4 – 5 beets 340ml water and beetroot-water, lukewarm 10g dry yeast 10ml sugar 10ml salt 20ml olive oil 500g cake flour 100g feta cheese, crumbed rosemary sprigs extra olive oil to drizzle
Peel the beetroot and cut it into chunks. Cover with water and cook until a sharp knife easily pierces the beet chunks. Remove the beetroot from the cooking liquid, but reserve the liquid. Mash enough of the soft beetroot so that you have 45ml of pulp. (Keep the rest of the cooked beetroot in the refrigerator and add it to a salad). Measure 340ml of the beetroot water in a jug. If you don’t have enough, fill it to measurement with tap water. Warm the water so that it is lukewarm. Add the yeast, sugar and olive oil to the water and stir to dissolve. Set aside. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed. Add the yeast mixture and the 45ml beetroot pulp and turn the mixer to medium speed. Knead for about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside to rise for 1 -2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and spray a 38cm X 25cm baking tray with non-stick spray. Transfer the dough to the baking tray and gently start spreading it by pushing down on it with the tips of your fingers. Keep pushing and prodding the dough until it fills the entire tray. Break the feta and spread over the dough. Add a few sprigs of rosemary and then drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the dough. Lightly cover the bread with a plastic bag and allow to rise for about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the yeast onto the water and give it a good stir. Add the flour, salt, beetroot and oil to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed for one minute. Add the yeast mixture and mix/knead for another 3 minutes. At this stage you want a dough that comes loose from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too soft to come together in a ball, add a handful of flour and allow your machine to incorporate it. Keep adding small amounts of bread flour until the dough just comes together in a kneadable dough. Add a few drops of vegetable oil to a clean mixing bowl and cover the sides and bottom with a thin layer. Now add the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap/a bag and put aside to rest for an hour. Preheat your oven to 210℃. Take the dough from the bowl, gently knock it back and shape it into a round. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover the bread with a clean tea towel and rest for another 20 minutes. Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.
If you would like to “decorate” your bread as in the image below, follow the following guidelines: Once you have knocked back the dough, cut about a third of the dough from the rest. Shape the larger quantity dough into a ball and place it in a small, deep cake tin. Brush the surface with a small amount of water. Roll the rest of the dough to a 1cm thickness and cut into strips about three centimetres wide. Roll each strip into a coil and place onto the dough ball. Stand for 20 minutes before baking.