size.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (or 325 degrees F. for the double braid) and place the oven rack on the middle shelf.
Brush the loaf again with egg wash and sprinkle the top with poppy seeds. No poppy seeds here, I used chia seeds.
Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, rotate the pan for even baking, then bake an additional 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the loaf. It should register 190 degrees in the center.
Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool for 1 hour before slicing.
Beets and goat cheese are a natural and it is a spectacular combo with this … oh yes and a glass of red is alright as well. Serve with goat cheese, red wine and a good friend.
I just know you want to bake red and bake with us!
Cathy of Bread Experience is the host kitchen for December and your challenge is to make beet bread. You can use any color beets and make any shape loaf you like, however, I think the braid makes a spectacular presentation.
Just bake some beet bread and post about it on your blog and on the Bread Baking Babes FB page by the 30th of this month. If you don’t have a blog, please post a photo of your bread on the BBB FB page.
Send an email to breadexperience at gmail dotcom with BBB December Beet Bread in the subject and I’ll send you the Buddy Badge to display on your blog.
All the Babes look forward to seeing your beet bread.
Baking makes us ALL happy!