Carrot Raisin Bread

by angelika on October 10, 2010

Is there anything better on a Sunday morning than a fresh baked loaf of bread smothered in farm fresh butter and cream cheese? I think not. One of my favorite weekend breads to make is a Carrot Raisin Bread that my whole family loves. This is a recipe I also send to school with Little Man when it is our turn to do snack at preschool. Who doesn’t want a way to get carrots into their kids?

I adapted this recipe from one in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I love this book, really truly love it. It is so scientific and really goes into explaining the chemistry behind baking while walking you through the recipes. The only real successes I have had with baking bread have come when following her recipes. If you are interested in learning to bake bread, this is the book for you!

Carrot Raisin Bread

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup grape seed oil 
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
3 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350º. 
Wash and grate your carrots. I use the grating attachment on my food processor but a box grater works just as well. Incidentally one bag of baby carrots also works perfectly. I found that out in a pinch when I went to make this bread and I was out of carrots! Whether or not you peel the carrots is up to you. I peeled these as they were pretty dirty on the outside and they were not scrubbing clean. Set your carrots aside. 
In a medium bowl mix all your dry ingredients and whisk to combine. The way I tweaked this recipe for my needs was to add some whole wheat pastry flour, and decrease the cinnamon. The Bread Bible book calls for 2 tsp cinnamon, but I find that too strong, especially for kids.  

Place the eggs, sugar and oil into the bowl of your mixer, or a new bowl if you are using a hand mixer or mixing by hand. In a Kitchenaid mixer mix on low, or #2, for about a minute until combined. 
Add the flour slowly until it is just combined. Don’t over-mix. 
Add your carrots and mix again until they are just combined. 
Stir in your raisins with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer to a greased loaf pan. I always grease with butter, I prefer the flavor to the sprays or shortening.
Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Bread Bible says one hour. Mine is never done in less than 1 hour 10 minutes. Test for doneness by seeing if a cake tester (mine are bamboo skewers) comes out really clean. This is a really moist bread, so when in doubt air on the side of letting it go longer. Otherwise you can end up with bread that is not quite baked all the way through. 
Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides and turn it out onto a cooling tray. I spray my tray with some non stick spray just to be safe. I often have to knock this bread pan on the bottom with a knife a few times to get it to release. 
Let it cool completely. Now one tip Rose gives is to wrap the bread in plastic and leave it overnight. This is supposed to distribute the moisture. I always do this step, and have found it to be worth waiting for. She does claim that if you can’t wait you can go ahead, so long as you don’t cut it before it is cool. 
I serve this bread with cream cheese. Usually I whip some cream cheese with a TBS of powdered sugar. This does not make it sweet, but takes a little edge off the tang some cream cheese has. I consider this the healthy version of carrot cake, but it sure does hit all the same notes for me without the extra calories. 
A votre santé!

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