No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Chocolate and beetroot bread

200g strong white flour (or 50:50 white and wholemeal)
2 dessertspoons sugar - any sort
1 dessertspoon cocoa powder
1 medium or large cooked beetroot, grated
125ml lukewarm liquid including
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast
2 tbs olive oil

50-75g roughly chopped vegan chocolate 

1 teaspoon sugar and 2 of hot water for a sugar glaze

1. Place dry ingredients and the grated beetroot in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix them evenly. Place the yeast in a well in the flour, then pour the water over the yeast to start it dissolving and add the olive oil.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Stir the yeast, then the rest of the ingredients, with a table knife or similar, cutting through the dough as it forms. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – or until you get fed up!

4. Leave to prove for about an hour on your worktop, covered with a dry tea towel. Or place in an oiled plastic bag until you are ready for step 5.

5. Press the dough out into a circle on your worktop and sprinkle the chocolate over it. Roll the dough up, enclosing the chocolate and knead gently to distribute the chocolate through the dough.

6. Shape the loaf by pulling up the dough at the sides with your fingertips and pushing it down in the middle; do that all round the dough. This will have the effect of smoothing the underneath of the dough. Then turn it over and shape it into a round.

7. Leave to prove until it has risen appreciably. Then bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 15-20 minutes. It is done when it is browned underneath. If your oven is browning the top of the loaf too fast, cover with foil or baking parchment.

8. Place on a cooling tray and brush with a sugar glaze made with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons hot water.

The last one I made I used 110g of grated beetroot (just to finish up the pack). The resultant bread was soft and spongy – almost like a sponge cake in texture. When you think it only contains a little olive oil, it’s a healthy alternative to a Victoria sponge.

I've taken the comment from below and incorporated some chocolate into the bread - just lifts a little! :)


  1. Wish I could send you a photo. We had Chocolate and Beetroot bread in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago but whoever baked it used chunks of chocolate rather than cocoa powder. The bread itself was white.

  2. Not sure how that works, Geo, chocolate and beetroot bread and it was white! LOL.

    I've never tried putting lumps of solid chocolate in a cake - I'll have to try it. Thanks,

    My email address is in my profile page - I'd love to see any bread photo's you have!