It’s probably fair to say that most kids love bread. To be honest, I love bread! It’s hard to avoid and is pretty much a staple in our house. So I got to thinking… why not throw some kind of veg into the dough to make it a little bit more nutritious and perhaps a little more colourful while I’m at it? Then I also wouldn’t feel quite so guilty handing my 9 month-old a fist-full to chew on while I finish making dinner, even if he also had some at lunch time!
I asked my 3 year-old what his favourite colour was (it changes fairly regularly). At the moment it’s “pink and blue and black”. I figured a pink loaf would be the better one to attempt, and hence, beetroot bread was born (ok, so apparently not a wholly novel idea, but this one is baby-friendly!)
One of the (many) things I don’t like about shop-bought bread is the high levels of salt, sugar and additives. Not ideal for anyone, but especially not for little tummies and tastebuds! There really is nothing like homemade bread; you know exactly what’s in it and it smells and tastes incredible.
I must have subjected my family to a hundred different versions of this recipe and in my attempt to make it salt-free, almost entirely put them off. With the addition of the dried rosemary, this loaf still has tonnes of flavour and is ideal for babies and young children. If you’re making for adults and older children we’ve put 1/4 tsp salt as optional for extra flavour, but it’s not compulsory! The result is absolutely delicious and hearty, with a crust that is soft enough for those delicate baby gums! This bread is full of wonderful colour and flavour (and is even a hit with people who swear they will never like beetroot!).
In my many attempts at this, I also tried to make this into a quick-bake bread without yeast (because, who on earth has time to bake bread and look after a baby!?), but the yeast option is definitely much better and results in a softer, more delicious loaf. One positive though is that the spelt flour in this recipe does shorten the proving time, as it causes the dough to rise faster and you can bake it as soon as it has doubled in size. So, no knocking back and re-rising needed here. That’s something at least!
We mostly eat homemade bread, but usually with the helping hand of that wonderful invention the ‘bread machine’. So, don’t be fooled into thinking that I spend my life baking. Now we’re into the swing of throwing everything in and putting it on timer overnight, it actually means that we save money and are totally in control over what goes in it. That said, baking by hand is fun and rewarding to do occasionally. So perhaps like us, this hand-crafted beauty of a loaf can become your alternative weekend go-to!
Happy baking! x
- In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast, water, chia and grated beetroot. Stir and then leave for about 10 minutes.
- Add the flour, rosemary, salt and sunflower seeds to the beetroot mix. Stir the dough to combine before moving onto a work surface generously dusted with flour.
- Kneed for around 10 minutes until very pink and the dough is soft and stretchy. Roll the dough into an oval shape and place on a lined baking tray (you can also sprinkle the baking paper with dry polenta to prevent the dough from sticking!).
- Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for about 40-60 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Immediately after dough has risen, remove the tea towel and bake in a preheated oven (180°C) for 35-40 minutes.
- Leave to cool slightly before serving. Delicious with hummus and avocado mash!