Make Ahead

No-Knead Beet Focaccia

March 30, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Carolina Gelen
  • Prep time 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 10
Author Notes

The prettiest focaccia you ever did see! This bright pink dough comes together in a matter of minutes, because there’s no kneading involved. The structure and the flavor develops overnight in the fridge while you sleep. Beet juice is a natural coloring agent, turning bread a deep, beautiful crimson. (Don’t worry, you don’t need a juicer. A blender does the trick!) The juice also adds a sort of sweet, very pleasant earthiness to the focaccia, which works well with a fresh cheese dip, olive oil and vinegar, or fruit jam. Before baking, top the dough with flaky salt, or take it to the next level with bonus toppings like torn green olives, sliced pickled beets, really whatever you want. Psst: Because we’re working with natural food coloring, the exact shade of your bread might look a little different than mine. That’s okay! It’ll be delicious no matter what.
Carolina Gelen

What You'll Need
  • 500 grams (about 4 medium) organic beets, washed, peeled, and chopped
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) water, plus more as needed
  • 7 grams (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 15 grams (about 1 tablespoon) white vinegar
  • 540 grams (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 12 grams (2 teaspoons) kosher salt
  • Flaky salt
  1. Blend the beets with the water, then juice this mixture using a cheesecloth, sieve, or kitchen towel. Measure out 400 grams of beet juice.
  2. Heat the juice in a microwave or saucepan over low heat until lukewarm. Pour the juice into a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top, and mix until dissolved. Add the oil, sugar, and vinegar to the bowl, and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add the flour and salt, then roughly mix the dough until there are no more visible dry spots. The dough should have a sticky consistency.
  3. Drizzle oil all over the dough and inside the bowl. Roughly shape the dough into a ball. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
  4. Drizzle some oil in a 13.75x10.5-inch (or similar) baking dish. Take the dough out of the fridge and punch it down. Transfer the dough to the oiled baking dish and gently pat it into the dish. Cover the dish and let the dough proof for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough is almost fully proofed, heat the oven to 450°F (235°C). If you have a fan in your oven, turn that on as well.
  6. When the dough is ready, drizzle it with oil, then oil your hands too. Dimple the dough using your fingers. Sprinkle lots of flaky salt (and any other toppings of your choice) on top.
  7. Place the focaccia on the middle rack of your oven. Place an empty baking sheet on the top rack—this will protect the focaccia’s vivid color, so don’t skip this step or you’ll end up with a duller hue. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the bottom of the bread looks dark and crispy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Carolina is a resident at Food52. She's also one of the hosts of Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure, our YouTube show where our Food52 readers pick the ingredients and techniques for a brand new recipe. Carolina recently immigrated to the U.S. from Transylvania, a place she spent most of her life. She continues to get inspired by the classic Romanian and Hungarian foods she was raised on, creating approachable, colorful, and fun recipes. For more cooking ideas and candid moments, check out her Instagram @carolinagelen.

17 Reviews

Franca May 2, 2022
This was really quite tasty. Mine remained red, but nowhere near as vibrant as the picture.
Lauren D. May 15, 2021
Would this work with Beet juice?
Maeva G. April 10, 2021
Hi, I've been baking focaccia for years and was very excited to try yours! However, as mentioned in the reviews, maybe you should indicate more clearly that you'd need raw, uncooked beets to get that colour. It wasn't clear so I used cooked beets and it was not pink at all :)
Sydney April 6, 2021
Hey, just made this dough. Is it possible for me to not refrigerate and just leave the dough in the bowl at room temperature until it doubles in size? My kitchen is pretty warm and i can’t leave it in the fridge for only 12hrs. I’ll have to leave it for longer, in which case I won’t be able to punch it down. Your reply would be most appreciated😊
Mary M. April 4, 2021
I decorated mine with olives, parsley sprigs and chives. Very tasty and beautiful. Also used two cake pans and gave one to a friend. Keeper recipe. Thanks!
Adriana M. April 3, 2021
Hi! I made it today, was really nice, I believe I left the dough resting too much but the flavor its quite nice, thanks!
burntpaint April 1, 2021
Idk what I did wrong cause the inside turned a dull yellow/ocre colour ,but other than that it was really good and fluffy !!
Joy S. March 31, 2021
Hi Carolina! So I made this tonight and it turned out amaaazing! I did use cooked beets, roasted. But the color is still nice. I added rosemary for topping. Now how do I keep it so it doesn’t dry out? I mean especially the top? Since I won’t be eating it all in one sitting although it’s definitely tempting... haha
Madison R. March 30, 2021
Gorgeous. The flavor was earthy and delicious. I made sure to get the 400g of beet juice by adding water to the pulp and letting it sit before straining again. The color stayed vibrant in the oven with the protective cover of the pan. Keeping this recipe on hand for any and every occasion!
emsamsterdam March 28, 2021
Nice recipe but the flavour is a bit “dull”. I would definitely add more salt to the dough next time. The raw dough had a lovely red color, but after baking it was simply golden (in- and outside).
Carolina G. March 30, 2021
Thank you for the honest review! Did you place the baking sheet over the focaccia in the oven? If you did and the color didn’t last, I’d suggest lowering the temperature of your oven to 200-215°C. Maybe your oven gets hotter than it should be. Hope this helps :)
Joan S. March 27, 2021
I think this is a great recipe, esp. for Spring/Easter! How fun!
Carolina G. March 30, 2021
I’m happy to hear that!
Jenny March 27, 2021
Hi! Could you use cooked beets? I have some precooked packaged beets (not pickled, just boiled and peeled I think) and was wondering if that would work!
Carolina G. March 30, 2021
I think you might be able to, but the color of the dough won’t be as vibrant :)
Patrick M. March 26, 2021
Can only dream of mine looking this good! Will report back, though!
Carolina G. March 26, 2021
I believe in you, Patrick!