The Fresh Loaf

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Carrot rye experiment

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Carrot rye experiment

I haven't posted for a while since I've been busy and wasn't baking anything particularly interesting. But there have been a few posts about different carrot rye bread variations recently, and I was curious about this idea. I decided to make a big "experiment" out of it this past long weekend, and combined different techniques and ingredients to see what comes out.

Here is the formula and brief method description:

To walk you through it, I had:

  1. Scald with rye schrot, grated carrot, and caraway
  2. Altus - old dried up rye bread, soaked with hot water (I kept all the water, didn't wring it out)
  3. Overnight preferment including the previous two stages and a little more rye schrot
  4. Final dough with whole rye flour, some high extraction wheat flour (ruchmehl), malt extract, and IDY for lift

Scald needed some extra water relative to what I planned because of all the carrot... Otherwise it wasn't even covered by the liquid. No problem, just add less water to the final dough. Scald was at 65C for around 8 hrs.

All fermentation was done at elevated temperature (above 28C, final dough at above 30C).

Sprinkled pumpkin and sunflower seeds on top of the dough in the pans.

Baked in loaf pans to make my life easier, and to allow a wetter dough. Filled pans a little over half way, and stopped final proof when dough almost reached the top, and it felt very fragile, with pinholes starting to appear.

Here is what I got after baking (a few min at 280C, then lowered to 230, then 200, for around 40 min).

The crumb is ridiculously moist, and yet almost not gummy. I can almost get some water to come out of it when pressing on the crumb, like a sponge. I've never seen anything like this.

The flavour is very pleasant. A lot of complexity, I can taste the caraway, and a little of the maltiness, but nothing dominates. Can't say I actually taste the carrot, although there was so much of it, and it is clearly visible in the crumb. Not sure why there are some spots of dense dough in the bread, I wonder if I simply didn't mix it well enough... But they aren't really bothering me. The top crust is a little separated, and the top is a little concave, so perhaps I overproofed just a little. But no big deal.

Very interesting result in the end, enjoyable and unusual bread!


CrustyJohn's picture

Ooh, these loaves look lovely!  I might have to try out your recipe soon to have another rye loaf.  I agree that the carrot flavor doesn't come through, but I think it does add sweetness and moist texture.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you! Moist 100%, it's amazing how moist this is.

suminandi's picture

Ilya, This looks so delicious, it's crying for soft cheese plus jam. 

It seems to me that the dough is wet almost like cake batter, so the crumb might cook more uniformly at a lower temp for longer. A cake this size would cook at 190C for nearly an hour (after preheating the oven to perhaps 220C), for example. Also, I don't think it's over proofed, it just needed to be docked before putting it in the oven. Finally, carrots contain a lot of liquid - why not leave them out of the scald? In carrot cake, they go in raw and they cook fine during the bake. I'm going to try your formula, with little tweaks over the weekend - it's a kind of bread my family likes, and I always have carrots around for some reason.


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you Sumi!

The dough was wet, but nowhere near cake batter... More like a soft paste. Scoopable, not pourable. That's what I was aiming for when adding water to the final dough...

I was thinking when to introduce the carrots... After trying it I agree probably best to add them in the end in the final dough. Simply because they lower the temperature of the scald too much, and overall they stick out of the liquid, and make everything more complicated. My idea was to extract maximum flavour from them in the scald, and make sure they soften fully. But as you say, it's not necessary.

And I actually forgot to mention it, but I did dock them by inserting the thermometer in a few spots around the top of the loaves. Probably should have done it more thoroughly. Hope you try it and report how it goes!

Benito's picture

Those look like delicious hearty loaves Ilya.  I wonder how you might bring out the flavour of the carrots more?  Could you roast them to caramelize them before they go into your dough?


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you Benny! Yes, roasting is a possibility... I don't know what else one could try, other than stuffing more and more carrots in the dough.

squattercity's picture

fabulous, Ilya.

what with carrots (88% water) plus red rye malt, an old bread soaker, and malt extract, your formula undoubtedly wins a gold medal for soft, moist crumb!

Q, tho, in your breakout, you list the hydration at 363.5g -- or ~70%. But 310 from the scald and 200 from the altus is already 510 and you mention 46 more (as needed), which would bring hydration to 556g, which would be something like 107 percent hydration. That's a true rainforest rye. Am I understanding something wrong here?


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you Rob! I included altus as soaker in the formula, then the calculator doesn't include the water from that section in the final hydration. Most of the water there should be bound by the starches from the altus, so very little of it should contribute to effective hydration of the dough. But of course it's still there, and making the crumb moist after baking.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when onions are dried first before going into bread, it brings out the flavour.  I wonder if fine shredding and drying somewhat would do the same for carrots? 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Never thought about drying! Perhaps drying ruptures some plant cells... At first I read "frying", I bet that would work too!