The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Beet Bread - and red velvet cupcakes

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Beet Bread - and red velvet cupcakes

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries

This organic fruit/veggie delivery service is really taking me to places I have never been -- in last week's case, it's beet! I roasted them in oven for 70min until tender. Peeled, cut some into chunks and put in salads. For the rest, I mashed and used the vividly red puree for this bread.

Bread Flour, 325g
WW Flour, 100g
Beet Puree, 220g
Starter(100%), 150g
Water, 190g
Salt, 10g

1. Mix everything autolyse for 20 to 60min,mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope.
2. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 3hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120min.
4. Shape, put in basketes smooth side down, put in fridge over night.
5. Next morning take the dough out to finish proofing, about 60min for me. Score. Shockingly red, isn't it?

6. Bake at 450F with steam for 15min, lower to 430, bake for another 35min.

Finished bread is less red than the dough. I read that acidity would help keeping the red color, being a sourdough loaf, I thought that the PH value would be low enough, guess not...

I could tell that the sour beet puree (lots of it too) had a weakening effect on the dough, but the bread still ended up with good volume

Open moist crumb, with a subtle beet taste, great as a grilled cheese sandwich.


Followed this recipe online to make red velvet cupcakes with the leftover beet puree.

Very happy with the deep red color both before and after baking, without food coloring!

In order to keep the color red, a lot of lemon juice was used in this formula (to keep PH low), which means the cake itself is noticably sour. That's why icing is necessary for this cake - to balance out the acidity. I don't think its taste is authentically "red velvet", but if you want a red cake with no artificial coloring, then it's fills the bill. It's egg free too.


SallyBR's picture

Beautiful loaf, TxFarmer!

my husband is the anti-beet guy par excellence, but I have some frozen mashed beets from a previous project (pasta) and your recipe is tempting me...


you said there is a subtle hint of beet in the way the bread tasted... do you think it would be enough to scare a beet-hater away?  I know, difficult question to answer, but I hate the idea of making a huge loaf and having to eat it all by myself... ;-)

txfarmer's picture

No, I think most people would be fine with this bread, the beet taste is not obvious at all, if your sourdough is sour, it would even be harder to detect.

SallyBR's picture

Thanks!  Will letyou know when I make it...

sweetbird's picture

I love your refined experimentation with baking. It's always artful and thoughtful, never a hodge-podge! This is lovely, and so interesting the way the reddish color has concentrated in a ring under the crust of the beet bread. At least that's what it looks like in the slice photos. The cupcakes look moist and delicious! Wonderful photos, as always.


dabrownman's picture

it might be BBQ smoke ring ;-)  My daughter still says that red velvet cake gets its color from red food coloring than from beets.  I wonder what they did before red food coloring  .... hummmm?

txfarmer's picture

Thanks Janie. Yeah, there is a red ring, which I am curious of the reason as well.

dabrownman's picture

bread txfarmer.  It is beautiful and my favorite purple color.  Is it sweet like beets are?  If you added some cocoa powder would it be red velvet bread?  I can't wait to make this.  Thanks for recipe and creativity.

txfarmer's picture

To me beets taste slightly sour with an "earthy" flavor, not particularly sweet, so I don't think the bread is noticably sweet either.

Isand66's picture

Beautiful looking bread and cupcakes.  I am not sure I like beets, but I will have to give it a try one of these days!


txfarmer's picture

Hope you try it, it doesn't taste that "beets-y"

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like the red ring too!  

... red lemon cupcakes sound very interesting.  :)  

txfarmer's picture

Red lemon cake is definitely a more appropriate name for that cake, it doesn't taste very "red velvet-y"

Syd's picture

Lovely open crumb despite the gluten suffering somewhat from the beets. Those beets would have brought a lot of sugar, too.  The cupcakes look delicious, as well.



txfarmer's picture

Thanks Syd! You are right about sugar, funny how I don't think beets as sweet even though I know there's a lot of sugar in that veggetable.

EvaB's picture

over the past 10 or so years, red velvet cake didn't have either food colour or beets it was simply the chocolate and the recipe that made it red or redish. I suppose it would depend on what type of cocoa powder you used or if you used grated chocolate from Baker's (the brand I know best) I use a piece of unsweetened chocolate grated into the sugar and mixed by pouring hot water into it, for a sour cream chocolate cake my mother developed, and my brother would only eat that cake (he didn't like chocolate anything other than real chocolate bars, or semi sweet chunks of Baker's brand chocolate) I had a cake that used cocoa powder and he wouldn't eat it. I don't think I want lemon red velvet cakes, lemon should be yellow! LOL

On the other hand the beet in the bread looks awesome and probably tastes that way too. Beets are supposed to lower blood pressure so anything beet is interesting to me.

dabrownman's picture

might give it a slight reddish tint in the small amount used for this traditional southern recipe when it reacts with the acid in the buttermilk.

My Grannies both grew beets for canning and for making the very dark red velvet cakes they made only for special occasions.   They wanted their cakes really red (a southern thing I think) and beets were the coloring of choice before food coloring. 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Everything looks so delicious.Great photography!

Did it feel slightly peculiar to you to work with the red dough?

I made some beetroot bread some time ago, for a charity event and for a halloween-themed party.

I used the juice only, and the color of the bread was not as even as yours. Have to try with mash.

Your posts are always an inspiration.


brandonbart's picture

Just found this a couple days ago and am giving it a go later today. I roasted and mashed the beets. Levain was fed and will be ready to go in in a few hours. My only question is if i'll have a permanently red/purplish stained banneton =P