About the Recipe
Beet Focaccia is a delicious twist on the classic Italian bread, focaccia. This unique variation incorporates the vibrant and earthy flavors of beets into the dough, resulting in a visually striking and flavorful bread. The dough is made with pureed roasted beets, which give the Focaccia a beautiful deep pink hue. Topped with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, it is baked to perfection, creating a crispy exterior with a soft and pillowy interior. The beets add a subtle sweetness and subtle earthy undertones to the bread, making it a delightful accompaniment to soups, salads, or enjoyed on its own. With its enticing appearance and delicious taste, Beet Focaccia is a wonderful addition to any meal or gathering.
One of the things I absolutely love about focaccia is its versatility and the endless possibilities it offers. This Italian bread has a beautiful lightly crispy crust with a soft and chewy interior, making it incredibly satisfying to bite into. It serves as a blank canvas for flavors, allowing you to experiment with various toppings and seasonings. Whether it's classic rosemary and sea salt, roasted garlic and olive oil, or sun-dried tomatoes and herbs, the combinations are endless. Focaccia is incredibly adaptable, making it a perfect accompaniment to soups, salads, or enjoyed on its own. Its simple yet robust flavors, combined with its comforting texture, make it a timeless favorite that I find truly irresistible.
1 1/2 cups Cooked Beets (about 4)
1/3 cup Water
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra for greasing
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons Honey
2 teaspoons Salt
Herbs: Chives, Parsley, Rosemary. Oregano etc.
This focaccia, like all other focaccia, is extremely easy to make. Just a few key ingredients and you will have a beautiful bread ready to serve for lunch or supper. Just be sure to alot yourself a couple of extra hours to allow for the rising time.
Begin by adding your cooked beets and water to a blender. Blend until you have achieved a smooth liquid purée.
Using 1 1/2 cups of the beet purée, warm it in the microwave (15 second intervals) so that it is warm to the touch (not boiling). Add in your instant yeast and stir.
Wait until the yeast starts to activate (you can tell when a layer of small bubbles start to form on the liquid). Add in the vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Give the mixture a few good stirs so that the liquid ingredients are all well incorporated.
Now, sift in the flour and salt.
Using you hands, knead the ingredients together until you have a beautifully pink dough. Cover your bowl with a kitchen towel or some plastic wrap and let the dough rise (for 1-2 hours) or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen punch the dough out so that it deflates.
Tip: Punching out the dough serves a crucial purpose in the bread-making process. When the dough is punched down, it helps to release the excess carbon dioxide gas that has built up during the fermentation stage. This punching action deflates the dough, allowing it to relax and redistribute the gas bubbles evenly throughout. It also helps to remove any large air pockets that may have formed during the rising process.
By punching out the dough, you create a more uniform texture and structure in the bread. It helps to develop a tighter crumb and prevents the formation of large air holes. Additionally, punching down the dough helps to strengthen the gluten network, resulting in a better rise and a more consistent texture in the final baked product.
Line a baking dish (approx. 28 x 18cm or 7 x 11'') with parchment paper.
Tip: Crunch the parchment paper up before placing it in the dish, this will make it easier to shape it into the corners and up the sides.
Using a pastry brush, brush the parchment paper with a bit of olive oil.
Place your beautiful pink dough onto the parchment paper, stretching it out so it covers the surface of the dish.
Cover and let rise again for about 40 minutes.
When you have let the dough rise for a second round, the real focaccia fun begins.
Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.
Get your hands ready, it is time to dimple the dough.
Using your fingers make finger indentations over the entire top layer of the dough. Dimpling the dough is not only fun, but actually has a few specific purposes.
Firstly, dimpling the dough helps to create small pockets or wells on the surface. These little pockets serve as receptacles for toppings, such as olive oil, herbs, or sea salt, allowing them to infuse into the bread as it bakes. The indentations also help the toppings adhere better to the dough, ensuring they don't slide off during baking.
Secondly, the dimples aid in the even distribution of heat during baking. As the dough puffs up in the oven, the indentations help prevent large air bubbles from forming, ensuring that the bread bakes evenly and maintains a consistent thickness. The heat can penetrate more evenly into the dough through these dimples, resulting in a well-cooked and golden crust.
Lastly, the dimples contribute to the characteristic rustic appearance of focaccia. They give the bread a visually appealing and recognizable texture, with a combination of smooth areas and gently indented portions.
In summary, dimpling the dough with your fingers enhances the flavor, texture, and appearance of focaccia. It allows for better absorption of toppings, promotes even baking, and contributes to the bread's unique and rustic aesthetic.
Next, have fun decorating the top of your bread. In this example I simply used some onions, chives, parsley and chili flakes. But, have fun decorating and creating your own masterpiece.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Place the focaccia on the center rack in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a golden crust forms on the top.
Do not be surprised if the glorious pink dulls and becomes more golden. This is normal. It will still be beautiful, and most importantly delicious.
Serve as an accompaniment to a meal, or simply as a dish in of itself.
Hope you have fun with this and enjoy making it as much as I do.