Monday, November 16, 2020

Beetroot and Poppyseed Sourdough

This Beetroot and Poppyseed Sourdough is cooked in a Dutch oven for an unbelievably crisp crust, and the long fermentation makes for the most amazing flavour and texture. You will never have a loaf quite like it!

The only (and I repeat: the only) good things about the cold weather coming around here are these: my root vegetables are finally ready to harvest, and I can turn on the oven and not get whined at for heating up the house. I proudly grow a variety of beets and carrots in my little plot every year, and take great pleasure incorporating them into things like chutney, soups, cake, pickles and bread. 
Now, beet bread is nothing new to me. I have made beet-enhanced bread on this blog before, and it is always a hit given it's natural sweet earthiness. That said, I never made one of the sourdough or Dutch oven baked variety! I came across this gorgeous idea while scrolling through my feed reader shortly before World Bread Day, and I immediately bookmarked it. Not only did it use up one of my large beets, but I didn't have to pre-roast and puree the vegetable - a simple grate is all that was needed. As a result, the bread baking process draws out the sweet liquid in the shreds, infusing every bite of the crumb and making it impossibly tender. A couple spoons of poppy seeds add crunch while the hot Dutch oven made the crust crisp and relatively thick (read: chewy!).
One of the reasons this bread was such a win for our family is that it was a sourdough recipe. This means that the bread takes a while to make, but it is almost completely hands off and while you sleep at night, making for fresh bread in the morning! The slight tang from the fermentation balances the nuttiness of the seeds and the sweetness of the beets as well, so every bite is sheer perfection (trust me: my mom ate a portion of this loaf without even butter). If you have a sourdough starter languishing after the bread boom of the summer, break it out and give it a few feeds before using it so it's lovely and energetic - the dough is rather heavy so the yeast needs to do a lot of work!

Beetroot and Poppyseed Sourdough
Adapted from Spicy Tamarind
Makes 1 loaf
120 g active 100% hydration sourdough starter
200 grams all purpose flour
300 grams whole wheat bread flour
375 g water
1 large or 2 medium beets (about 1 1/2 cups) grated
10 g salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
  1. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl), mix together the starter, flours, and water. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Add the grated beet and mix the dough with the dough hook on low speed (or with a sturdy spoon / your hands) for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the salt and poppy seeds and knead on low speed for 10 minutes. The gluten should be well developed.
  4. Cover and let stand 45 minutes.
  5. Stretch and fold the dough. Re-cover and let stand 30 minutes. Stretch and fold again.
  6. Cover and let rest for 2 hours, until it has grown in size (it may not double but should be noticeably larger).
  7. Carefully turn dough onto a square of parchment paper and place (parchment side down) in a bowl or proofing basket.
  8. Cover loosely and place in the fridge overnight.
  9. Place a cast-iron Dutch oven in your oven and heat to 450F. Once the oven reaches 450F, let the oven sit inside for 10 more minutes.
  10. Take the dough from the fridge, uncover it and score with a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors.
  11. Place the loaf in the Dutch oven (be careful!), parchment and all. Replace the lid and return to the oven.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes. 
  13. Remove the lid and bake for 20 minutes longer.
  14. Turn off the oven and let the loaf sit inside for 15 minutes before removing the Dutch oven and cooling the loaf on a rack.

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