Soft Beetroot Bread (Old Dough Method)

by - October 24, 2020

Soft Beetroot Bread




My girlfriend from The Little Love Bites asked me if I could make any pink bread for platters that she is putting together for Pink October month.  The first thing that cane to my mind is to use beetroot.  But, I understand that beetroot will not retain its colour and tends to turn light brown after baking.  I did some research and found out that a vitamin C supplement would probably work.  The ascorbic acid in the vitamin C slows down the degradation of pigments during heating.    However, I did not have any vitamin C tablets or capsules on hand.  So, I just went ahead and  baked it anyway without adding Vitamin C.  The colour turned out light a kind of pinkish brown with a more prominent pink on the crust.  This Soft Beetroot Bread's texture is fine, soft and aromatic.  

I used pâte fermentée (pre-fermented dough in French) or sometimes called "old dough" to make this soft and flavourful bread.  Traditionally, bread makers take a portion of the bread dough made and save it overnight for next day baking.  I made it from scratch since I did not have any ready old dough. With this method, the bread is more flavourful and aromatic due to the higher acidity and fermentation gasses produced during the slow fermentation.

Please click on Bread Making Method to understand more details. 

It is advisable to read the General Notes before baking.

GENERAL NOTES:

KNEADING TIME
For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

OVER KNEADING
Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

FLOUR
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

HYDRATION
The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

PROOFING
Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
WRINKLE TOP OR SHRINKING
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until it just reaches or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

BAKING
Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.


Recipe - Soft Beetroot Bread (Old Dough Method)

Yields:  2 loaves in two 300g Loaf Pan

INGREDIENTS:

Old Dough:
170g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
52g full cream milk (whole milk) or fresh milk
50g water
1/4 tsp instan yeast
1/4 tsp sugar

Main Dough:
250g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
2 1/2 tbsp (30g) brown sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
10g milk powder (optional)
155g steamed beetroot (from 1 medium beetroot, peeled, cut and steamed)
35g full cream milk (whole milk)
36g butter, room temperature

Utensils:
300g non stick loaf pan (22.3 X 8.7  X 7.7 cm / 8.8" X 3.4" X 3")  X 2 units


METHOD:
  1. Old Dough
    1. Combine milk, water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Then add in bread flour and knead with your hand until smooth and all incorporated.  Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with cling film and let it ferment for 12 - 16 hours in cool place or  air-conditioned room (25C - 26C) if you live in a hot climate.
    2. You may also let it proof 1 hour in room temperature (hot climate). After 1 hour, place into the refrigerator for 24 - 36 hours.  Take out the old dough from refrigerator to return to room temperature 30 minutes before using
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Peel, cut and steam the beetroot for 20 minutes. Blend 155g steamed beetroot with 35g milk with hand blender or food processor until become a smooth paste.  Leave aside to cool.  You will get around 175g - 180g of beetroot mixture after blending as some stick to the blender.
    2. Put all ingredients (except butter) including all the old dough and 175g-180g beetroot mixture into a bowl of stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 12 - 14 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    3. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until double in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film or kitchen towel.
  3. Shaping:
    1. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 6 equal portions or 2 portions at your choice.
    2. Form each portion into a ball.  
    3. Flatten with rolling pin. 
    4. Roll the dough like a swiss roll into a log.
    5. Flatten the log with rolling pin as shown in below diagram.
    6. Roll up the dough again like a swiss roll until a small log is formed. 
    7. Place all the dough in the prepared loaf pan.  3 dough into one pan.
    8. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes or till 90% of the size, slightly below (about 0.5 cm) the rim of the pan.  Cover the loaf pans with lid.  Please monitor as mine rose quite fast, about 20 minutes already reached almost the rim of the pan.  
  4. To bake:
    1. Then pre-heat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. After 10 to 15 minutes after preheating oven, bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Open the lid after 25 minutes to check.  Remove from oven if already golden brown or bake for another 5 - 10 minutes more without lid accordingly to your oven.  I used Chefmade Carbon Steel Loaf Pan, the baking time required is less.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.




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