Sourdough Beet Bread with Roasted Beet Hummus #TwelveLoaves

If patience is a virtue, then I am a fallen woman. I'm the one who's giving the hairy eyeball to the person with the bazillion coupons at the grocery store. The one who honks the horn at you before the light turns green (you've made many a hand gesture at me in response, haven't you?) The obnoxious little snot who whined, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" as soon as the car pulled out of the driveway. The poster child for instant gratification. Which is why I'm as amazed as anyone that I've embraced a hobby like bread baking, where the motto is "Hurry Up and Wait." Maybe the meditation thing is working… Or maybe it's because the payoff for all that waiting is worth it. REALLY worth it. It certainly is with this beet bread. 

Beets. You either love 'em or you hate 'em. The poor unfortunate souls who hate 'em claim they taste like dirt. (Probably the same people who swear cilantro tastes like soap. Silly, silly people.) But even beet haters can embrace this bread because it really doesn't scream "BEETS!" at you. In fact, none of my official taste-testers could identify the mystery ingredient even though it does have a beet-y aroma. No dirt here. Instead, the beets give the bread a sweet, earthy flavor and a beautiful, deep, rich color. It was interesting to note that while the dough starts out as a bright pink, that shocking color fades as it bakes, leaving only a reddish ring around the crust—much like the smoke ring in BBQ. I've read that you can preserve the bright color by adding a small amount of citric acid to the dough, but for some reason, the thought of eating bright pink bread kind of freaked me out. This from a person who had no problem baking a black bread that really was BLACK. And I was okay with pink hummus. Go figure. But pink, brown or whatever, I couldn't get over how much I like this bread. I know bloggers are required by law to gush over every single post and declare it the Best. Thing. Ever. but I can honestly say—and I would never lie to you—this bread is right up there in my top five. Beet lover or beet hater…you owe it to yourself to give it a try. 

This sourdough beet bread is my contribution to the #TwelveLoaves February theme—Red, in celebration of National Heart Month, Valentine's Day and the Red Carpet (Oscar time). Check out the links below to see what good stuff the other TwelveLoafers came up with.

Sourdough Beet Bread

Ingredients

  • 325g bread flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 150g 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 190g water
  • 220g roasted beet puree
  • 10g sea salt

Directions

  1. Put all the ingredients EXCEPT that salt into a large bowl. Mix together by hand until everything is incorporated (no dry flour remains) and the dough is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes).
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and work in by hand for 3–4 minutes. (Ken Forkish, my bread baking pretend boyfriend of Flour Water Salt Yeast fame, has some great videos on his site that illustrate this and other techniques.) Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment for 3 hours, with a stretch-and-fold at 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes.
  3. At the end of the fermentation period, shape the dough and place in a floured proofing basket. Cover and place in the fridge for an overnight rise.
  4. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and let rest a room temperature for about 60 minutes or more (see my notes). While the dough is resting, place a baking stone on the lower rack of your oven, with a heat-proof pan underneath. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  5. When the dough is ready to bake (the finger dent test is a good indicator), turn it out onto a floured peel, transfer it to the baking stone, and throw a handful of ice cubes into the pan to create steam.
  6. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 430° and bake for an additional 35 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when done.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from TXFarmer's blog on The Fresh Loaf

Beet Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 2–3 small beets, roasted and peeled
  • juice of one lemon (or to taste)
  • 1–2 large cloves of garlic (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Drop the garlic cloves into a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend/process until smooth, scraping down as needed and adding reserved liquid as necessary until you achieve the desired consistency.

Notes

Roast the beets according to your preferred method. I bought semi-large-ish organic beets, trimmed and scrubbed 'em and cut them into 1" pieces, wrapped in foil and baked at 375°F for about 90 minutes or so, until they pierced easily with a fork.

Beets are kind of tough to puree smoothly. The first couple of times I made this bread, I tried pureeing them straight, just the beets, in my spiffy Magic Bullet. It took some banging and scraping and whatnot but eventually, I got something resembling a puree with lots of teeny beety pieces in it. Not that this was a BAD thing, but I wanted something smooth and piece-free. So next time I threw the beets and the water into the blender and blitzed the whole thing into a perfectly smooth mixture.

About the rise time before baking: The 60 minute rest before baking had me scratching my head because none of my breads were anywhere near ready by that time. In fact, there wasn't even any noticeable increase in size after the overnight rise. It's not the first time this has happened to me with a dough that has additions like purees and whatnot and I know I've bailed instead of waiting it out too many times to count—that impatient thing again. So I was determined to hang in there on this one. I waited. And waited. And waited. NINE HOURS, in fact, for the first one. Seriously. It's not like I was a Helicopter Baker or anything, standing over it and watching every second though. I had stuff to do so I let it do its thing and checked on it every once in a while until it was ready. Not a biggie. My next two bakes, thought, took four hours to rise, which is a little less intimidating, time-wise. The rise time definitely does seem to be a your-mileage-may-vary thing—obviously the 60 minutes noted in the original worked for some people—but however long it takes, it's absolutely, positively worth the wait. Trust me.

Hummus Notes: My hummuses (hummi?) are very much a little-bit-of-this, a-little-bit-of-that. Ingredients and amounts are a starting point. Like more garlic? Throw it in. More lemon? That too. (I love both so I go heavy.) Season and adjust to your heart's desire. If you're really bored, you can skin the chickpeas, which makes for a very smooth hummus. Just pinch the peas until the skin comes off. Not difficult but a little tedious.

#TwelveLoaves Bakes Red

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, which runs smoothly with the help of our bakers.

This month we'll be baking breads with a RED theme in honor of National Heart Month, Valentine's Day, and the Oscars (red carpet) - any red ingredient goes! For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month's breads featuring a "new to you" type of flour!

If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your "RED" themed bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Gluten-Free Artisan Bread #TwelveLoaves

Gluten-free. Definitely two words (or is it one word—that hyphen always throws me) I never thought I'd see on this blog. But here they/it are/is. I've tried gluten-free baking a couple of times, just out of curiosity because, thankfully, I don't have celiac, nor am I gluten-sensitive. And a good thing, too, because based on my experiments, I'd be in beeg trouble. Let's just say that the bakes I tried weren't exactly rousing successes. In fact, both efforts got pitched into the trash post-haste. Bad. Very bad. I kind of swore off gluten-free baking as a bad imitation of the good stuff.

Cut to the latest challenge from #TwelveLoaves: New-to-You Flours. Now as someone with a refrigerator AND and entire closet full of flours (including flours I've bought from overseas because I'm just that obsessed…or stupid), there weren't a lot that I haven't tried (some of which I'll never try again, because…yuck). But a bit of Googling turned up a new one for me: sorghum. I'd heard of it as a sweetener, popular in the south, but not as a flour. So despite it's unfortunate name (to me at least—it sounds like you need a quick trip to the dentist—"What's your problem?" "I've got sorghums.") I thought I'd give it a try. Now I had a flour, but what to bake with it? Gotta love the internet—more Googling turned up a beautiful looking bread from the lovely folks that brought us Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day—a gluten-free version that uses sorghum flour in its basic mix. I've got a soft spot for AB in 5, because that's where I started when I took up bread baking again and I've always had great success with the method. Now I had a new flour AND a new book. Life is tough.

I'll admit that I was a little skeptical when I mixed up the flour blend. It's got a cornstarch-like feel that takes a bit of getting used to. And the dough is unlike a typical bread dough—it's more like a biscuit dough and it's got very little (okay, no) stretch to it so it just breaks off. And you can't really shape it like you would a regular bread dough, you just kind of pat it into place and smooth it with wet fingers.

But the resulting bread is surprisingly good. It's REAL bread, not a sad imitation or a gluten-free make-do. In fact, the Dough family taste-testers had no idea it was gluten free and thought it was excellent. And grudgingly, I had to admit that I did too. The crumb may be a bit more dense that most artisan-style breads—no big, airy holes—but the crust is crisp and crunchy and the flavor is excellent—totally NOT what I was expecting based on my previous gluten-free efforts. Not that I needed an excuse, but I've bought a couple more gluten-free bread books and bigger stock of the needed flours and I plan on exploring this whole bread thing further. More stuff, more books and a good bread? I live for this.

Gluten-Free Artisan Bread

Makes 4 1-lb. loaves

Ingredients

  • 990g/2 lb. 3 oz. Flour Mixture #1 (see below)
  • 1 Tbsp instant or active dry yeast (check your brand to make sure it's gluten-free)
  • 1–1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or honey
  • 4 egg whites, plus enough warm water to make 3 3/4 cups

Directions

  1. Add the flour mix to the bowl of a stand mixer, then add in the yeast and kosher salt (to taste) and blend together at low speed.
  2. Mix the honey with the egg whites and water and slowly add to the dry ingredients with the mixer at slow speed.
  3. When all of the liquid is added, blend for about 1 minute at medium-high speed. The dough should look like soft biscuit dough when blended.
  4. Place the dough in a large container (at least 4 quarts, such as a Cambro). Cover the container but make sure it's not air-tight. If you don't have a lidded container, a shower cap works well.
  5. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 2–3 hours. The dough may not double in size. After the rest period, the dough can be used right away or refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  6. To bake, dust a sheet of parchment with some of the flour mixture and dust the surface of the dough as well.
  7. Pull of a 1-pound piece of dough, place it on the floured parchment and shape into a ball. It will probably look somewhat rough.
  8. Wet your fingers and smooth out the dough, then cover loosely with plastic and let rest for about 30 minutes if you're using fresh dough and 1 hour if you're using dough that has been refrigerated.
  9. While the dough is resting, place a baking stone in your oven and a broiler tray or other oven proof tray on the oven floor to hold water that will create steam. Preheat the oven to 450°F, checking to make sure the temperature is correct.
  10. When ready to bake, dust the dough ball with flour and slash with a knife.
  11. Slide the loaf onto the baking stone and add 1 cup of boiling water to the broiler tray, then close the oven door.
  12. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the loaf is deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool COMPLETELY before slicing. 

FLOUR MIXTURE #1

Ingredients

  • 1,020g/36 oz. White Rice Flour
  • 455g/1 lb. Sorghum Flour
  • 225g/8 oz. Tapioca Flour or Starch
  • 225g/8 oz. Potato Starch (NOT potato flour)
  • 40g/1.4 oz Xanthan Gum of Psyllium Husk Powder

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a 5–6 quart container with a tight fitting lid and whisk together. After whisking, cover the container and shake well. Make sure the everything is mixed VERY well otherwise the xanthan gum may clump and make your final dough inconsistent.
  2. Store the mix in a cool, dry place and use as needed.

Adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg

Notes

I used Bob's Red Mill flours and xanthan gum since they're readily available in most health food stores and in many well-stocked grocery stores as well.

I sprinkled my loaves with a bit of Maldon's flaked sea salt for a nice crunchy flavor burst.

VERY important to let the baked bread to cool completely otherwise it will be gummy. Don't ask me how I know.

Like most AB in 5 breads, the loaves are small, but a perfect size for baking a daily loaf. You could probably bake a larger loaf but would have to change baking times accordingly. Experiment!

"New to You" Flours: Check Out What the #TwelveLoafers Baked This Month

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, and the rest of our fabulous bakers. This month we are baking New-to-You Flour Breads that are perfect to celebrate the holiday season. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's inspiring selection of #TwelveLoaves Holiday Breads!

If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your New-to-You Flour Breads using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls #TwelveLoaves

Arguably (and I say arguably because, bad blogger than I am, I still haven't totally figured out how to track this stuff), the most popular post on A Shaggy Dough Story is last year's Crusty French Bread Rolls. And with good reason. There's nothing quite like a good dinner roll, the kind you fight over at a restaurant because they never put enough of them in the bread basket. (Do we REALLY need those dry, gaggy breadsticks or seedy hockey puck rolls? No. We do not. Take note, restaurant people!) As I wrote back then, a classic dinner roll is like the Little Black Dress. Food trends, like fashion trends, come and go but they're never out of style.

These crusty European-style rolls continue the classic roll tradition. (Now I'm not sure what makes them European, but with a roll this good, let's, um…roll with it. European it is.) They're easy to make but a little time-consuming—mainly hands-off time—so they take a bit of advance planning if you want to regale your Thanksgiving guests with warm rolls right out of the oven (although they do reheat and crisp up again nicely.) Soft inside, crackly outside—it doesn't get much better than this, unless you want to throw on a nice schmear of creamy butter. Then…pure heaven.

Thanksgiving Rolls and Biscuits is the #TwelveLoaves theme for November so be sure to check out the links below to see what the other TwelveLoafers came up with. And may your Thanksgiving be warm and bountiful.

Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

Starter

  • 113g / 1/2 cup cool water
  • 120g / 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp instant yeast

Dough

  • All of the starter
  • 418g / 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flouer
  • 227g / 1 cup  lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1-2 tbsp cool water

Directions

  1. The day before you plan to bake, stir the started ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Cover and set aside to rest overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, place the dough ingredients, including all of the starter, in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together until the dough is smooth and elastic. (It's okay if the surface looks a bit rough and is slightly sticky.)
  3. Cover the dough and let rise for a total of 3 hours, gently deflating and turn the dough after the first and second hours.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface (oil spray works great here) and divide into 12 pieces. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes, then shape each piece into a firm ball and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  5. Cover the rolls and let rise for 1-2 hours. They should be puffy but not necessarily doubled in size. (It's also okay if they look somewhat flat.)
  6. Once the rolls have risen, place them in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Preheat your oven to 425°F near the end of the rise time.
  7. Whisk the egg and water together until foamy, then brush the refrigerated rolls with the mixture and cut a 1/4" slash across the top of each roll.
  8. Bake the rolls for 20–25 minutes. They should be deep golden in color. Once baked, turn off the heat, open the oven door and let the rolls cool on the oven rack.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

About #TwelveLoaves

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

This month we are baking Biscuits and Rolls that would fit in nicely at any Thanksgiving table. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's inspiring selection of #TwelveLoaves Crackers, Crisps, and Flatbreads!

If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your Thanksgiving Biscuits and Rolls using hashtag #TwelveLoavesB>