Made with White Whole Wheat Flour and Organic Beetroot Juice
Every year in February we celebrate American Heart Month. Last year I created this delicious and super Heart-Healthy Sourdough Bread made with whole wheat flour, wheat bran, four kinds of seeds, and honey. This year I decided to use only one ingredient in my annual heart-healthy recipe: beets.
This heart-shaped vegetable has plenty of benefits for your heart! First of all, beet juice increases the body's nitric oxide levels, which in turn increases oxygen to the heart. It also contains potassium which helps flush sodium out of the blood and lower blood pressure. Lastly, with the help of pigments called betalains, beets fight inflammation associated with heart disease.
My choice of flour for this recipe was Whole Wheat for its heart benefits. I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour because I wanted the color of the bread to be brighter from the beets without a gray shade from the regular whole wheat flour.
I considered a few options of how to add the beets to the dough:
Use mashed beets cooked in the Instant Pot (on high pressure for 30 minutes with 1 cup of water)
Use organic beetroot juice, either bought or freshly squeezed
Since I have been using a lot of mashed vegetables in sourdough lately, like in this Pumpkin Sourdough Bread, Sweet Potato Bread, and Butternut Squash Sourdough, I chose the latter to make it a little bit different. Also, I read that the juice will give a more pink color to the dough.
I baked two loaves as always, but to experiment, I added 350 g beetroot juice in one and 400 in the other. And, although both loaves turned out delicious, I liked the shape and the height of the one with less juice. The color looked the same - light pink shade after baking while being bright fuchsia pink in the dough stage (see the scoring design below).
The taste was very subtle, so even if you are not a big fan of beets, you will not taste them in this bread; you will only get the benefits.
My absolute favorite way to eat this bread is with soft goat cheese, honey, and walnuts (see below) - it almost tastes like a dessert but is much healthier. Otherwise, I use it every morning in my breakfast sandwich with egg, ham, and cheese.
The dough will be thicker than if you use water, so if you need to add a little bit more juice, it's ok
Wear gloves to prevent staining of hands while handling the dough
As usual, I simplify my recipes, so they are easy to follow for beginners. I avoid using complex numbers and ingredients, so the recipe is more clear and less intimidating for new bakers. I list ingredients for 2 loaves so you can bake 2 and share 1 as a gift. To make a single loaf, simply divide each ingredient by 2.
Ingredients for 2 loaves:
Levain 1:2:2 Ratio
70 g Sourdough Starter
70 g Bread flour
70 g White Whole Wheat Flour
140 g Water (bottled or filtered)
300 g Levain
700 g Organic Beetroot Juice (bought or freshly squeezed)
600 g Bread flour
400 g White Whole Wheat Flour
20 g Salt
Rice Flour for dusting
Prepare the Starter (morning 10 am)
Feed 70g of starter with 70g bread flour, 70 g whole wheat flour, and 140g water, cover, and leave it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours. With room temperature at 76°F, it should at least double in size by then.
Make the Dough (afternoon 4 pm)
Combine 300g of starter with 700g of Organic Beetroot Juice at 85-90°F in a large mixing bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
Add 600g of bread flour, 400g of white whole wheat flour, and 20g of salt to the mixture and mix the dough with fingers until all of the ingredients are well incorporated with no dry bits left.
Cover and leave it on the counter for 30 minutes.
Stretch and Fold
For the next hour and a half, perform stretching and folding technique every 30 min: take one side of the dough, stretch it as far as you can, and fold it on top of the dough. Turn the bowl counter-clockwise and do it 7 more times, stretching and folding each side.
Cover and leave the dough on the counter for 2-3 hours to rise at about 76°F room temperature.
Shape and Proof (evening 8 pm)
Mist the bannetons with water and sprinkle with Rice flour.
Gently take the dough out of the bowl, place it onto an unfloured surface, and divide it into 2 equal parts.
Shape the dough into the final round shape using the same stretch and fold technique as above, stretching and folding 4 sides until you see a smooth side of the dough (about 8 times).
Gently turn the dough with your hands round and round to create the surface tension and make it into a tight ball. Do not over-shape.
Flour the top with bread flour, put each piece in the banneton seam side up, and dust the top of the dough with rice flour.
Place the bannetons in plastic bags and let the dough rest overnight in the fridge.
Bake (next day)
Test the dough if it's ready to bake by gently pressing it with your finger. If it springs back up slowly - it's ready.
Preheat the oven to maximum temperature (550°F in our case).
Carefully flip the dough out of the banneton into the dutch oven or a cast iron combo cooker (no need to preheat it.)
Dust off the rice flour with a brush, mist the top of the dough with a little bit of water and cover it in all-purpose flour, spreading it evenly.
Score the dough with a razor blade and put the lid on.
Reduce the temperature to 475°F and bake for 30 min.
Remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450°F and bake for another 15 min uncovered.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting.
Tools I used: