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Beetroot loaf / walnut loaf [Mar. 5th, 2015|09:41 pm]

I returned to the Guardian's recipe for 'Hot pink beetroot and spelt flour bread' (one of the submissions for 'best pink recipe'). The description is "This is light and fluffy with a sharp, tangy taste from the beetroot. It's perfect toasted and spread with homemade chutney," and I had some beetroot and wanted a loaf which would make good cheese sandwiches. I'd made it before, and it wasn't particularly pink, and it wasn't particularly tangy - but maybe this time I'd do better.

On the second attempt, the result was a light and fluffy loaf, with chunks of beetroot in it. It wasn't hot or pink - should I have used the cooking liquid from the beetroot? should I have grated it? the recipe didn't call for either of these things - and it still wasn't particularly tangy: I wonder whether you're supposed to use pickled beetroot? It made perfectly acceptable cheese sandwiches. I thought the thyme (and I'd been quite generous with the thyme) might make it over-savoury for breakfast, and that I'd do better to butter it and skip the sweet spreads - but then I tried it with the ginger curd I'd brought home from the market, and that was a great combination, especially as I've now reached the bottom of the jar where the pieces of ginger were all lurking.

Bear in mind that although I was following the recipe, I was following it at some difference, since I was adapting it for my sourdough process. Even so, it was a useful demonstration of factors that result in a lighter loaf: don't add too much flour (keep it on the soft-and-sticky side), use a higher proportion of white flour (or don't - lightness isn't everything). The use of butter rather than oil, and more of it than usual, may have had something to do with it, too. Since I had put butter in the load, I greased the tin with butter, and the loaf jumped out of the tin so sweetly, you'd never guess it's sometimes a problem - I'll be doing that again.

The other thing I learned is that if you add chopped beetroot to your bread, what you get is a loaf of bread with beetroot in it. I never seem to learn this lesson permanently. How often have I seen something on a menu and thought "Interesting combination - I wouldn't have thought that would work"? And then I order it, and it doesn't. The components are not magically transformed by being combined (except when they are, of course, but don't count on it).

There's nothing wrong with bread with beetroot in it, but I can think of any number of things I'd rather find in my breakfast toast. Which is why today's loaf has walnuts in it. The fat content is walnut oil, but I greased the tin with a butter wrapper, and a couple of shakes made the loaf jump out so sweetly...

Final verdict after breakfast tomorrow, but it's looking good...

EtA: Talking to the Bread Lady at the market this morning - she makes her beetroot sourdough with organic beetroot juice, not actual beetroot. Even so, it isn't all that pink. It might be interesting to try that approach, but with walnuts instead of chunks of beetroot, and maybe a little orange zest.

And I bought a loaf of her carrot sourdough (made with carrot juice) to try, because it's such a pretty colour, and I wanted some bread to accompany a Greek salad for tomorrow's first course.

[User Picture]From: gillpolack
2015-03-06 12:53 am (UTC)
My favourite pink (very, very dark pink) recipe was the turkey soup I made and froze for emergencies (and that is, alas, all gone). I used turkey bones and all the standard chicken soup veggies (plus a few spices, for turkey spices up well), but instead of 1-2 big orange carrots, I used 5 dark purple carrots. The colour was extraordinary, but the taste also worked well.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-03-06 09:36 am (UTC)
The purple carrots I've met have purple skins but orange interiors, so I don't think that would work!

But you're right that soup is a good place for pinkness - *my* favourite pink recipe was probably a beetroot and rhubarb soup, with sour cream for added pinkness!
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[User Picture]From: gillpolack
2015-03-06 09:39 am (UTC)
These were technically black carrots, so you're right. But you'd get a lovely mauve soup with the carrots you're describing. (My colour was either dark pink or a purple - it depended on the light - I simply called it feminist soup and ate it)
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2015-03-06 02:20 am (UTC)
It must be pickled beetroot, and they're throwing in the liquid from the jar. That is really the only explanation I have-- it would, that way, turn out both pink and tangy, whereas otherwise I just can't see it being anything other than bread with beetroot in it. Which I personally would eat happily, but the thought of bread that actually tastes of pickled beetroot is a better one.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-03-06 09:37 am (UTC)
I wondered about using the cooking liquid, or some of it; or maybe grating in raw beetroot, for better distribution? But you're right that neither of these would contribute tang!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-03-06 09:38 am (UTC)
Frugal and effective, what could be better?
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