Since I can’t make any chocolate chip cookies until Lent is over, I’ve been channeling my desire to bake into more savory things. On St. Patrick’s Day I made this soda bread again. It’s seriously one of my favorite breads ever, and of course I love that there’s less waiting involved because it doesn’t need to rise.
Last week I thought to bake something with carrots. My first idea was to bake an American-style banana bread (a “quick bread” that’s baked from a batter rather than a yeast dough) and include some carrots in the mix. J suggested, “Why don’t you just make a regular bread with carrots in it?” “Like a yeast bread?” Somehow that thought hadn’t even occurred to me, since all the recipes I’d found searching for “carrot bread” were of the quick bread variety. But J was able to find me a recipe in Finnish, so I willingly gave it a shot.
The recipe’s written in a short and simple style. It required milk, egg, yeast, honey (I used syrup), a touch of salt, oats (yay, I love oats in bread!), grated carrot, and flour. It bothered me slightly how imprecise the recipe is– it calls for “2 carrots” (big carrots? Small carrots? How much grated carrot should I end up with?), and “one packet of yeast” (I think the 12g packet I had is standard, but I can’t be sure). The dough was soft and sticky, but I think that was right since the recipe says to “pour the dough” onto the pan, which suggests that the soft dough is expected. It was quite a bit of dough that I shaped into a large disc. It didn’t rise very much, so we ended up with a pretty huge, low disc of carrot bread. It smelled amazing.
My first bite was a huge surprise. I expected it to be somewhat sweet because of the carrots, but it actually tasted cheesy! So weird and unexpected to find a flavor as if the bread had cheese baked into it. The inside was quite moist, which isn’t a bad thing, but next time I think I’d try to press more liquid out of the carrot shreds before adding them (once again, the recipe doesn’t mention anything about doing this). When eating the bread the next day, J also said it tasted quite yeasty — I think it was the yeasty/savory flavor that created the “cheese” illusion. So next time I might also cut down on the yeast, maybe using only 7 or 8 g instead of the whole 12g packet.
Despite wanting to make changes to the basic recipe, there was definitely nothing wrong with the bread. It was really good, and the soft moist center was contrasted by a nicely crispy top and bottom crust (especially if you toasted a wedge of it — so good!). And of course the carrot bits added a lovely color and some welcome nutrients to the bread. I think J and I are both looking forward to this plus other experiments with “vegetable breads” in the future!