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After a few attempts, finally… beet bread

I know beets are one of those veggies that folks either love or hate. I happen to really enjoy beets, which is good since I got a bazillion of them in my farm share. I've got a fair number of sweet and spicy pickled beets to work through, and some beet cabbage kraut, and kvass and currently fermenting is cumin basil beets.

Last year I tried pressure canning beets.

It did not go well. Mostly because I am still trying to get used to pressure canning on an electric stove. I ended up buying an external burner because the stove in my new apartment can't handle the weight. It sort of .. bends in the middle there, even with a canning burner.. so it's not level... that's .. no good.

I lost a few jars and a lot of liquid to siphoning

This was the first time I actually lost a jar and after all that work it was... really frustrating

Anyway, I recently purchased Sarah Owens' book Sourdough. It's really good. I mean, I'm not into a lot of the recipes for things that are not bread, but what I've made I've really enjoyed.

I do want to mention though that you have to read the instructions carefully


See, I'm used to recipes where the ingredients listed are the ingredients used. Ok..that sounds weird.

So, Beet Bread, for example.

The first time I made this, I just read the ingredients, skimmed the recipe and said.. right.. basically sourdough. Mix it, stretch it, fold it etc etc..


I mean, kinda.. but well.... not really.

The ingredients lists the following for the beet puree:

  • 600g (about 4 large) fresh beets
  • 440g water

And under the section labeled "for the dough" the ingredients list "Beet Puree (see left) "

And then the first instructions are to roast the beets until fork tender and then peel and puree with the water.

Friends, I did not read far enough.

I roasted 4 large beets and then peeled them and pureed 600g of beets with 440 grams of water.

This is incorrect.. You only put 290 grams of beets in with the water. I cannot imagine that roasting 600g of beets will be only 290g after roasting, peeling and trimming.

If I had my druthers the recipe would have read:

Beet Puree

  • 290 g roasted beets, peeled and trimmed
  • 440 g water

But I'm not an editor. I'm a baker who had an expectation and did not read all the way through. The result was.. well.. not good. It was.. like frosting? I added a LOT of flour and eventually ended up with a decent loaf. It was tasty but I pretty much hated it by the time I was done fighting with it.

So.. another attempt! It was pretty good but I also wanted it to be .. pretty pink! This does not happen because the red turns brown when baked... so.. yummy bread... not very pretty.

Attempt number 3! I decided to use the aforementioned pressure canned beets.

Those beets were.. rancid.. but I didn't notice until I mixed them up... because I was baking uncaffinated and I do not recommend this. So.. into the trash.

But this weekend? Finally! in business! I had some roasted beets stashed in the freezer so I pulled those out and I reworked the formula by a factor of .4 because I wanted a smaller loaf, about 650g total and the original recipe makes two good sized loafs around 800g each.

I also added 1000mg of Vitamin C in an effort to keep the red color of the beets. I learned this from Breadtopia. I could probably drop that down to 500mg for such a small loaf but I was committed to keep that color.

I did not follow instructions because, I don't bother with Autolyse and even thought it's January in the Northeast USA, it was 40 degrees outside so I took the opportunity to open the windows and air out the house.

There was no way that dough was going to be ready to bake on the same day. Nope. I also don't constantly feed my starter, so it's always slow anyway.

My normal process is to feed my starter at night, building in a few extra grams (like. ten.. yes I only keep 10 grams of starter at a time), then let that do it's thing overnight, mix in the morning, fold a few times, and let it hang out all day.. before bed, I shaped it and toss it on the fridge overnight for a nice hot bake from cold in the morning.

This dough was not having it. I ended up proofing all day and then in the fridge overnight. Shaped from cold in the morning, and proofed in my Breville Air Oven at 80 degrees for.. I dunno an hour? I waited until it was ready to bake and then baked it off..

Lordy it is beautiful! It was super challenging to get a surface tension. It was very very soft and easily torn (my bad) so I just did a little pattern with a tiny deep X on the top rather than my usual deep slash for an ear.. I was really afraid this was going to sploot all over the place if I cut too deeply.

Look at that little cutie

Imagine my glee when I opened it up

It's so pretty!

Here is my revised formula. You will see there are no real instructions. IYKYK

Beet Bread

Recipe by Pirate JeniCourse: Food, Sourdough
1 Loaf


Baking Time



Adapted from Sarah Owen's Sourdough


  • 116 g beets, roasted and peeled

  • 176 g water

  • 1000 mg vitamin C (crushed tablets)

  • 60 g 100% hydration starter

  • 220 g bread flour

  • 58 g whole wheat flour (I like Red Fife or Black Emmer)

  • 14 g dark rye flour

  • 6 g salt


  • Puree the beets, water and vitamin C
  • Stir the starter in with the puree and then add remaining ingredients. Mix together until a dough blob forms
  • Stretch and fold a few times with wet hands.
  • Allow to rise, then shape, proof and bake in your preferred method. Yes, I'm letting you use your judgement. I baked at 475 F for 25 minutes in a dutch oven then transferred to a sheet pan and finished for another 15 minutes.

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