When I was a kid, we always had carrots in our garden. I remember pulling them out of the dirt, rinsing them off with the garden hose and devouring them like candy, without any regard for sharing the bounty with other members of the family. In comparison to our homegrown carrots, the woody, flavorless sticks they sold at the grocery store hardly seemed to be the same vegetable.
Yeah, I’m kind of a carrot snob. But while nothing can compare to a carrot fresh out of the ground, I’m pleased to report that store-bought carrots in Japan are actually pretty good. I like them so much that I always keep a few on hand for bento garnishes or carrot and vinegar salad.
My memory isn’t spectacular, though, and sometimes I end up bringing home a new bag when I already have a few in my fridge. This happened to me a couple of weekends ago. Fortunately, this weekend coincided with a party that was bound to end with a few overnight guests, so I made something I could feed them in the morning: a delicious, leavened carrot bread. The recipe is from P’s Bakery, but here it is in English!
- 200 g flour
- 100 g carrot
- 2 g dry yeast
- pinch of sugar
- 20 g honey
- 3 g salt
- 30 ml warm water
- 5-10 g unsalted butter or olive oil (optional)
- Combine yeast, sugar and warm water and let sit. (This step isn’t necessary if you’re using instant yeast.)
- Grate carrot into a bowl, and warm it for about 30 seconds in the microwave.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, grated carrot and yeast mixture. Add salt, turn dough out onto a flat, floured surface and knead for 15-20 minutes. If you are using butter or oil, knead dough for ten minutes, and then add oil little by little, kneading in between each addition.
- When the dough becomes even and pliable, form it into a large ball. Place it in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a wet rag, and allow it to rise in a warm place for 50-60 minutes.
- When the dough has risen, divide it into eight pieces and reform them into balls. Lay them on a flat, floured surface and allow them to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand, retaining their circular shape as much as possible. Sprinkle the dough with flour, cover again with a wet rag and allow them to rise for an additional 40-50 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (about 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Move the dough to an oiled baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls have puffed up and are just beginning to turn brown. Wrap them in a rag until they have cooled. Store in an airtight plastic container or bag.