RECIPES OF THE WEEK FROM OUR CULINARY INSTRUCTOR GAIL BLAKELY!
Years ago, Jim Lahey, who turned the world of bread baking upside down in 2006 with his no-knead bread technique, published a book called, quite simply, My Bread. Lahey added carrot juice to one of his recipes, which I thought was a great idea. Over the years, I have used his technique when teaching my bread workshops, then turned to a more streamlined version of bread baking. By streamlined I mean that you can turn out delicious bread in under two hours, rather than twenty four. Making this peasant bread has been almost as popular as the original no-knead; in fact, I recently noticed it was on the King Arthur Baking Company website.
Credit for the peasant version goes to Alexandra Stafford, whose mother gave her this recipe. Her book, Bread, Toast, Crumbs, is another we have used at Highfield in the past. Inspiration for this delicious springtime loaf (though it will definitely be on my table at Thanksgiving) comes from both of these talented bakers. All you need to do is locate some carrot juice and bread flour, and you are good to go!
Carrot Peasant Bread with Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp each: instant yeast, kosher salt, and raw sugar
- ½ cup each: golden raisins and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 cup carrot juice, room temperature
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast, salt, sugar, raisins, and seeds; pour in the carrot juice and mix well, adding a tablespoon or so of water if it seems to dry—you want a fairly wet dough here.
- Cover with plastic and let rise for an hour in a warm spot (your microwave is good).
- When doubled, take two forks and fold the dough over on itself, working around the bowl—this should take about 4 to 6 turns.
- Butter a 1-quart pyrex bowl or other small casserole and “plop” the dough into the bowl; let stand on top of the oven while you preheat it to 425F.
- After 20 minutes, your dough should have risen to the top of the bowl; put the bread in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 375F and bake for another 17 minutes, until golden.
- Remove from oven and turn the bowl over onto a rack to cool.
The “top” of the bread becomes the “bottom” this way; let cool at least one hour before slicing.