Monday, November 19

Recipe: Colorful Carrot Herb Rolls and a Beautiful Bread Book for Beginners

Packed with carrots and perfect for the autumn (or spring!) table.

Some of my personal goals for this year included delving into the numerous (and mostly unused) cookbooks on my shelves, baking new kinds of breads, and making much better use of all the beautiful herbs in my kitchen garden.

I've been doing okay, but with this new recipe I hit the personal goal jackpot. It's a variation of the carrot bread in Bread: Artisan Breads from Baguettes and Bagels to Focaccia and Brioche by authors and cooking instructors Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno (he's French, she's Italian).

I've been reviewing this book, and my opinion of it can be summed up in one word: wonderful. Wait, make that two words: wonderful and inspiring. This is the second recipe I've made so far, and the first bread, a round Italian Rosemary Raisin Loaf, is as pretty as it is delicious.

Here's a little blurb from the book jacket, and it's all true:

Bread mixes delicious recipes with essential techniques to provide the home cook with practical reference and inspiration. From mixing and shaping to proofing and glazing—each stage of the bread-making process is clearly explained, with problem-solving tips and a complete illustrated guide to key ingredients and equipment to help you succeed. Bread's step-by-step demonstrations of the principles and practices of bread-making will give you the confidence and skills to try its tantalizing range of over 100 breads.

If you learn best by looking at pictures, then this is definitely the book for you because it's packed with gorgeous, full-color photos. And while it's a perfect book for beginners (I already know at least one budding bread baker who'll be receiving a copy for Christmas), I think many experienced bakers would also enjoy it.

I've already discovered all sorts of handy tips and useful nuggets of information, and there are several more breads I'm planning to make, including the Hungarian Potato Bread, Dark Chocolate Bread (1¼ cups of cocoa powder!), Swedish Dill Bread (made with cream cheese), and the Prune and Chocolate Bread ('a deeply indulgent loaf, chock-a-block with juicy prunes and melted chocolate').

There's also an intriguing recipe for a straight dough (as opposed to sourdough) Pane con Pomodori e Cipolle Rosse (Tomato and Red Onion Bread) which looks similar to the Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread I wrote about last month.

One of the nice things about it is that many of the breads start with the same basic recipe and build on it, which means trying all sorts of different breads suddenly becomes much less daunting.

Variations on the same recipe are also often given. For example, you can take the American multi-grain bread and turn it into sunflower and honey bread, cracked grain bread, or shape it into rolls. The pita bread recipe includes a whole-wheat version as well as instructions on how to make Lavash (Armenian Flat Bread).

A new holiday tradition?

Farmgirl Susan's Carrot Herb Rolls
Makes sixteen 3-inch rolls — Adapted from Bread: Artisan Breads from Baguettes and Bagels to Focaccia and Brioche

**Click here to print this recipe**

The carrot bread recipe this is adapted from came from the chapter in Bread called Flavored Breads, and what caught my eye was its use of raw shredded carrots. Other variations included are: spinach bread, beet bread, chili bread, onion and caraway bread, and herb bread (which didn't include the carrots).

First I made the plain carrot dough, shaping half into a round loaf and the rest into rolls. The second time around I dove into the herb garden first, emerging with fistfulls of fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme which I tossed into the mix. I also substituted 1 cup of white whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the bread flour.

The result? Flavorful, healthy, autumn-colored rolls that I think would be a welcome and interesting addition to any holiday table. They have a soft but substantial crumb and a chewy crust that crisps up nicely when reheated. They also freeze beautifully. You can really taste the carrots, and a taste-tester friend I gave some to reported that they're great with goat cheese.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients; they really do make a difference. At around a dollar a pound and readily available, organic carrots are a bargain. Look for organic flours in the bulk sections of natural food stores.

I highly recommend investing in a couple of heavy duty commercial rimmed baking sheets. At less than $14 each, they're one of the best kitchen deals around. Treat them well—I usually line mine with sheets of unbleached parchment paper, which is wonderful stuff—and they'll last for ages. I've been using the heck out of some of mine for 20 years for everything from baking scones to roasting Brussels sprouts, not to mention baking thousands of cookies.

3 cups organic bread flour (15-3/8 oz, 437 g)
1 cup organic white whole wheat flour (5 oz, 143 g)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) instant yeast
1½ cups warm water (12 oz, 335 g)
2 Tablespoons organic butter, melted (1 oz, 28 g)
2¼ cups organic carrots, finely shredded (13-7/8 oz, 380 g)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (3/8 oz, 10g)
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme
2½ teaspoons (12 ml) salt

At first it may seem like there are too many carrots. There aren't!

Mix the whole wheat white flour, bread flour, and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and melted butter. Stir until combined. Mix in the carrots, parsley, rosemary, and thyme and stir until a soft sticky dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 5 minutes, sprinkling on a little more bread flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface.

Kneaded dough read for a rest (autolyse).

Cover dough with bowl and let rest 20 minutes (this rest period is called the autolyse).

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead for another 5 minutes, until the salt is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and still slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

It's so easy to see if the rising dough has doubled in size.

Put the dough in a clear, straight-sided food grade plastic container with a snap-on lid and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours. I mark the height of the unrisen dough and the doubled height on the side of the container with a felt tip pen (it comes off when scrubbed with a sponge). You could also use a piece of tape.

The ideal temperature for rising dough is about 70 to 75 degrees F. If the air is cooler, you can use warmer water when mixing the dough or simply let it rise longer (which will actually improve your finished bread).

An instant read thermometer, like the one you can see poking into my dough in the photo above, is an inexpensive, handy little item that is extremely helpful when baking bread. Use it to check the temperature of your ingredients (water, milk, even flour) before adding them. Then use it to check the temperature of the dough while it's rising.

You can even check the air temperature in your kitchen by putting the thermometer in a glass of room temperature water (this is also a good way to accurately check the temperature inside your refrigerator).

You may be surprised at just how much such a small investment will change your kitchen experiences. Once you start using one, you'll probably wonder how you ever lived without it. These thermometers are called "instant," but it does take a few seconds to get a reading. There are also digital versions available, but I've never used one.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down by pressing down with your knuckles into the center of the dough. Turn the dough out of the container onto a lightly floured work surface, then let it rest for 10 minutes.

Shaped rolls ready for proofing.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces, about 3 ounces/84 grams each. To shape round rolls, press down on the pieces to expel any air bubbles. Cup the palm of your hand over each piece and roll it over an unfloured surface until it forms a smooth ball.

If you don't want your finished rolls to end up touching each other, simply space them farther apart on two baking sheets. Either bake both sheets at once, or set the second one in the refrigerator or someplace cool while the first one bakes. Alternatively, you can place the dough balls closer together and in a circle to make decorative pull-apart rolls.

Risen and ready for the oven.

Place the rolls on a heavy duty baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper.

Sprinkle rolls lightly with flour and cover with a tea towel. Proof until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

About 20 minutes before baking, heat oven to 400 degrees (205C).

For a light shine and crisp baked crust, brush rolls with lightly salted water immediately before baking. I use a silicone pastry brush.

Perfect for mini sandwiches, too.

Bake in preheated oven until the tops are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze. If desired, reheat at 350F (175C) for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. The crust will crisp right back up.

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes (including several other bread recipes) in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the crazy for carrots foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres.


  1. As usual, your post is full of good info, a tip on a great book (I'll be looking at that one), and a wonderful recipe. I love the color of those rolls! Totally harvest time.

    Now, if you have the time to respond, I'm totally at a loss as to how to work with the Year in Bread blog. I missed finding out about it until recently. There don't seem to be any archives that I can find or any "previous" or "next" links. Am I missing something? Entirely possible. But I'd love to run through the whole year, and I can't figure out how.

    Also, have you done a pan de mie or pullman loaf? If not, will you be? I love tea parties, and you can't beat that for the sandwiches.

    Thanks for this recipe. Leftover turkey sands will look great on these rolls. Mmmm. Especially with a nice bit or ruby jewelled cranberry sauce in there. Lovely.

  2. Every time I look at these I swear they are the next thing I must bake.


    If you go to the top level of A Year in Bread ( and scroll down a screen or two, there are monthly links in the sidebar. I highly recommend reading the earliest posts (before we got to pizza) to get a feel for what we are doing.

    btw, I thought there were more obvious archive links but it is a bit obscure. Thanks for pointing it out! I'll have to drop Kevin a note.

  3. The Instant Read thermometer looks an awful lot like my meat thermometer. Is there a difference?
    These look so good: I must grow basil and rosemary on my deck again next summer.

  4. Inspiring recipe - I'm going to try it!

  5. Thank you, kitchenmage! I see where you mean, and I feel totally stupid. But now I can go through from the beginning and not miss anything.

  6. Hi ZaZa,
    I love the color of these rolls, too. I think they would make wonderful leftover turkey sandwiches.

    Yesterday after I posted the article, I was even thinking that you could bake the dough in a loaf and use it to make stuffing! Maybe with some fresh chopped sage in there (and maybe without the rosemary).

    I'm glad kitchenMage was able to pop in here and help with your question. We were supposed to have a list of links to each individual recipe post in the sidebar at A Year In Bread, but it's still on the To Do List.

    In the meantime, there are the monthly archives in the left sidebar like km mentioned. In addition, I included links to 17 A Year In Bread posts (as well as 11 Farmgirl Fare bread posts) in this post. Enjoy!

    As for pan de mie and pullman loaves, we haven't done either of those yet. I'll have to add them to the Possiblities List--I, too, love tea parties! : )

    Hi km,
    Whatever would I do without you? ; )

    Hi Daisy,
    You can definitely use this instant-read thermometer for meat you're cooking on the grill, on the stove, or in the oven. But what you don't want to do is put your thermometer in the oven because the plastic face will melt.

    Yes! You must grow basil and rosemary again next summer. And if you have a sunny spot in the house, you might be able to keep a pot of rosemary going all year long. It can be a little iffy, though. I used to bring a pot of rosemary inside each year and it would flourish then die for no apparent reason. I had it near the woodstove, though, and although rosemary does like heat, it might have been a bit much.

    Last year I finally took the plunge and transplanted a pot of rosemary into one of the raised beds in the greenhouse. It took off and survived outside temps well below zero just covered with floating row cover, plus an old bed sheet and quilt on the really cold nights. And on the really, really cold nights, I put a little radiator type space heater in there on low.

    The English thyme, lemon thyme, and sage also all survived the winter and then took off in the spring.

    There's nothing like fresh herbs! : )

    Hi Berlinbound,
    Great to hear from you. I bet you'll really like these rolls.

  7. Susan, these are just stunning! And I'll bet they are, as you say, absolutely phenomenal with goat cheese. I'm thinking I'll be making these to bring to my sister's this Thursday! I'll give you credit, don't worry ;) Happy Thanksgiving if I don't talk to you before then.

  8. Ok, this is not bready, but I just had to tell you that my Dutch Oven arrived yesterday and I bet the guy down the street was able to hear me squeak and squeal over it. It’s soooooooooo beautiful and lovely and shiny and RED and BIG and, ack, I freakin’ love it. I was angling for a Le Creuset, but now that I’ve got this Lodge in my hands I get to confess that it’s always bugged me that the Le Creusets have a plastic lid handle. Anyway, yeesh, I could gush more but really this is just a huge thank you for saving me from the fate of a plastic handle and a much bigger dent in my wallet.

  9. Farmgirl-
    I've decided I must order the book and the pans - both for myself and my daughter (just turned 16 and wants to be a pastry chef)!
    But I need your help. I ordered 2 books and 2 sets of pans (4 items)...but how do I get the 4 for 3 promotion? Is there a code?

  10. I saw this carrot bun recipe and I just have to try it! At first I thought the looked a bit scaery with the bits of green parsley showing through, but they taste great! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Hi Amanda,
    I know I got this recipe posted late and figured most people already have their Thanksgiving menus planned, but I was hoping these rolls might end up gracing someone's holiday table besides mine! : )

    Hi Heather,
    LOL, I love it! Gushing is always welcome. I could feel your enthusiasm and almost hear your squeaking and squealing. ; )

    I'm so glad you're happy with your new Lodge enamel Dutch oven. I was so thrilled when I saw they were on sale for such a great price. Yes, that handle on the lid is really gorgeous. I certainly hope you enjoy cooking in it as much as you enjoy looking at it! Thanks so much for taking the time to write.

    Hi Audrey,
    So your daughter wants to be a pastry chef? How exciting is that?! Think of all those samples you'll have to try. . . ; )

    I know you'll love the books and the pans. As far as the 4-for-3 promotion at Amazon, the price of the 4th free item will automatically be deducted from your total at checkout (I know it works because I placed an order). But unfortunately the Bread book isn't included in the promotion. Sorry for any confusion.

    For more info on the promotion, you can go to the page with the baking sheets (click here) and just under the price you'll see a bright green $ sign with a link that says "Special Offers Available." Click on that link and it'll tell you how the promotion works.

    As far as finding more items in the promotion, the other day I ended up on a page that had links to everything included (something like 100,000 items), but I have no idea how I got there!

    I do know that several other items I've recommended over the past couple of years are in the 4-for-3 offer, including these items, which should all last for years and years if you treat them right: (just click on each item below for the Amazon link)

    --Chicago Metallic 1-Pound Loaf Pans (I absolutely love these, and they're also on sale right now for $5.75--regularly about $11.00).

    --baking/pizza stones (a must for pizzas and crusty freeform breads)

    --Salter 5-pound digital kitchen scale (I use mine every day!)

    --KitchenAid Bench/Pastry Scraper (useful for so many things that mine rarely make it back into the drawer)

    --FoodSaver Continuous Roll Bag Material (I need to stock up!)

    --Lodge cast iron 10-1/4 inch pre-seasoned skillet (Talk about something that'll last forever and ever--they only get better with age! : ) Such a deal at $12.99)

    My apologies for any confusion and for not getting back to you sooner--we just got in from being gone all day.

    If your order hasn't shipped, it's no big deal at all to go back into your account and cancel the order (or just the pans), then simply re-order 4 items in the promotion on a new separate order.

    Hope this helps. And I hope these links all work! I'm kinda rushing here, plus The Doodle Monster keeps knocking my hands out of her way (she's sitting on my lap grooming herself and waiting for me to pay attention to her. Cats!)

  12. Hi Holiday Gift Baskets,
    I didn't mean to skip over you there. I'm so glad you decided to risk the scary parsley and try making these rolls. ; ) Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed them.

  13. Your bread looks wonderful! I have the same book and I LOVE it!



  14. Just wanted to say Thank You, not only for posting such yummy looking recipes, but for taking the time and effort to show the important steps with pictures for novices like me. All the little comments to point out an easier way to do something are welcome.

    Also, I hope Amazon or someone is giving you a big fat commission on all the stuff you highlight here! This blog is like the Oprah Book Club of cool cooking and baking stuff!

  15. Ooh, I'd love to pull one of those buns apart and slather it warm butter. I love the savory herbs and agree that they would be a lovely addition to a holiday meal or any meal! Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Looks a very good recipe!

    Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving Day!

  17. After you posted this recipe, I remembered I had a large batch of carrots waiting to be used for something. So I went ahead and made these rolls.

    Very delicious! And the color is beautiful!

  18. I saw this recipe on Tuesday night and knew I had to try it for Thanksgiving. They are absolutely delicious! The taste was amazing, and they are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this!

  19. Great recipe – looks colorful and healthy too. Thanks!

  20. These look and sound delicious Susan!

  21. I made this yesterday using carrots, parsley and rosemary in sufficient quantity for 2 large loaves (850 gm benched) and one smaller one. The dough was very lively and I got caught because I needed to go out, so after punching it down a couple of times, I threw it in the refrigerator for 5 hours, then shaped it and let it rise again in the tins (the Chicago Metallic are my favourite too!). The small loaf took 45' at 200 degrees C in my electric fan forced oven, and the larger ones 55' (94 degrees C internal temp). They are sensational, especially with the extra flavour an colour which comes from the retarded rise.

    I am going to try this as a sourdough next, and then reduce the yeast to 1/4 tsp for every 3 cups of flour and try it as an overnight bench top rise.


  22. BTW someone might be interested in this recipe for Pane Rustica. It's the absolute favourite bread for all my family and friends and what set me on the road to experimenting with low yeast content overnight rise breads. I don't always use the very wet mix and Dutch Oven bake method, having successfully adapted the concept to breads with lesser hydration (kneading consistency) and pan baked without a lid. But when I do, I use a Scanpan casserole dish with a glass lid. Perfect result evry time and you can literally watch the loaf 'spring'.


    The whole site is fascinating, but here is the link to the Pane Rustica

  23. What size is a i lb loaf pan? 9" or 8" in length

  24. Anon,
    I use these 1-pound Chicago Metallic loaf pans which are approximately 8-inches in length (and do an awesome job of baking both yeast and quick breads) - but I usually fill them with 2 pounds of more of bread dough.

    Chicago Metallic also makes what it calls a 1½ pound loaf pan, which is approximately 9 inches in length. I use these, too, but they will give you a much shorter loaf than the 1-pound pan.

  25. I made these at the last minute for a Thanksgiving picnic potluck (best idea ever!). I had a sage sourdough loaf in the works (for those interested:, but wasn't sure how it would come out so this was my backup.

    I halved the recipe but made the mistake of not finely shredding the carrots. I used my food processor to shred, but it was only upon mixing with the dough that I noticed the mistake (doh!). But I forged ahead, using a mix of fresh sage, semi-fresh thyme, and dried rosemary. I would have loved to have fresh parsley, and maybe shredded apple, to pair with the fresh time. And there will be a next time (perhaps following up on the above suggestion to use a sourdough starter).

    I baked them on a parchment lined cheap sheet pan and it worked fine (my cast iron skillet was busy with my sourdough). I might try making this in the skillet next time - I love love love baking bread in it. I'm also thinking about constructing my own baking stone using untreated tiles from the hardware supply store...

    This was really to execute and it yielded very tasty, soft, and slightly sweet rolls. Even the rather chunky bits of carrots worked. Very nice for a holiday meal. Thanks!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!