Grated pumpkin and beetroot are added to this traditional Irish soda bread for a lovely taste of fall. Added veggies give this soda bread an extra healthy profile.
Soda bread is made with baking soda and buttermilk as leavening agents instead of yeast. It’s absolutely delicious and is super easy and quick. It is soft and dense with a crispy and crusty exterior.
Soda bread is a traditional Irish bread, but recently I've decided to get creative with my soda breads.
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Soda Bread With A Taste Of Fall
The addition of pumpkin and beetroot may be a unique combination for bread, but trust me, these grated veggies make this soda bread ever so tasty.
This is a perfect bread for fall and a must-have recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner.
This recipe is for what I call Irish American fusion food, plus this bread will help you make the most of seasonal root veggies.
Their flavor is subtle and does not overpower the bread. It;s delicious served warm out of the oven with lashings of Irish butter and of course a hot cup of tea (Barry's tea, of course).
My Irish granny never saw the like of this soda bread in Ireland. I can just hear her saying, "What on earth are you up to with my soda bread recipe?"
But if granny was still with us, and could taste the lovely flavors of American fall in this soda bread, I think she would lick her lips and ask for a second slice. She definitely would slather it in creamy Irish butter.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Beetroot Soda Bread
Here's a quick list of the ingredients you will need for this tasty bread. You'll find exact quantities for one loaf in the recipe card at the end of this post. Double the quantities to make two loaves.
- all purpose flour
- baking soda
- grated pumpkin
- grated beetroot
Ingredient Notes: This recipe uses grated raw pumpkin rather than pumpkin puree. Using purée makes the soda bread dough to wet when it is added with the buttermilk to the dry ingredients.
As with all traditional Irish soda bread recipes there are no eggs used. The leavening agent used is baking soda and not baking powder. I do not add any cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or pumpkin spice to this dough, but feel free to experiment.
If you prefer a soda bread with raisins then try out my Irish raising soda bread recipe. This pumpkin bread recipe might be good with some dried cranberries or chopped pecans added, but we would be veering far away from what is traditional with these additions.
Some butter is used in the dough rather than a vegetable oil or canola oil, to create a bread with a soft crust.
Directions for Soda Bread
Here you'll find step-by-step photographic instructions for making this delicious soda bread.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius. It's important to have a hot oven ready for your bread as soon as it is mixed. Once the buttermilk and baking soda mix in the dough, their chemical magic begins.
A hot oven is key to move this rising process along. You don't want to have your bread ready for baking, but left waiting on the counter while the oven heats.
In a bowl whisk all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
If you prefer you can sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the bowl and then add the sugar.
Add in the butter and rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in pea-sized crumbs.
You can use a pastry cutter for this job if you wish but I like to use my fingers.
Squeeze any excess liquid from the grated beetroot and pumpkin.
Add them into the bowl, and mix everything properly. The flour should fully coat the veggie strands and help keep them separated.
Add the buttermilk and stir until a firm dough forms.
If your dough is a little too wet, simply add a little extra flour.
"Throw in an extra fist of flour," my granny used to say.
Knead it for about 30- 40 seconds until the dough is smooth. Don't over handle the dough or you'll end up with a tough bread.
Shape the dough into a large disc and place it on a prepared baking sheet. You can cook the bread in a greased loaf pan if you prefer. Or you can line the baking tray with parchment paper to be sure the bread does not stick.
You can grease the baking tray if you wish, but there usually is not need for this step.
Use a knife to cut a fairly deep cross on the top of the dough.
Why do you cut a cross on top of a soda bread?
My granny always told me we were letting the fairies out when we made this cut on top of our soda breads.
Other Irish people bless themselves upon making this cross-like indentation on top of the bread.
The purpose of this marking is to help release steam from the dough during the baking process.
For How Long Do You Bake Soda Bread?
Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust turns a nice golden brown.
When you think your bread is done, take it out of the oven and turn it over on the baking tray.
Tap the bottom with the back of a spoon and if it makes a hollow sound, it's baked.
I use my knuckle for this step, but that's not the safest method. There's a risk of burning your fingers when tapping the hot bread. I've been baking for so many years now, I think I have leather fingers.
If the bread does not sound hollow on testing, pop it back into the oven for 5 more minutes.
Some people stick a toothpick into the bread to see if it comes out clean, but I prefer the hollow tap test to see when it is done.
When it is cooked, transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
My mom and grannies always wrapped their soda breads in a clean dish towel as it cooled. This helps to soften the crust.
This bread is at its very best served warm, sliced and spread with lashings of Irish creamy butter. It's the best butter in the world in my book.
Storing Soda Bread
Soda bread does not store very well. It's nicest when eaten within a day or two of baking.
It's at its very best when it has cooled a little but is still slightly warm after baking.
You can store this pumpkin beetroot soda bread for 2 days at room temperature.
You can put it in an airtight container and keep it for upto 5 days in the refrigerator, but it will become a little more dense and tough as the time passes.
It freezes well and can be kept for around 3 months in the freezer.
Recipe Card and Video for Pumpkin Soda Bread
Here's a short video summarizing the steps for this recipe.
Here's a free printable recipe card for this Irish soda bread with a root vegetable twist.
You can choose to print it with or without the step-by-step instruction photographs.
Pumpkin Beetroot Soda Bread
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup pumpkin grated
- ½ cup beetroot grated
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces butter cold and cut into cubes
- Preheat oven to 400 F or 200 C. In a bowl whisk all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
- Add in the butter and rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in pea-sized crumbs.
- Squeeze any excess liquid from the grated beetroot and pumpkin and add it into the bowl, mix everything properly.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until a firm doughforms.
- Knead it for about 30- 40 seconds until the dough is smooth. Shape the dough into a large disc and place it on abaking tray.
- Use a knife to cut a cross on the top of the dough. Bake it for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust turns a nice golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Wrap in a clean dish cloth as it cools to help soften the crust.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy bread baking to all! I hope you enjoy the subtle pumpkin flavor of this fusion bread.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade