Beetroot Rolls

Beetroot Rolls


I love bread – not that this is some ground-breaking revelation to you all. You only have to look at the huge number of yeast-based recipes on here to see that.

I also love adding stuff to bread. Again, no surprise there – my Ploughman’s Loaf was the first recipe I ever created myself, as opposed to tweaked, and it is still a favourite.

I got the inspiration for this recipe from some rolls I found in a local supermarket – the green one, in case you’re curious – which I thought I could improve. I was looking to achieve a rich, deeply-coloured bread, on the inside as well as the outside. The main ‘problem’, if you could even call it that, with beetroot bread is that whereas the outside of the bread is a gloriously bold burgundy, the inside crumb can be much paler. So I experimented with a few different approaches, and this was the most successful with ready-to-hand ingredients. This is a regular white bread dough, with a little vegetable oil for chew and the rest of the liquid coming from beetroot juice – not pureed beetroot, but juice in a carton. The colour this gives is deep and rich, inside and out, and without the blotchiness that using pureed cooked beetroot can sometimes produce.

The additions can be anything that takes your fancy. I’m very enthusiastic about contrasts in texture as well as flavour so I decided to go with dried fruit and nuts. The traditional nut paired with beetroot is walnut, and it does give a fantastic earthy richness, but once I managed to get the rich colour on the crumb as well as the crust, the only choice for me was pistachio: their bright green making a fantastic pop of colour against the purple dough.

For sweetness I tried a number of dried fruits, and ultimately opted for some seedless green raisins – not as sweet as regular raisins and they match the pistachios. Alternatively, neatly quartered prunes are a nice contrast.

Early combinations I tried included diced beetroot, but ultimately I decided that three added ingredients made the dough too crowded. If liked, I recommend using beetroot instead of the dried fruit. Similarly, omitting the classic pairing of cheese makes these rolls vegan friendly, but use 1cm cubes of your favourite feta or goat cheese instead of the fruit if liked.

You can, of course, shape your rolls into traditional rounds. However, this is tricky when there are additions to the dough as there are here – bits stick out and end up getting burnt in the oven – so an easier and quicker method is detailed below.

Beetroot Rolls

This recipe can be used for

500g strong whte bread flour
5g salt
20g fresh yeast or 1 sachet fast-action yeast
50ml vegetable oil
400ml beetrooot juice

80g shelled pistachios
80g green raisins/prunes (quartered) or 1cm cubes of cooked beetroot

  • Put the first five ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix using the dough hook for 10 minutes on slow, then 2 minutes on high. Alternatively, knead by hand.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and set to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. If your dough seems slow in rising, leave it for another 30 minutes.
  • Tip out of the bowl and pat gently to deflate. Shape into a rough rectangle about 2cm thick.
  • Sprinkle 2/3 of the nuts and fruit evenly over half of the dough, and fold over the other half to enclose.
  • Sprinkle over the remaining fruit and nuts over half of the dough, and fold over as before.
  • Gently pat the dough out with your hands until it is 3-4cm thick and cut into roll-sized pieces. I like to use a dough scraper and divide it into rough triangles.
  • Lay the rolls onto a floured baking sheet and cover with clingfilm. Set aside in a warm place to rise – 30-45 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 180°C,160°C Fan.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (25 if you use beetroot cubes, because of the extra moisture), turning the baking sheet around halfway through to ensure even colouring.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

One Comment on “Beetroot Rolls”

  1. Melanie says:

    Oh excellent, I shall make them. Your potato bread from your book “Great British Bakes” is a family staple. We adore it!

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