One of the best things about spring? Carrots! They’re known for the lush orange color and their sweet, juicy taste and high vitamin C content. Did you know: they’re a great ingredient for bread?

Carrots – in cake, too – contribute to very soft, moist crumb, and add a mellow, somewhat sugary taste that is not too overwhelming. Carrots pair well with all sorts of seeds and nuts – and with gluten-free flours, which in turn are known for being nutritious, such as buckwheat or teff.

We’ve been obsessed with this carrot bread at my house this past week. It’s originally my friend Patrick’s recipe. He is amazing in the kitchen. Driven by curiosity for all things culinary, he is eager to learn “the real deal.” He’s been cooking himself through the kitchens of the world, always eager to hit the original flavor and the right technique. He is very good about sharing his experience on Instagram. They always leave me wishing I could have a seat at his table. It all looks so good!

Patrick’s carrot bread looked especially delectable, though, so I decided to re-create it in a gluten-free version. At first, I was struck with the lengthy preparation process, which spans two days and several steps, so I put it off for a while. Waiting turned out to be a good decision. It gave me time to think about which combination of ingredients to use. I’m proud to say: I got it right the first time around. I made a double batch (as I always do when I make bread), which rendered three loaves. I made a large oval one, a small thinner one and one bread in the bread tin. All turned out wonderful! The husband and I almost devoured an entire loaf for dinner that evening. See, the crust is so crunchy and almost buttery – we couldn’t get enough! We had several slices with butter and with a combination of cheeses. Just perfect!

My stomach felt so heavy afterward, incredibly full of fluffy, happy bread. But also so very satisfied! I really suggest you try to make this bread at least once in your culinary career. You will enjoy knowing the technique that goes into making the crust. I also recommend not being put off by the two-day preparation process. It’s totally worth it and most of the time is spent doing stuff that has nothing to do with this amazing carrot bread (e.g. waiting for the next step)!

Gluten-free Sour Dough-Carrot Bread with Seeds and the Crunchiest Crust

Day 1

For the Poolish (sour dough starter):
100g teff flour
180g water
9g active dry yeast (or 21g fresh yeast)

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the teff flour. Whisk until all ingredients are combined.

Let sit overnight (preferably 24 hours) at room temperature.

For the soaker:
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds

25g gluten-free oats (e.g from Bauckhof)
25g linseeds
100g water

Roast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds (no oil required).

Place into a bowl together with the oats and the linseeds. Add water.

Stir. Let sit overnight at room temperature.

Day 2

Making the Bread Dough

225g gluten-free flour mix (I used Take Eat Free’s Universal Mix  and Harina de Pan by AdPan)
1 tsp gluten-free helpers
75g sorghum flour
75g buckwheat flour
11g salt
180g plain carrot juice (ensure it doesn’t have honey or lemon juice or other added ingredients)
150g soda water (or more)
120g finely shredded carrots

Plus the soaker and the poolish

For shaping and dusting the bread: cornstarch.

For the crust:
75g carrot juice
28g teff flour
3g dry-active yeast or 8g fresh yeast

Place all the ingredients into bowl and combine into a lump-free and homogenous dough. It should be very soft.

Cover with a moist kitchen towel and let rise for an hour.

Prepare the mixture for the crust by placing all ingredients into a bowl and whisking until combined. Let mixture sit at room temperature for a minimum of 40 minutes. Heat your oven to 275°C.

Line a baking tin (or bread tin) with baking parchment. Pile bread dough onto the baking parchment (or into the bread tin), e.g. using a spatula. Form loaf using cornstarch.

Brush loaf generously with teff-carrot-juice-yeast mix.

Let loaf sit for about ten minutes, allowing the crust to slightly dry, then generously sift cornstarch over it.

Place into the oven, cover with an oven-proof casserole and bake for half an hour.

Remove the casserole, turn the oven down to 220°C and finish baking, approximately another 20 minutes to half an hour.

Remove carrot bread from oven and allow to cool off prior to serving.

Once entirely cool (at best overnight), bread can be cut into slices and frozen. Either bake individual slices in your oven or toast them for an extra crunchy sanwdwich!

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