Today, I looked through my fridge for inspiration, found a bag of neglected carrots, and decided to put an end to that! I went to my cookbook collection, pulled a bread-only cookbook, and found the perfect recipe: Carrot Ginger Bread. Maybe I subconsciously figured groundhogs eat carrots so in honor of Groundhog Day, I needed to make this bread. Mostly, though, it just sounded really good and I had the ingredients on hand.
The cookbook I used is called Breads from Betsy's Kitchen. I love it. It doesn't have all the glossy glamour of a James Beard Award winner; instead, it's a very homey, down-to-earth spiral bound cookbook with recipe after recipe of fun, adventurous flavored breads. While flipping through it for a carrot recipe, I also paused on a couple of other tempting recipes: Honey Curry Bread, Semolina Olive Bread, Rosemary Raisin Bread, Sundried Tomato and Caramelized Onion Bread, Sesame Cheddar Bread, and Maple Wheat Berry Bread.
Betsy says this Carrot Ginger Bread would make a great chicken salad sandwich. I might just have to take her up on that. Sounds fabulous!!!
Carrot Ginger Bread
Recipe by Betsy Oppenneer in Breads from Betsy's Kitchen
Makes 2 loaves.
2 scant tablespoons or 2 (1/4-oz.) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soft butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups peeled and finely shredded carrots
1 tablespoon ground ginger
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, honey, butter, salt, carrots, ginger and 3 cups flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
2. Gradually add flour 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
4. Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place into well-greased loaf pans. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
6. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
8. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.