Saturday, 6 October 2012

Ironchef Challenge # 1: Beetroot Mini Cobs with Caramelised Beet & Onion Mayo

The colour peeping out from the slash I made before baking - so pretty!
Sauteed mushroom, kale, and caramelised beetroot & onion mayo in the mini cob
I love beetroot! Fresh beetroot that is, roasted, juiced, pickled, pureed...just don't give me a tin of Golden Circle slices. Too sugary and unbeetroot. So I was tickled the pink of beet upon discovering this week's Ironchef secret ingredient!

I baked today listening to Edith Piaf which didn't seem quite right with a German style bread - perhaps I should have been listening to Beethoven. But I digress. Being Oktoberfest, I thought it would be a good idea to do a pretzel sort of cob...but with - you guessed it - beetroot. Recipes I've tried to make pretzels with before seem to be lacking a bit on the sweet side, or too much salt, or not enough liquid, or just too small... so I used the juice to colour and subtly sweeten the bread.They turned out great, better than I expected. Not tasting of beetroot, just an earthy sweetness, and a beautiful colour. The pulp I reserved from juicing, and I caramelised with onion and cumin to make a relish to swirl into mayo.  We had these with some sauteed mushrooms, kale leaves, and a generous dollop of the beet mayo.  A good vego sausage patty or vegie burger would be pretty tasty too!  Now, if only I could figure out how to make beetroot beer...

Dough rising in bowl

Cob Ingredients (makes 6 mini cobs)
3 1/2 -4 cups bakers flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt plus extra tsp
1 cup  fresh beetroot juice (I used 2 large beetroot and got 1 1/4 cups) 
3/4 cup rice milk or water
3 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup bicarb soda
salt crystals (optional)

1. Heat the beetroot juice and rice milk (or water) until lukewarm. Add the oil, salt, and yeast, stir, and leave aside until mixture bubbles.
2. Make a well in the centre of 3/12 cups of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture, and with a wooden spoon, bring in flour to centre and mix. 
3. Turn out onto floured surface, and oil your hands (this prevents the dough sticking to you, plus drying out your skin!)
4. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a bit more flour if it is too sticky (when I made this I probably used closer to 4 1/4 cups flour because the humidity was so high).
5. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled in size. This may take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature. I set mine on top of a propagating heat mat and it took about 50 minutes. (You can put the oven on for five minutes, turn off, and then leave the door ajar with the dough inside to speed things up).
6. Punch down and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide dough into 6 portions and form into cobs. Place on a lined tray, and allow to rise again until double. 

I can't tell you how bright the dough was - the photo just doesn't capture it!

7. Turn on oven to 190C to preheat, and set a large saucepan of water on the stove to boil. Fill the saucepan about 2/3 full.
8. When water is boiling, drop in salt and bicarb - watch out it froths!
9. Carefully drop the cobs in one at a time to poach, about a minute and a half on each side. Remove carefully and set on greaseproof lined baking trays, a few centimetres apart. 
10. Slash the top in a cross with a sharp knife, and sprinkle salt crystals on top if you wish (the salt makes them a bit pretzel like).
11. Place in the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes, until dark brown, and set on a wire rack to cool.

Caramelised Beet & Onion Mayo- Ingredients
1 cup beetroot pulp
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup beetroot juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (you can make your own or shop bought)

1.On low heat, melt butter into oil in a heavy based pan.
2. Add cumin and onion, and stir gently until translucent. 
3. Add beet pulp, juice, vinegar, and sugar. 
4. Stir gently on low heat until caramelised and onion is very soft. Takes about 1/2 hour. Put into a clean jar and allow to cool.
5. When cool, stir into mayonnaise.

The colour of the bread - a beautiful deep pink!


  1. Those little cob rolls look amazing, the colour is fantastic!

  2. I love the color! Beets are a favorite of mine as well. These look fantastic. Now if they would jump of the screen into my house so I could have one for lunch it would be a perfect day. Thanks for sharing.

  3. These are *gorgeous*! I have a feeling they'll go very well with my beet burgers!

  4. This looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it out!

  5. Thanks for all the lovely comments! so great to share, and give and receive feedback from fellow vegheads!

  6. Beautiful Article - looks so delicious!

  7. these are just so so so lovely!