Carrot Bread, page 558, August 2015

This is the first “no-yeast quick bread” I have made out of this cookbook.  My bread machine at home doesn’t have a quick bread cycle, but mom’s does, so I decided to try a loaf while I was at her house.  We had gone to the store and I found some organic rainbow carrots (orange, yellow, white and purple.)  This recipe came to mind, so I picked them up.  The recipe describes this quick bread as cake-like and that it resembles a steamed pudding.

The ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:  4 large eggs, 1/2 cup walnut oil, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 cups lightly packed shredded raw carrots, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups bread flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt.  I started the quick bread cycle and let it go.

The recipe states that when the machine beeps at the end of the cycle, I needed to press stop and program the bake only cycle for another 15 minutes to finish baking.  The bread is supposed to be done when it shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan, the sides are dark brown and the top is firm when touched with a finger.  I really overthought this one.  I started with 10 minutes.  It still looked too damp, so I added another 5.  Then another 10, then ANOTHER 15.  I finally threw up my hands and declared the loaf a lost cause, swearing that I had wasted my time and ingredients (including those lovely carrots.)  Wise women, my mom and cousin, Michelle, encouraged me to have us each try a little before I tossed it out.

Thank goodness they did.  I somehow expected this to look and act like a loaf of yeast bread, forgetting that the author had already described it as akin to a steamed pudding.  It was fantastic.  We didn’t eat it in slices, rather in small dessert dishes with spoons.  It was like a warm carrot cake.  So tasty.  Thank you ladies for helping me rein in a totally needless panic attack.  Definitely a keeper.

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Carrot Bread with Crystallized Ginger, page 353 April 29, 2015

The other bread I am making for this weekend’s tea party is a carrot bread with crystallized ginger.  This one I will be making exclusively using the bread machine.  One nice thing about this bread is that there is no need to add sugar.  The carrots themselves are sweet enough and the bits of crystallized ginger will also add a hint of sweetness.  According to the recipe, the ginger will “melt into the bread and burst with flavor in your mouth.”  Sounds good, doesn’t it? Ingredients for this bread include fat free milk, pureed carrots, eggs, unsalted butter, bread flour, crystallized ginger, gluten, salt and yeast.  The recipe allows for the option of using baby food strained carrots, or pureeing your own.  Using a jar of baby food would be convenient, but because I can’t digest a lot of vegetables, I like to puree my own and keep them on hand for adding to soups, stews, sauces, meatloaves, and more.  I have no shortage of pureed vegetables on hand.  Because of that, this recipe has me thinking of other combinations I can try in the future, pureed broccoli and cheddar bread, spinach with bacon and nutmeg.  I am sure the possible combinations are endless and I will have plenty of time to come up with more. It looks like it is rising well, and what a pretty color! IMG_3799 Oh crumb (pun intended,) I’ve got another crater loaf.  It is still a really lovely color, though and smells just like fresh carrots. IMG_3800 IMG_3803 IMG_3804 As you can see from the pictures, even November thinks it is pretty in spite of the crater top.  (Please take note, she is on the windowsill behind the table, not ON the table.)  At least my friends at the tea party will appreciate the effort.  They love me for my sparkling wit and not my baking chops.  (Although I am certainly working on that.) Again, because I won’t be slicing into this until the party this weekend, I will have to update the post later with everyone’s opinion.

This was really delicious.  The carrot bread itself is tasty enough, but the sweet surprise bits of crystallized ginger put this one over the top.  One guest used “delicate” to describe it while another asked for the recipe.  (It’s coming, Melissa.)  This went well with our tea and a little butter.  I seem to remember seeing someone try it with the orange curd as well.