Beetroot & Sunflower Seed Bread

I looked at my lovely crop of thriving beetroot growing in the garden and I wondered if I could come up with something slightly different for it. My father planted the seeds and gave me the seedlings when they were about an inch high. Now look at them!

There is always something incredibly satisfying about growing something, harvesting it and then making something delicious with it.

We often have pre-conceived ideas about how certain things taste and how they should be prepared and only if they meet our particular set of criteria will we eat them. Although the idea of beetroot bread was not really something that I’d considered before, I could not help myself .. the thought of making bread which had a hot pink dough was just too much for me to resist. I had to make it.

Look at this - there is no food colouring in there, that’s just how it is! The colour of the dough is really amazing - I could not take my eyes off it when I was kneading it. It was like squishing a giant raspberry marshmallow. I had playdough flashbacks and felt the urge to make all kinds of funny things with it.

I’m really glad I was brave enough to try this bread, because we all loved it. As long as you like beetroot you’ll enjoy the bread. The bread has a slight beetroot taste, but certainly nothing overpowering and in fact quite complementary to sandwhich fillings. I made a second loaf very soon after we devoured the first, to use as sandwich bread for the next day. While beetroot is in season this bread will be made regularly in our house.

There was no recipe which really drew me to it that I could find online or in my books, so I came up with something based around this one here at Travel Flower Children.
The bread has a soft crust rather than a crisp one.

Beetroot & Sunflower Seed Bread

Please note: The quantities of water and flour are very much approximate in this recipe, because it will depend on the size of your beetroot and just how juicy it is. Don’t be scared to add a little more flour if you need to. This bread is very forgiving.

The sunflower seeds are a wonderful addition, they add some texture to a very soft bread.

Tip: Use rubber gloves to cut and grate your beetroot - or you will have stained hands.

  • 1 medium beetroot peeled and grated raw
  • 2 tspns of sugar
  • 1 Tblspn of olive oil
  • 1 tspn of salt
  • 300 mls of warm water - just slightly warmer than skin temperature
  • 1/2 cup of hulled sunflower seeds or green pumpkin seeds.
  • one package of instant yeast (8 grams instant yeast- 25g/0.6 oz compressed yeast- 2 1/4 tspns active dry yeast)
  • between 500g/16oz and 700g/1 1/2 lbs of flour plus more for the work surface
  • Milk or water to glaze
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle on the top if wished.

Place your warm water, oil, and sugar in a bowl with your yeast and leave until foamy (about 5 mins). Then add your sunflower seeds, grated beetroot, flour and salt

If you are using instant yeast you can just mix it in with your water, oil and sugar and add your other ingredients adding flour and salt last.

Stir together initially with a spoon (this is so you do not get bright red hands) until your dough starts to come together. Tip out on the work surface and knead together to form an elastic dough - about 10 minutes kneading. If your dough is very sticky do not be afraid to add more flour while you are kneading. Your dough should be slightly sticky, but still be able to be kneaded with relative ease.
You can use a Kitchen aid for the kneading if you wish, but you will miss out on the playdough experience if you do that!

Set aside in a warm place in a covered bowl to rise until doubled in size - roughly 40 mins to an hour.

Punch down dough and form into the shape of your choice.

Leave to rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes. When well risen brush with a little milk or water and sprinkle black sesame seeds on the top if wished.

Bake in a 200C/392F oven.

If you choose to braid your bread into a long loaf it will take roughly 20 minutes cook time. If you place your dough in a loaf tin it will take closer to 40 minutes to cook through to the centre of the loaf. Your cook time will vary depending on the shape.
Test for doneness by tapping on the bottom of the loaf it will sound hollow when cooked.

Leave your bread to cool on a rack and slice when cool. This is a soft-ish loaf, if you try to cut it when it’s too hot it will be doughy.
The sunflower seeds add a fantastic texture to the bread, they were a perfect addition.

This was quite an experience making this, the dough was so wonderfully pink, and each person that came into the kitchen uttered some kind of exclamation depending on their age - ranging from “Cool Mummy!” to “Holy *&\^%# how did you get the dough that colour?!”

I love this bread!