a few weeks ago, i had a delicious sandwich at the slow food uw cafe. it involved beet bread, caramelized apples, blue cheese & arugula. the most interesting part of the sandwich was the beet bread — i could not get over the deep pink-purple color of it & how moist it was. you could faintly taste the beet flavor, but it was not overwhelming. i flagged down my friend amy, who is super involved with the organization, & asked her about the bread. later that day, she forwarded me a recipe. needless to say, i put it to the test.
the bread turned out great. the recipe is simple to follow & does not require stand mixer with a dough hook or anything crazy like that. i did however, invoke the help of both my immersion blender & it’s food processor attachment in order to puree the beets. i swear, that thing is my favorite kitchen weapon. it can do anything with the right attachment. fyi, i don’t have a baking stone either– i just used a baking sheet. my sister enjoyed this bread with pb&j while i used it for a turkey sandwich. the rest of the loaf did not live to see the end of the day, as we munched on it throughout while “studying.” i use that term loosely. luckily for me, this recipe makes two smallish loaves (each loaf makes about 4 sandwiches plus some crusty end pieces for munching). i froze the dough from the second loaf & brought it to room temperature before throwing it in the oven for round 2.
-1/4 tsp instant yeast
-1 cup bread flour
-1 cup lukewarm water
-2 3/4 cups bread flour
-1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat
-1 cup roasted beet, pureed (about 2 large beets)
-add juice from roasted beets if any
-3/4 tsp instant yeast
-1 3/4 tsp salt
-1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1) combine “night before” ingredients in a large bowl. cover & leave out on counter for 12-16 hours.
2) the next day, add the pureed beets, whole wheat & instant yeast, mixing with a wooden spoon until smooth. let sit for 10 minutes.
3) stir in salt & fresh thyme.
4) gradually add the bread flour, combining the mixture with your hands.
5) when bread flour is incorporated into the mixture, kneed the dough for about 10 minutes.
6) place dough in an oiled bowl. cover the bowl with plastic wrap & allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size. if you can’t move on to step 7 within 1 1/2 hours, you can refrigerate the dough over night. this actually allows the flavors to mingle better!
7) divide the dough into two parts & mold them into the loaf shapes you desire. at this point, the recipe i was given instructed me to let the loaves rise again until double in size. they did not double in size so i proceeded to the next step (aka i would recommend just skipping that step).
8) slash an “x” on top of each loaf & sprinkle a baking stone or baking sheet with flour before placing the loaves on the baking stone or sheet. sprinkle the top of the loaves with flour as well.
9) place loaves into a preheated 400 degree oven with a baking stone (or sheet) and a cast iron pan to create steam. to create some steam, place a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven at the same time that you turn on the oven. once you place the loaves onto the baking stone (or sheet) pour about a cup of boiling water into the hot pan & close the door.
10) bake for 30 -35 minutes or till when tapped on the bottom of the loaf it sounds hollow. cool & enjoy.