Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread

October 20, 2023

This Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread is a creepy take on my small batch focaccia recipe. Its pinkish “brain” color comes from using beet juice, not food coloring!

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Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread on wooden board with spider on top. Skeletal hands reach for bread while pumpkin and cauldron sit in background.

Being a content creator often means planning things way in advance.  So when I made a batch of focaccia bread for my sister and brother-in-law in August, I was already getting inspired to make a creepier version for Halloween.  As I was working with the dough, I realized that the bubbly, indented texture reminded me of something – a brain.

Yup.  That’s how my brain works when we’re in spooky season mode!

The next thing I had to figure out was how to turn the dough into a pinkish-red color.  I’m not a big fan of using food coloring.  I try to avoid it.  Thinking of how I could naturally make a “brain” color, I decided to try using beets.

Top view of half of Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread sitting on wooden board.

The beets not only give the bread the perfect “brainy” color, but they also add the subtlest earthy sweetness to the bread.  Using my Small Batch Focaccia Bread recipe as my guide,  I made a deliciously disgusting looking loaf of bread that’s perfect for Halloween!

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread

The good thing about this focaccia bread recipe is that you don’t have to let the dough rise overnight.  It can be made the same day.  Unlike the other loaves I’ve made, I left this bread pretty plain so it would resemble a brain.

Beet juice in a glass measuring cup.

First, I needed to prepare my beets.  You can skip this step by using bottled beet juice, but since my father-in-law was growing beets, I used fresh.  I blended fresh beets with water and then strained the juice and set it aside.

Beet juice, honey, and yeast in a metal mixing bowl.

We’re going to use the juice in place of water.  So now we’re going to heat the juice in a microwave-safe cup.  Place the juice into a mixing bowl and add yeast and honey.  Mix and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast starts to look foamy.

Flour, beet juice, honey, and yeast in metal mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup of flour and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Stir just until the flour has been incorporated into the mixture. Then, allow it to sit for another 5 minutes.

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread dough forming in metal mixing bowl.

Stir in 1 cup of flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Keep stirring until a dough forms (use a mixer with a dough hook).  The dough will be very sticky in texture.

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread dough in an oiled metal bowl.

Oil a large bowl and scrape the dough into it.  Cover and allow it to rise for an hour.

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread dough dimpled in pan to look like a brain.

Now, we’re going to preheat the oven to 450 degrees and coat an 8″ round pan with olive oil.  Scrape the dough into the pan and gently stretch it out.

Using your fingertips, make a line down the center of the dough and dimple the sides so it resembles a brain. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with sea salt and garlic powder.  Cover and let the dough rise 20 minutes.

Close up photo of Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread on wooden board. Skeletal hands reach into photo and pumpkin sits in back.

Bake the bread for 18-20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.  Then, allow it to cool on a wire rack before slicing.  Serve or store in plastic wrap at room temperature.

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread

Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beet juice
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Microwave beet juice until warm, about 20-25 seconds. Pour into mixing bowl with yeast and honey. Stir and let sit 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. Add 1 cup flour and 2 tbsps. olive oil. Stir until flour has been fully incorporated into mixture. Allow to sit for another 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the last 1 cup of flour and 1/4 tsp. of salt. The dough will be very sticky in texture.
  4. Then, oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a lid or kitchen towel and allow to rise 1 hour.
  5. After dough has risen for 1 hour, coat an 8" round pan with the rest of the olive oil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  6. Place dough into the pan and use your fingers to stretch it out. Then, use your fingertips to dimple the dough to resemble a brain.
  7. Drizzle dough with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and garlic powder.
  8. Place a towel over the pan and allow the dough to rise 20 minutes. The dough will puff up a bit.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Carefully remove focaccia from pan and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve, or store in plastic wrap at room temperature.
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Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread sliced on wooden board. Skeletal hand reaches in view of photo.

Once you get the hang of focaccia baking, it’s relatively easy to make!  And this creepy version adds a fun touch to the Halloween season.  Serve it with Spooky Spaghetti and Meatballs or toast and eat it with butter for breakfast.

Did you make this Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!

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Halloween Brain Focaccia Bread pinnable image.

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