Try this wonderful carrot bread recipe from our editor, who is one of the most creative cooks around. She created something that is a cross between a carrot cake and a normal loaf of yeast risen bread. The result is outstanding. It is difficult to describe, since there is nothing quite like it. Bake yourself a loaf and try a slice today!
Almost everyone has had carrot cake and this gives them expectations when eating it. This once healthy dessert is now loaded with sugar and white flour. It is then smothered in a sugary icing further degrading its nutrtional status. I have made healthy versions of this cake in the past, but most people frown upon changes to such a well-known dessert. My solution was to make something entirely different: a loaf of carrot bread. No one expects over-the-top sweetness from a loaf of bread, so most people are pleasantly surprised by the natural sweetness of the carrots which gets a small boost from a little bit of honey.
Do a quick search and you will find a lot of cake-like recipes for carrot bread. My recipe is different. I use yeast and let the carrot bread rise like a traditional bread. Not only does a traditional yeast rise give the bread a different (and delicious) flavor, but it also makes it light and tender even though I use whole grain flours. Using walnut oil instead of a solid shortening (such as butter or margarine) keeps this bread moist at room temperature.
I like to bake my carrot bread into a small loaf in my toaster oven. There are no preservatives in this carrot bread, so I don't like to make a lot of it at once. I bake the loaf with chopped walnuts on the top. The close proximity of the heating elements in a toaster oven beautifully browns the walnut topping. You can skip the walnuts if you aren't a fan of nuts, or replace them with sunflower seeds to still keep that wonderful, crunchy topping.
Ingredients for One Small Loaf Of Carrot Bread
1 cup of whole grain oat flour
1 cup of whole grain wheat flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of grated carrot (don't peel first – that skin is full of fiber and nutrients)
1/4 cup plus one teaspoon of walnut oil
Walnut oil as needed to grease the bowl and loaf pan
1/4 cup plus one teaspoon of honey
1 small egg, beaten
1 package (or 1 tablespoon) of active dry yeast
1/3 cup of warm, but not hot, water (about 100 degrees F)
1/4 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
Put the active dry yeast in a glass with the warm water and the teaspoon of honey. Set it aside till it gets bubbly; this should take about 5 minutes.
Combine the two whole grain flours, the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Use a whisk to mix well. This will both combine and aerate the ingredients.
Combine the grated carrots, the 1/4 cup of walnut oil, the 1/4 cup of honey and the beaten egg. Mix well.
Combine the carrot mixture, flour mixture and the bubbly yeast mixture. Mix well and knead into a soft dough. You can do this by hand or with a stand mixer or food processor. Place the kneaded dough into a greased bowl (use the walnut oil to grease the bowl,) flipping it over to coat both sides. Cover the carrot bread dough and let it rise in a warm, dark place until it doubles in size.
Punch the carrot bread dough down then form it into a small loaf. Place the dough into a greased 5 x 3 3/8 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan (use the walnut oil to grease the pan.) Let rise until almost doubled in size. Lightly brush the loaf with the teaspoon of walnut oil, being careful not to deflate the dough. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top.
Bake the carrot bread your preheated toaster oven at 375 degrees F. The carrot bread is done when tapping the loaf produces a hollow sound; this should take about 40 minutes. Let the carrot bread cool completely before slicing or the bread will not set properly.