Europe has not just crusty white bread rolls to offer. If you look around, you can find countless recipes for different kinds of bread rolls – like for example these carrot bread rolls. It would take me forever to collect and write down all the unique European recipes.
If there would only be a book to document all of those European bread roll recipes. Well, I have good news for you. There is one written specifically for the home baker without any professional equipment.
It is written by Robert from Fabolous Fricot, a project that he and his team have been running for decades. They traveled all over Europe to collect traditional recipes from artisans. They not only specialize in bakery products but every aspect related to food. From farm to table.
I was contacted by Robert more than a year ago when he introduced me to his vision of producing traditional food products on an industrial scale in Switzerland. While plans in this regard have changed, the Fricot project in its current state centers around sharing culinary knowledge. They have a whole series of books in their publishing schedule for the next year.
Handmade Small Breads is the first book to be published. While I was working on translating the book into German, I stumbled across multiple recipes that I am keen to try out. One of them is this carrot bread rolls recipe which – spoiler alert – turned out perfect on the first try.
What the original carrot bread rolls recipe looks like
This carrot bread rolls recipe is originally from Sweden but I think it could also be a German recipe. Carrot bread is a thing in Germany and delicious! The other thing that made me so excited about this recipe is that it contains apple juice – I have tons of apple juice at home from my family’s apple trees. Hundreds of liters. What a great way to use it up!
The original recipe is written in a brief and concise way. Why do I show you the recipe picture? Well, as you will see I changed a few things. Not because the recipe is bad – it’s fantastic – but because I can’t follow any recipes. I bake things my way at home. Ain’t no recipe gonna tell me how to handle my dough.
My changes to the original recipe
So, what did I change?
- I halved the recipe because my baking steel has only room for half a batch (7 rolls)
- I slightly increased the hydration
- I added bread improver (Brötchenbackmittel) – I want my bread rolls light and fluffy as they are in the bakery – not chewy, ciabatta-like, or dense. And no, you cannot achieve the same qualities with traditional methods! But, of course, it is an optional ingredient. The dough will just be a bit less fluffy without and it will go stale more quickly. My general rule is: if it’s a bread roll then always use Brötchenbackmittel (German bread improver for rolls).
- I doubled the amount of salt – The recipe only called for 1 % in relation to the flour weight, that is too little for me.
- I soaked the sunflower seeds in water before incorporating them into the dough. If you don’t soak them, they will pull some water out of the dough and make it a bit drier on the inside. Also, I didn’t add the sunflower seeds before but after kneading.
- I changed the rise and proofing time according to my schedule and needs. I have baked many bread rolls and I have my standard method of doing things. Ain’t no recipe gonna change that.
- I changed the baking temperature and time a little.
So yes, if you look for someone who follows recipes – look somewhere else. A recipe is an inspiration for me. Having said that, the bread rolls came out perfect on the first try – thanks to the great inspiration by Robert’s book. In general, if a recipe turns out wrong it’s not the recipe’s fault. It’s yours. Blame yourself first for messing things up when things go wrong. Oftentimes it’s best to deviate from instructions. If a recipe would tell you to season a pot of soup with a cup of salt, would you blindly trust it? Hopefully not!
A visual guide to carrot bread rolls
The most important tip I can give you is that the dough needs to be well-kneaded. After kneading, it should look like this:
It’s really important that you let the bread rolls puff up nicely before baking them. It took me about 1 hour until the rolls had doubled in size before baking.
And lastly, look at that oven spring. This is serious bread porn!
The crumb is moist, soft, fluffy, and light. As expected, it doesn’t have any large air pockets in it as it contains yogurt, carrots, and a few sunflower seeds. Perfect for spreading sweet or savory fillings on it. The crumb has a beautiful yellow color from the carotenoids in the carrot – very healthy!
Carrot Bread Rolls (‘Karottenbrötchen’)
- 25 grams (1 ounce) sunflower seeds
For the dough:
- 50 grams (1.8 ounces) carrot, finely grated
- 90 grams (3.2 ounces) full-fat (3.8 %) yogurt
- 12 grams (0.45 ounces) fresh yeast
- 10 grams (0.35 ounces) honey
- 5 grams (0.18 ounces) salt
- 7 grams (0.25 ounces) bread improver (Brötchenbackmittel)
- 75 grams (2.7 ounces) apple juice, at 40 °C (105 °F)
- 150 grams (5.3 ounces) white soft wheat flour (German Type 550)
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) spelt bread flour (German Type 1050)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon whole milk
- seeds of your choice (eg. flax, sesame, or sunflower seeds), for sprinkling
Soak the sunflower seeds:
- The evening before you want to bake, cover the sunflower seeds with plenty of water and leave them to soak in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you can leave them to soak at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Drain and set them aside.
Mix, knead, and leave the dough to rise:
- In a bowl, combine all the dough ingredients starting with the wet ingredients. Mix the dough for a few minutes until evenly hydrated and then knead intensively either by hand or machine. You should be able to stretch out the dough very thinly without it tearing. This takes about 10-15 minutes. The dough temperature after kneading should ideally be 23 °C (73 °F). Once the dough is fully kneaded, fold the soaked and drained sunflower seeds into the dough until evenly distributed.
- Cover the dough and leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes, lightly wet your hands and stretch and fold the dough over itself a few times to strengthen it.
Form bread rolls, proof, and bake them:
- Preheat your oven with baking stone or steel inside at 220 °C (430 °F).
- Divide your risen dough into 7 evenly sized pieces, about 80 grams (2.8 ounces) each. Shape into a tight ball by rotating the dough under the palm of your hands to get a smooth surface. Place seem-side down on a lightly floured baker’s couche. Cover with a wet towel and leave to rise in a warm spot until fully proofed (about doubled in size). This took me 1 hour.
- Transfer the buns onto a sheet of non-stick paper, seam-side down. Whisk together the egg and milk for the coating and brush generously on top of the buns. Sprinkle with seeds of your choice and transfer the buns to your pre-heated oven. Bake on the baking stone or steel at 220 °C (430 °F) for 10 minutes. Then turn down the heat and bake for another 15 minutes at 190 °C (375 °F) or until golden brown to your liking. Once you take the hot buns out of the oven, immediately spray them with a little bit of water so that they develop a nice shine. Wait for them to cool down completely before eating them.