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Pretty in pink: beetroot bread August 21, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Bread, Vegetables.

One thing I’m fascinated by is the history of food. How did people discover what was edible, and what wasn’t? And what about things that require a lot of preparation to make them edible? I really enjoy reading old cookbooks and imagining making all those recipes. This is why I love blogs like The Old Foodie, where nuggets of food history are served up daily.

When I saw the post about beetroot bread, I decided I had to give it a go. I wanted to see if substituting half the flour with beetroot would actually work – but I must admit I was more excited about the idea of ending up with pink bread. To start with, I weighed and then cut a beetroot into chunks, and boiled it until it was soft.

I ensured it was quite soft, before mashing it very well – “just as turnips are mashed for table”.

I had previously prepared Fitzwilliam, my sourdough starter, to form a sponge I could use for the bread. I mixed the sponge together with the beetroot and equal amount of flour. I admit I added some extra yeast, instead of just relying on the yeast in the sourdough sponge, because I wasn’t confident that the bread would rise sufficiently.

I kneaded everything together and was very happy to see how pink the dough was! It was studded with some of the pieces of the beetroot that I hadn’t mashed small enough. I found I had to add a bit more flour (and some seeds) so ended up with slightly more flour than beetroot, as the mixture was very wet.

I was pleased to see the dough rising – I had not made a large quantity, but enough to fill a loaf tin. I shaped it for its second rise – here’s what it looked like before baking.

It took about 30 minutes to cook. The recipe had stated that the bread turned brown so I was very excited to see that the final product was still a fine shade of pink!

The bread itself tasted like…bread – with a hint of sweetness I can only think came from the beetroot. But apart from the slight sweetness and the colour, it behaved just as normal bread does. I would be interested to try this with potatoes or turnips – although the result would not be as pretty. And next time I run out of flour I will think back to the middle ages and remember to try beetroot as a substitute!


1. Janet Clarkson - August 22, 2011

Marvellous! I am delighted that you tried this, and that the bread turned out pink!

2. barbara - August 23, 2011

Janet was telling me about your pink bread. I am keen to try making some now after seeingyours.

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