We love serving this loaf fresh from the oven with salted butter and honey, but we love it even more the following day, toasted and topped with cream cheese, capers and lox.
For carrot puree:
8 to 10 carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise (this will be more than you need for one loaf)
Olive oil, for coating 100 grams water
360 grams King Arthur Flour bread flour
40 grams freshly milled hard red spring wheat flour OR store-bought whole grain wheat flour
296 grams water
60 grams mature liquid levain
8 grams salt
96 grams carrot puree
20 grams poppy seeds, plus extra for coating the loaf
In a medium to large bowl, mix together flours and water until no dry flour or lumps remain. Cover and set aside for two hours at room temperature. Roast the carrots
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 205°C. Place the carrots into a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Toss them to coat, then lay them cut side down on the sheet with space in between each carrot so they aren’t crowded. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender throughout and golden on the cut side. Puree and sieve the carrots
Remove the carrots from the pan. Weigh 100 grams of roasted carrots and set aside the rest of the carrots for snack time later. Place the 100 grams of carrots in a blender with 100 grams of water, then blend until you have a smooth puree. Transfer the puree to a fine-mesh sieve that’s set over a bowl and use a spoon or a flexible spatula to press the puree through the sieve (you’ll need to scrape the underside of the sieve a few times to knock the puree that’s passing through it into the bowl below). Reserve 96 grams of puree for your loaf, and either discard any solids left behind in the sieve or save them for another purpose. Mix
Once autolyse is complete, add your levain, salt, and carrot puree to the autolyse bowl and mix by hand, slowly incorporating everything together while being careful not to tear the dough. You’ll likely need to move between a couple of different mixing styles, starting with just a general squishing and rolling motion and then, once the dough starts to come together a bit, moving into the Rubaud method. This dough is going to feel very wet at first, but it will come together into a gorgeously soft, silky dough after mixing, thanks to the effects of the carrot puree. Once mixing is complete, place the dough back into its bowl and cover, then set aside to let rest for the first hour of bulk proof. Lamination
An hour into bulk, gently dump the dough onto a moistened work bench (a spray bottle of water or wet hands rubbed over the bench works well here). You’ll need to play around with the amount of water you use on the bench, but the end goal is for your dough to not stick to the bench too much, but for it to be tacky enough that it doesn’t just slip and slide all over the place as you’re stretching the dough. Gently stretch the dough across the bench, almost (but not quite) as thinly as it can go without tearing, paying attention to the edges to make sure they’re not forgotten. Sprinkle 20 grams of poppy seeds across the dough, then fold the dough up on itself, shape into a boule, and place into a clean bowl to continue bulk proof. Bulk
Continue bulk proof for 3-4 hours, performing a couple rounds of gentle coil folds an hour after lamination. This dough likes to move quickly towards the end of bulk, so keep an eye on it as fermentation moves along. Shape
Gently dump the dough onto a lightly floured bench and gently shape (the video above shows one method of shaping a fairly proofy batard, but shape your loaf however you are comfortable shaping it, even if that’s as a boule, as we did for our orange carrot loaf). Poppy seed coating
Sprinkle a thick layer of poppy seeds onto a large plate, then lift the loaf, top side down, and set it into the bed of poppy seeds, rolling it a bit from side to side to fully coat it in seeds. Lift the loaf and place into a towel-lined banneton, seed side down. Cold bulk/retard
Move the loaves into the fridge, uncovered (this helps form a slight skin on the dough, which is helpful for unloading and scoring the dough the next morning) and let rest overnight. Bake
The next morning, preheat your Challenger Bread Pan in a 450°F / 230°C oven for one hour. Once the pan is fully preheated, bake your loaf with the lid on for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes longer.
Nicole Muvundamina is a freelance baking instructor and recipe developer specializing in sourdough and freshly milled whole grain baking. Armed with a tabletop stone mill and a pantry overflowing with grains, she is on a mission to introduce people to the fantastic flavors and characteristics that come along with fresh, whole flour. To see what grain-based tomfoolery she is getting herself into each day, follow her on instagram at @nmuvu.
Roasted carrots: Even if you’re only making one loaf, as this recipe makes, we suggest filling your entire roasting tray with carrots to roast (without crowding them). You won’t use all of them in one loaf of bread, but you’ll have extra to toss in a salad with lunch, or you can make a second loaf with a different colored carrot, as we did with purple carrots (which don’t hold their color through roasting and baking quite as well as orange carrots do, but are still fun to use).