Beet Bread and Marmalade-Pistachio Buns

To make flavorful and attractively colored breads and biscotti I often add carob, greens or squash and tangerines to my basic dough along with olive oil. The addition of beets makes delicious baguettes and buns but does not, unfortunately, create red or even pink bread…


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Yields 4 baguettes or 8-10 small stuffed rolls

1 cup fine semolina or pasta flour
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3  cups whole wheat flour
3  teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)
3 ½ cups mashed boiled beets (see NOTE)
More spring water (non chlorinated), as needed
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for the bowl and whap
2/3 cup coarsely ground pistachios or almonds (optional)

STUFFING (optional):
1 cup orange or lemon marmalade, or more as needed
1/2 -2/3 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, or more as needed

Milk to glaze the breads

Place flours, yeast, salt and pepper in the bowl of a standing mixer and toss with a spatula.

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Make a well in the center and add the beet pulp and olive oil. Fit the bowl to the mixer and work with the dough hook on low for 1 minute. With the motor running add water if needed and work the dough for 5 minutes or more, occasionally stopping to turn over the dough with a large spatula. Add the ground pistachios or almonds, if using and work a couple more minutes to incorporate them. The dough should still be somewhat wet and slightly sticky, but should start to come off the sides of the bowl. If too dry, add a little water, if too wet add a few tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Lightly oil a large transparent or semi-transparent bowl, as well as a piece of plastic wrap. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Transfer to the oiled bowl. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise until double its original volume: about 1 1/2 hour or more.

(When the dough has expanded to about 1 1/2 times its size you may transfer the bowl with the dough to the refrigerator, and leave it overnight and up to 24 hours. It will continue to rise slowly. Before proceeding further, bring to room temperature).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and if you like, halve or quarter with a spatula.

Form two or four baguettes, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Alternatively, use all or half of the dough to make stuffed buns:

Divide half the dough into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a cord about 12-14 inches long, and then flatten. Spread some marmalade in the center and sprinkle with pistachios. Cover the stuffing with the dough and coil the cord to get a round bun. Place in a round pan lined with parchment paper and continue stuffing more buns, placing them one next to the other in the pan.

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Cover the shaped breads with oiled plastic wraps and let the loaves rise for another 30 minutes –they won’t rise much.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Brush the breads with water or milk, if you like.

Bake for 5 minutes, sprinkling the inside of the oven with water twice, then reduce the heat to 375F and continue baking the breads for 30 minutes or more, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped at the bottom.

When done, transfer to a rack to cool completely before you  slice to serve.

To make biscotti:
Slice the baguettes and bake the slices on racks in a 220ºF oven for 1-2 hours, or until completely dry. Let cool on the rack and keep in airtight jars or boxes.

NOTE:

To make the beet pulp, boil 1 1/2 pounds beets until tender. Peel, quarter and process in the blender, adding water to make a smooth paste. Add a little more water if needed, to get the required amount.

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