Sunday, 11 March 2012

flour, water, yeast, salt... beetroot

I have an essay to finish on Robert Owen, the founder of the Cooperative Movement, but I have been struggling to settle down to it. Its a beautiful sunny day and I kick myself for my procrastination. But it is Sunday, so I at least get to bake today, punctuated by study. Beetroot sourdough extends the alchemy that is sourdough. Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is again the inspiration with this very attractive loaf. Using his recipe as a base I again choose to prepare a sponge the night before containing half the flour, all the water and the white flour starter. By the morning it is bubbling away nicely.

I use double quantities of the following -


white bread flour
coarsely grated raw beetroot
white sourdough starter
rye flour for dusting the proving baskets

The dough is quite wet and so I end up adding a handful or 2 more flour but with a couple of hours folding and resting the dough is nice a stretchy and luridly pink. Beetroot juice is splattered everywhere during the preparation... beware! Disposable shower caps work well when placed over the proving baskets.

Hadjiandreou reckons the bread should be left to rise 3-6 hours, but in my experience 2 - 2 1/2 hours will suffice. however, this morning the sun is streaming in and the dough "doubles" within 90 minutes. Fortunately I had been checking on them like an over-cautious parent and quickly whack the oven on to maximum temeperature. I bake the loaves consecutively and I think the second boule is slightly over-proved as it wobbles like a pink blancmange and faints onto the baking tray. It comes out fine.

But what happens to the pink colour?!

Still, the coarsely grated beetroot adds colour and sweetness to the crumb.

I even make progress with the essay... slowly. :)


  1. What an amazing colour to the dough; and how strange that it changed into some dayglo hot-pink leopard print in the finished crumb. Does the beetroot flavour come through in the finished bread?

  2. hi Chris, if you coarsely grate the beetroot then you get these wonderful red jewels studded throughout the bread which gives a subtle sweet beetroot tang. I like it with plain butter or a mature cheddar. :)

  3. Ah, another person who likes to spend their Sundays baking! (Though I held back on the bread today as I've already got heaps in the freezer, and got my cooking fix by making veggie burgers instead - still, nice to know I wasn't the only one happily slaving away in the kitchen!) That beetroot bread is a visual FEAST - munch munch. I've never heard of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou but will have to check out his book. I bet this would go well with some goats cheese.

    1. Hello Monica,

      Sunday's the one day I get to slow down. I usually go for a run, bake some bread, roast some veg... before being hurtled into Monday.

      Goats cheese is a good suggestion - the book is well recommended - it is visually stunning - I hope to do one of his bread courses in the future.

      Thanks for stopping by :-)

  4. This beetroot loaf looks great! I'll have to get ahold of the Hadjiandreou book. Don't writing, study, and baking go oddly well together? Must be something about watching the clear progress of dough rising (or at least having it as a good distraction) that helps with the often slower-pace of the other.

    - Susanne

    1. yes, its the spacing... having breaks from the study to allow things to digest... and using the baking as a mindfulness practice in itself. Sunday as a time to be present, Sunday as Sabbath, whether religious or not.

  5. Is there a whole grain version for this recipe? Sounds delicious but I don't use much white flour these days.

  6. Hi Bruce, I think you could make one up adding grated beet root to your favourite whole meal sourdough recipe, give it a go!

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