Beetroot is an underestimated vegetable, even if I didn’t grow up with it, I liked it since the first time I tried it. It was probably a few years ago while we had this staple Swedish dish ‘pytt i panna’ which means ‘Small things in the pan’, it is basically small cubes of potato, onion and meat sautéed in a frying pan, accompanied with canned beetroot and one or two sunny side up eggs. But no, it’s not quite the food I usually enjoy but the beetroot was actually quite tasty. I wasn’t very impressed that it always comes with canned and ready sliced beetroot and never freshly cooked, so I tried to make my own by roast it with some other root vegetable and I loved it ever since. There is something quite pleasant with the flavour that I cannot explain, maybe the sweetness reminds me of Japanese adzuki bean pastes or maybe just the beautiful colour cheers me up.
Country loaf bread with beetroot
After the carrot bread I’ve been trying to sneakily add in more veggies into my regular breads, especially root vegetables since they have a slight sweetness and I think it works really well with the sourness from the yeast. So far I’ve already tried pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots and I loved all of them, but they all look kind of similar because of their bright yellow/orange colour. When I was checking the seasonal vegetables in Sweden, I asked myself why not beetroot? It certainly won’t be a sneaky way to hide vegetables but it still makes an interesting bread. The sweet earthy aroma and bright vibrant colour will definitely make a loaf stand out among other breads.
Since it’s has this earthy tastes, I wanted to make a country-ish bread with healthy whole grain flour and lots of seeds, but not rye or durum flour that might alter the colour of the dough. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I made this very good-looking bread few days ago. It was a blushing pink, healthy and tasty bread and perfect for the valentine’s season. Here is the recipe:
Weigh the ingredients and add to the bread machine. Choose the knead and proof program. Take out the dough and punch down when the program stops. ( If you don’t have a bread machine, add all ingredients to a bowl and knead for 8 min or until smooth and slightly glossy, then let proof in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel for 50 min.)
Divide in 2 and shape into loaves.
Leave under a kitchen towel for an hour to proof again. Heat the oven till 200℃ or 392℉ and bake for 11-14 min. Let cool before slice and serve.
Red velvet cupcakes with beetroot
I remember in a baking competition here in Sweden, there was a girl made cupcakes with beetroot which turned out to be an embarrassment but it still made me very curious about using beetroot cupcakes. Yesterday I tried a gluten-free and sugar-free recipe with beetroot and it was catastrophic… wasted elbow grease (2 large raw beetroot peeled and finely grated!) and loads of ingredients too, almond/coconut flour and cacao powder and coconut oil etc… the texture was dry and flaky and the flavour was very inharmonious and even my boyfriend couldn’t finish a single one, and he usually eats everything with cacao or chocolate.
I tried to figure out what was wrong by reading through the comment section and realised many other people was disappointed by the recipe. I was mildly annoyed at myself because I was focusing on how delicious the photo looks like and didn’t even take time to read through the feedback from other people who make it. It might be a common sense for many but I actually never thought about it: Do not judge a recipe by its Pinterest photo! Oh well I guess I just have to consider that as lesson learned.
But I didn’t stop there, I was determined to make it right so I tried again this morning, with another recipe of course, I actually looked through many recipes and tried to understand the science behind it, which could be summarise as 1) raw beetroot tastes like dirt. 2) Cooked beetroot loses its colour and become pale and brown, 3), Acid helps to maintain the natural colour. With my new knowledge in mind I made the new batch with a different approach: 2 medium-sized beetroot peeled and halved, simmered only for about 3 minutes to get ride of some of the dirt flavour, and then let cool in cold water while the vegetable is still a bit stiff, before I cut them into smaller chunks and pureed in a food processor. Oh I also swap the almond/coconut/hazelnut flour with regular all-purpose flour, under the pressure of my boyfriend telling me how much he loves gluten after yesterdays gluten-free baking disaster.
The original recipe comes from Cookilicious and I made some changes.
Preheat the oven to 180℃ or 350 ℉. Peel and cut 2 medium-sized beetroot in half, simmer them for about 3 mins and let cool down in cold water. Cut into smaller chunks and puree in a food processor. Take 3/4 cup of the puree into a large bowl. Mix with egg, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, lemon juice and oil (I used unmelted coconut oil) and whisk till smooth. Measure and sift in the flour, cacao and baking powder and fold until smooth as a cake batter. Pour in the cupcake forms and bake for 30 min. Insert a stick to check if it comes out clean, and keep baking for a few minutes if it’s not. Once done, take them out of the oven and let cool on a rack before serve with any frosting.
Personally I never liked cream cheese frosting or butter cream frosting, so I used whipped cream with powdered sugar and vanilla even if it’s not a typical frosting for red velvet cake. But it’s never wrong to experience and try something new, right?
I hope you will give these recipes a try and see how it goes, please let me know what do you think about beets? What’s your experience with baking with vegetables? Please let me know in the comment! I would love to know.