I’ve been inspired by the ever-increasing number of readers I have of the other recipes here on the blog and I thought I’d post another of my favourites for you to play with.
It’s another bread recipe, fabulously simple and incredibly impressive!
The reason I love sharing my bread recipes with you, is because if you can make bread, you and your family will never go hungry.
This one’s also very inexpensive to make, particularly if you grow a few of the ingredients yourself, you can add lots of leftovers to it too (do go see my Fabulous Rubbish Flatbread recipe if you haven’t done so already) and it helps you realise that not all food comes from the shops; you ‘can’ be a little self-sufficient….ish…
Have fun with this recipe and do let me know how you get on!
Divine Beetroot Plaits
Bread making is really easy once you’ve got to grips with the basics and you can make good of any fruits and vegetables by adding them in some form or other to a simple bread recipe.
These plaited rolls are tasty, colourful and impressive, great fun to make with children and there’s a good likelihood your guests won’t have seen anything like them before! They liven up any table without dominating the meal.
This recipe makes about 15 rolls, or you could make it up one huge plait, just remember it’s slightly denser when done as a loaf.
2/3-cup warm water
1 cup grated raw beetroot
1 cup grated raw parsnip
1 finely chopped leek
3 ¼ cups bread flour
1 oz grated cheese
1 oz butter
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tspn sugar or honey
1 tspn easy blend dried yeast
A sprinkling of your favourite dried herb
Pour the water into a large bowl, check the temperature is definitely lukewarm, then add the yeast, honey/sugar and salt and agitate with your fingers until dissolved. Put a cloth over the bowl and leave somewhere warm while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Sweat your leek in melted butter over a medium heat for a few minutes then remove from the cooker to cool while you make the dough.
Add the flour to the water and bring the mixture together to form a springy dough ball; adjust slightly with more warm water or flour if necessary. Knead for a minute then divide the mixture into three bowls, making one ball slightly larger than the other two.
Add the beetroot to one, the parsnip to another and the cheese, herbs and leek to the larger ball of dough.
Bring together and knead each ball for a minute or two and do the beetroot ball last, or your hands will bleed pink juice into the other lines of plait! You may need to add a sprinkle more flour to the beetroot and parsnip doughs, as they are wet ingredients.
Cover and leave to prove for half an hour or for as long as you can stand waiting; remember, the longer you leave them, the more rolls you’ll have!
Once they’ve doubled in size, knock the doughs back gently, cut each ball into however many rolls you want to make and using a line of each of the flavours, plait them, pinching the end of the plait and tucking it under itself to smarten up both ends.
Place the rolls in regimented lines on a well-oiled baking tray, leaving two inches between each one, cover and place on the top of your warming oven for a final prove of 15 minutes or so, until they’re almost kissing.
Finally, cook in a hot oven for 7 minutes (this gives them a super boost of a rise), then open the doors to regulate the temperature, reduce the heat to moderate and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, place on a wire tray to cool and sprinkle lightly with flour for that ‘just bought from an artisan baker’ look.
TOP TIP: Place a baking dish of hot water in the bottom of your oven to create a wet heat to cook the rolls in; it gives them a gorgeous crust…