Thursday, March 21, 2013

Improv Reveal Day! Spring Vegetable Bread


One of my favorite things to eat is warm bread that is freshly made. The flavor is usually unbeatable in combination with the crisp crust and soft middle. Even the next day the same bread usually doesn't taste the same, not necessarily any worse, just not as good as when it's fresh from the oven. Adding natural colors to bread always adds visual excitement and adding flavors also contribute to deliciousness.


The process of making bread can seem like a daunting task to some people but when the bread is baked it makes it all worthwhile (to me at least). I used to make bread randomly just for the joy of eating it. Then for a while my son couldn't have soy which was in most bread bought at the grocery store so I made it out of necessity each week. Now he can have soy and so I'm back to making it for fun :).

The idea for this bread is based on the Improv Challenge this month which is hosted by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Each month there are two different items listed and we are challenged with creating a recipe with them. In previous challenges I made Individual Cherry Almond Trifles and Peanut Butter Fondue with Jelly Filled Pound Cake. The recipe for this month's challenge must be made with carrots and peas. I had a few ideas floating around in my head and I stumbled on this one and thought it may be fun. Swirled colors of bread is always better than plain, I mean really. 


This bread is prepared in two small batches, one with pureed carrots and one with pureed peas. They are rolled into ropes and twisted together to form a boule-like shape with a spiral pattern. I think it's very pretty when it is cut because there is a pastel green and a pastel orange. You could always add food coloring (2 or 3 drops) just to make the colors more pronounced, but I prefer natural coloring when possible. This bread would look beautiful on the dinner table for Easter, or maybe at a brunch. You could also cut it horizontally and make it into a giant sandwich that's cut into 12 wedges and that would be pretty. I had thought about rolling out the green dough and wrapping it around the orange dough that had been formed into a ball so it would look like a carrot when it was cut, but I decided on the spiral pattern instead. As always, if you have any questions please ask! Happy Baking!

Spring Vegetable Bread
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
- 2 ½ teaspoons yeast (about 1 packet)
- 1 ¼ cups water (warm to the touch, 105-115F)
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons mashed carrots
- 3 tablespoons mashed peas
Egg wash
- 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a mixer stir together 1 ¼ teaspoons of yeast with ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit about 5 minutes or until creamy. Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 3 tablespoons of mashed carrots. Add 1 more cup of flour and blend with the dough hook of a mixer on medium speed until it comes together, then 3-4 minutes longer (or 6-8 minutes by hand). Additional flour may be necessary if kneading by hand. In the mixer the dough may still feel tacky but that’s okay, don’t add too much flour.
2. Put the carrot dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside.
3. In the same mixer bowl (cleaned if necessary) repeat the process with the remaining other half of the ingredients (yeast through sugar, and the peas). Place the dough in another lightly greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set both bowls aside to rise for 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled. I like to preheat the oven on 150F for 45-60 seconds to warm the oven, then turn off the oven, and let the dough sit in the oven to rise.
4. Take each dough out of the bowl, one at a time, punch it down, and roll it into a log on a lightly floured surface (as long as you want, mine were probably around 16”-18” long). Lay the logs side by side on a cookie sheet then twist them together into a spiral shape and tuck the end under. Let the bread round rise for 20-25 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
5. When the bread is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Brush the egg wash evenly onto the loaf of bread.


 (after rising)

6. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes or until it is golden brown on the crust and sounds hollow when you tap it. Remove from oven, move to cooling rack to cool completely. (If you leave it on the cookie sheet too long it may become soggy on the bottom). 


*If you would like to  make dinner rolls, divide the dough into 10 pieces (for good sized rolls) and bake for 17-19 minutes. 

Printable recipe 

Dinner rolls (I didn't egg wash them before baking so they came out lighter in color)

This recipe may be linked up to:

· Inside BruCrew Life - Time to Sparkle Tuesday's
· Pint Sized Baker - Marvelous Mondays 
· The Mandatory Mooch - Tasty Thursdays 
· Real Housemoms - Fabulous Fridays! 
· Lemons For Lulu - Saturday Share with Us Link Party
· Kitchen Meets Girl - What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday
· DJ's Sugar Shack - Whatcha Whipped Up?
· Mom's Test Kitchen - Wonderful Food Wednesday's
· The Real Housewives of Riverton - Riverton Housewives Round Up
· Mandy's Recipe Box - Totally Tasty Tuesday's
· A Pinch of Joy - Busy Monday Link Party 
· House of Hepworth's - Hookin up with HoH 
· Couponing & Cooking - Mealtime Monday 
· What's Cooking, Love? - Showcase Your Talent Thursday 
· Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo - Anything Goes Linky
· Chef in training - Tuesday Talent Show
· Dwell on Joy - Dwell on Friday 
· Six Sister's Stuff - Strut Your Stuff Saturday
· A Slice of Southern - Southern Sundays 

                                                           
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