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Dessert Recipes

Red Beet Challah-#TwelveLoaves


Red Beet Challah

Is there a vegetable that you are secretly obsessed with? There is one that is always on my mind. Can you guess by seeing this stunning red beet challah. Maybe I'm exaggerating by saying always, but if you're here today to see this red beet challah up close, then you maybe will guess it's beets!

I'm not a picky beet lover. I will honestly say that I have deep affection for red beets and stunning golden beets. I have so many ideas of what to do with them; it's sad to say that I'm the only one here that shares this deep beet affection. So there aren't too many crazy beet experiments. The taste testers have their favorite veggies, and I usually stick with them!

This beet thing all came about for the nifty bread baking group I created a few years back. It's just a lovely group of bloggers that has a similar obsession with baking their own bread. And some months the theme really inspires me! Like this "red" theme chosen by my super talented bread baking friend Heather. She's one of the most creative people I've ever met through my little blog and I actually first found her and her delicious blog through a bread group she used to run. Imagine if we lived near each other? There would be more bread around than we would we would know what to do with it!

So Heather threw out there this idea of red breads for February and my mind started spinning with ideas. I was leaning towards ideas that involved berries or tomatoes, but I wanted to do something more seasonal. Beets come around in the fall, and I as soon as I notice them at the market, I have ideas, most of them involve a beet soup. I did share a beet recipe here almost 3 years ago (yikes!), but that is not the last time I roasted them up here. Here's another really delicious beet idea, and for your excitement, it involves quinoa! I forgot how much I loved this salad!

Red Beet Challah



#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy and with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, which runs smoothly with the help of our bakers.

This month we'll be baking breads with a RED theme in honor of National Heart Month, Valentine's Day, and the Oscars (red carpet) - any red ingredient goes!

Check out this gorgeous color! I will warn you, you may need to wear gloves if you don't like your fingers turning fuchsia. I totally never mind when I work with beets. The color washes off pretty quickly. I had to make challah, mostly because it's been so long, and when I thought of the color, I envisioned them braided. In Italy, they call a braided bread a treccia. And with beets? Treccia di pane alla barbabebietole. Yes, that is a mouthful! Barbabietole is one of my favorite Italian food words! In one of my all-time favorite parts of Italy, Alto-Adige (or, The Dolomites), they eat l'hefezopf (treccia di pane dolce), which is a sweet braided bread. The story of this region goes that when the men passed away, they would be buried with their wife's braid (what...what?!?)and then it evolved into being buried with her braided bread (that sounds a little better than cutting off your whole braid). So it is enjoyed in Alto Adige on All Saint's Day and even on Easter.
Red Beet Challah


Red Beet Challah

Red Beet Challah




Some notes on this recipe: I roasted the beets just as they were, no olive oil or any salt, and then when blending them up in my blender, I added a little milk. I started with a 1/4 cup, and added a bit more at at time until it was fully blended (it ended up being 1/2 cup). I did use 3 red beets. It did render the challah dough I normally do much more moist, so I ended up using about 5 1/2 cups of flour. You could use bread flour or all-purpose. I made one large braid and 3 smaller ones. You could make 2 large ones and freeze one or give one to someone special that enjoys homemade bread. It's really easy to put together!! You just have to roll out your 3 strands, pinch the top of the ends of the strands together, and start braiding. Try to keep the pieces snug as you flop them over each other. I think that's the trick. It gets easier with practice, so you have to make more bread!! The kids loved the vibrant color...my son called it the "volcano bread" because he thought it was the same color of the lava from the Finding Nemo volcano...so there you go, bake a volcano bread for your kids!

Super cool red beet ideas:

Red beet and white chocolate chip ice cream

Beet and berry smoothie  (in a smoothie?YES! I actually had some extra beets I roasted, and thought why not incorporate it with my daily morning smoothie. It may be a flavor I only would appreciate here, but I found it DELICIOUS!)

31 beet recipes (a lot to choose here!!)

Some other delicious braided breads I've shared here:

Honey Challah (the first braided bread I shared here...it was so much fun to make different shapes)

Pumpkin Challah

Chocolate Chip Challah 

Cinnamon Raisin Challah 


Red Beet Challah

by Savoring Italy
Prep Time: 1 1/2-2 1/2
Cook Time: approx 35-40 minutes

Ingredients (2 loaves or 3 smaller ones)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (I used Red Star Yeast Platinum for this recipe)
  • 1 cup warm water (no more than 110°F [43°C])
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 red beets roasted and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour, or 5 1/2 to 6 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup peanut, corn, or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
In a blender, puree the roasted beet pieces with the milk (start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed to puree it until smooth).

In a mixer, with a dough hook attachment, add the warm water and yeast. Mix until blended. Add the sugar and mix about a minute. Slowly mix in 1 cup of the flour until combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time until they are combined. Add in the pureed beets.

Add another 2 cups of the flour, oil, and salt. Mix together on medium-low speed stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the rest of the flour (the remaining 4 cups) and mix until combined.

Stop the machine as you add each cup of the flour to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate the flour. Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until dough is incorporated. Be sure to give your mixer a break and as you don’t want to burn it out. Add flour if needed 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough will be a little sticky but also firm.

Take dough out of mixer bowl.

Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).

Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, and allow it to rest with plastic wrap on it for 5-10 minutes. You could divide the dough into 9 portions to make 3 smaller loaves.

Roll each dough ball into long piece .Braid 3 strands together to form a loaf. Repeat with the other 3 strands. Cover and let rise in a draft free place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F.

When ready to bake, brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake the challah for 35-40 minutes. The bread should be golden brown. Ovens may vary so check your challah at about 30 minutes and see how it’s doing. You test if it’s done by tapping the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it needs a bit more time.* Be careful to not burn your fingers like I did when you do that test. Let it cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

24 comments

  1. Aha! Blended beets with milk equals a gorgeous burgundy. Love! #Inspired to incorporate the natural red dye into my recipes...P.s. I love golden beets, too. P.s.2 Your photos are beautiful and have found homes on my Pinterest boards =)

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  2. Oh wow your challahs are gorgeous, love the beet colo. I would not mind getting my hand fuschia dirty. Got to look into that beet ice cream!

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  3. I'm a beet lover, too - and oh my gosh, the color of these loaves is seriously gorgeous! Thanks so much for your kind words, my friend :)

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  4. I couldn't believe the color! I was expecting bright...but it almost seemed fake in some photos lol! xx

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  5. No way. This is totally genius. That color though. Sensational!

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  6. Awwww...thank you! The color seems fake it's so vibrant :D

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  7. Love the red! So fun! Can't wait to try this!

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  8. Andi @ The Weary ChefFebruary 3, 2016 at 6:14 AM

    These are gorgeous! I'm a beet lover and this one looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing! YUM!

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  9. That natural color is gorgeous! I love beets and I'll eat them any which way!

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  10. Oh my gosh, this is so brilliant! I am obsessed with the color the beets gives the bread!

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  11. This is the prettiest colored loaf ever! And I absolutely love that you used beets to make it. I'd be a little scared to eat it if you had use food coloring. ;) Oh and I LOVE challah. It's the best!

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  12. Love challah! How cool and creative this is

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  13. Amazing color! Wow! Such a gorgeous loaf of bread Lora. Calling it volcano bread might just work with the grandkids too!

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  14. omg ... this may be one of the best things I've seen all day. I am obsessed with beets and would have never thought to make a challah from them. Genius!

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  15. I am loving beets right now, perfect for Valentine's Day!

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  16. What an awesome idea! And I love that you were able to achieve that beautiful color with natural ingredients.

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  17. That natural red color is gorgeous! Such a fantastic idea!

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  18. Add me to the list of beet lovers. Growing up it was very common for us to have beets in a salad or on a sandwich, but it was mostly canned. I can't wait to get to the farmer's market and pick up some beets so I can try your recipe.That color is just spectacular.

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  19. The color of this challah is beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  20. Red was such a creative theme to have for this month's Twelve Loaves. I'm sorry I wasn't able to participate, but I'm thrilled to see your submission of red beet challah. I don't think I would have ever thought of adding beets to bread, but when you're trying to tint dough red, how many choices do you actually have? These are some gorgeous loaves, Lora. I'll bet the beet lends a very subtle, earthy flavor to the eggy flavored challah. Nicely done!

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