Beets · Breads and Crackers

Pink Bread! More Fun with Beets!

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Okay, not completely pink.  I used a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, and I believe the whole wheat contributed to the browner color.

The bread came out very moist and soft, though.  And, thanks to beets, it’s a better-than-before source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium, Folate and Manganese!  Woo hoo!

And better than all that – my kids like it. 

As in my Pink Cupcakes, I used beet(s) pureed with some milk to get the pretty color.  I’d used one beet (roasted, cooled, peeled) for the cupcakes; I used the other two for the bread.

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It’s such a cool color, isn’t it?  If you like shockingly bright colors like this, anyway.

Okay, now before all that, I’d started some water and yeast and flour going.  I just mixed them all together with a little sugar and let them bubble away for a while earlier in the day (while I was making the cupcakes).  By the time I made the bread, this is how it all looked:

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Nice and bubbly!

I added some softened butter, a couple of eggs, some salt, and and worked some more all-purpose flour into the starter.

Next, I divided the dough into two bowls (oh, the fun of having two mixers!) and added the puree to one batch.

Now, in retrospect, I should have put the beet puree in the bigger mixer, but despite my lack of foresight there was no dough overflow.

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Once I’d added enough flour, I placed both batches of dough in bowls, covered them with plastic wrap, and left them to rise.

You can see the bowls behind Alex in this picture:

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Anyway, once the dough had doubled in bulk, I uncovered it…

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…scraped it out onto the counter…

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divided it into three portions – one smaller than the other two – and shaped the larger two into loaves.

I also shaped the beetless dough into two loaves.

Then, with the remaining ball of pink dough, I made a sort of cinnamon-raisin bread.

Well, Julia helped.

First, I rolled the dough out, smeared some softened butter on it, and then sprinkled cinnamon sugar and golden raisins on top.

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At this point Julia asked to help, so I asked her to roll up the loaf.

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Thanks, Julia!

I covered all five pans and left them to rise for a while, until they had risen above the edges of the pans.

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Well, except for the cinnamon-raisin loaf, but that was smaller to begin with.

I put all the loaves in a 350 degree oven and baked them until the plain loaves were golden brown and all the loaves sounded hollow when I took them out of the pans and tapped on the bottom of each loaf.

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And there they are:

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As you’ve seen, the bread isn’t pink all the way through, but that could be partly because I used whole wheat flour in addition to all-purpose in the making of these loaves.  I’ll have to try it out with JUST all-purpose flour some time to see what that looks like.

But anyway.  The beet bread is very moist and soft, and everyone in my family liked it.  Alex even asked to have a sandwich made for school the next day with one slice of plain bread and one slice of the beet bread. 

It takes a well-adjusted third grader to eat a half-pink sandwich.

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And the cinnamon-raisin version came out great. 

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I might add some brown sugar in there next time, but that’s just me and no reflection on the beets.

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Now, I didn’t have a specific recipe for the beet bread.  I just kind of winged it as I went along.

I also made five loaves of bread, and you might not want to do that.

So I’ve trimmed the ingredient list down.  This recipe will make either one pretty large loaf or two more normal-sized loaves.

Beet Bread

Ingredients:

2 beets, roasted, cooled, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cups milk, room temperature or slightly warmer

2 pkgs (or 5 teaspoons) dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar            

1 egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

4 1/2 – 5 cups all-purpose flour (or you could do 2 cups all-purpose and about 3 cups whole wheat – feel free to experiment)

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What to do:

Butter one or two 9×5 loaf pans (depending on how large you want your loaves to be) and set aside.

Puree the beets with the milk.  Add yeast and sugar and set aside for fifteen minutes or so while you measure out the rest of your ingredients.

Add in the egg, butter, salt, and 2 cups of flour.  Beat, either by hand or using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth.

Switch to the dough hook (if using the stand mixer) and add more flour, in half cup increments, until the dough comes together in a ball.  Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic, and set in a warm place to rise.

Once the dough has doubled in bulk (about an hour or so later, depending on warmth and the vigor of your yeast), punch it down, scrape it out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into two portions (or leave as one – your choice), knead briefly and shape into a ball (or two).  Allow the dough to rest, covered, for about ten minutes.  Now shape into a loaf or loaves, place in prepared pan(s), cover, and set aside to rise again.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and center a rack in the middle.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, place the pan(s) in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.  The dough won’t be golden brown, of course, but if you tip it out of the pan and tap on the bottom, it should sound hollow when it’s done.

Allow to cool in the pans for about fifteen minutes, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.

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If you want to make cinnamon-raisin loaves, roll out the dough, smear with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, raisins, and/or nuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or whatever sounds good to you.  Roll the dough up, seal the edges, place seam-side down in a pan (or pans) and bake as above.

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Enjoy!

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