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Pretty in pink: beetroot bread August 21, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Bread, Vegetables.
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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!

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Comments»

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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