Bread

A Bizarre-Sounding Bread That's a Weird, Wonderful Way to Use Leftover Rice

January  7, 2017

Wild rice isn't a regular staple in my pantry. I vaguely remember eating it once or twice as a kid, but nowadays I pass it over for brown, basmati, or arborio if we're making pudding (and honestly, I always want to be making pudding).

But I stumbled upon an intriguing-sounding recipe this fall, in the Lundeberg recipe archives, for a wild rice and carrot tea cake. I did some research: As it turns out, wild rice isn't rice at all, but an aquatic grass that mostly grows in the Great Lakes region. It's pretty nutritious and the chewy texture can be a real boon in the kitchen, as today's recipe proves.

This bread, to put it simply, is wonderful. My fiancé looked at me, surprised, and mumbled through a mouthful of it, "This is exceptional." Reminiscent in flavor and texture of banana bread, it's spiced and sweet and fantastically dense in just the right way. The top breaks apart in craggy chunks, like a good muffin does, and it only improves with a day or two in the freezer or fridge. I like it toasted with butter or plain, cold, and eaten with my fingers. The wild rice gives it a pleasingly toothsome quality, making it more interesting than your average quick bread.

Eating bread with rice in it is *not* weird. Photo by Posie Harwood

And, if anyone asks you about the grand topic of New Year's resolutions, I think expanding your kitchen horizons should be top of the list. This bread is so damn interesting, delicious, and fun to make, it'll be a perfect project for the colder days of January. Plus, you'll find yourself looking at an old ingredient in a new way.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“First, it should clarify to use 3/4 cup of already cooked wild rice not to cook 3/4 cup of wild rice. It was way too much rice. Second, the rice that was against the sides, bottom and top of the loaf became so hard and crunchy (in a bad way) I thought I'd break a tooth. It was like eating uncooked wild rice. Third, the hour to 1 hour and 15 minute cooking time at 350 degrees was way too short. Tired of waiting, I finally took it out at 1 hour 45 minutes and it was still wet & gooey in the center. Add to that the hour of cooking time for the wild rice and this is more realistically a three hour endeavor for a disappointing/inedible result. My friend spit out the first bite and refused to even try the center of the slice. On the plus side, it looked great and the whole house smelled wonderful for a couple hours.”
— Moto G.
Comment

Upon first reading the recipe, I admit, you'll be skeptical. A cup of cooked (or leftover, if you have it) rice just gets tossed into the batter without pulsing or grinding it in the food processor first. It feels wrong! It feels like you'll end up with a mouthful of chewy rice bound in a sweet quick bread batter. You won't. Bear with me.

Banana or wild rice and carrot bread? Hint: It's the latter. Photo by Posie Harwood

The rest of the batter is cross between a carrot cake and a banana bread, full of warm spices and brown sugar and grated carrot. You can bake it in a 9x5-inch loaf pan, or you can divide the batter among smaller loaf pans or muffin tins (just reduce the baking time by a bit). Make sure you don't underbake it, as the bread does have a tendency towards being quite moist already.

Exotic-sounding and fun to bake, this is my new favorite cake to stash in the freezer for a pick-me-up. Consider it the most delicious New Year's resolution you'll ever keep.

Tell us: What recipes do you resolve to make this year? (And consider adding this bread to that list!)

Posie Harwood is a writer, photographer, and food stylist based in New York. You can read more of her writing here.

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10 Comments

Moto G. January 10, 2017
Sounded so good I had to try it. I followed the recipe to the letter. What a disaster. It was a waste of wild rice, carrots, olive oil and time. First, it should clarify to use 3/4 cup of already cooked wild rice not to cook 3/4 cup of wild rice. It was way too much rice. Second, the rice that was against the sides, bottom and top of the loaf became so hard and crunchy (in a bad way) I thought I'd break a tooth. It was like eating uncooked wild rice. Third, the hour to 1 hour and 15 minute cooking time at 350 degrees was way too short. Tired of waiting, I finally took it out at 1 hour 45 minutes and it was still wet & gooey in the center. Add to that the hour of cooking time for the wild rice and this is more realistically a three hour endeavor for a disappointing/inedible result. My friend spit out the first bite and refused to even try the center of the slice. On the plus side, it looked great and the whole house smelled wonderful for a couple hours.
 
Lili B. January 9, 2017
Mark Bittman's VB6 cookbook has a banana bread recipe made with leftover cooked brown rice- also very good!
 
CondimentQueen January 8, 2017
Hmm, what an intriguing idea. I look forward to trying it. Thanks!
 
nksm January 7, 2017
Do you think that a non-gluten flour could be used in this recipe?
 
Author Comment
Posie (. January 8, 2017
I certainly think you could -- I'd suggest try an all-purpose GF flour blend, you could try something like almond flour but I'm thinking that might make the loaf too dense since it's already quite moist. Let me now how it turns out!
 
witloof January 7, 2017
Oh man, my timing is all off! I just this moment finished making a wild rice salad for a potluck this evening and ate what didn't fit in the bowl!
 
Smaug January 7, 2017
It would be good to mention in the ingredient list that the wild rice is cooked- it's sure to pop up on the Hotline otherwise.
 
Author Comment
Posie (. January 7, 2017
Ah, well if you read through the recipe it instructs you to cook it, so it does start off uncooked (obviously if you have cooked rice on hand you could sub that).
 
Smaug January 7, 2017
Voila- creating confusion already. Also, as you started out emphasizing that wild rice is not rice, it might be better to call it "wild rice" rather than rice in the remainder of the article.
 
Michael January 7, 2017
Apparently the only thing to 'pop up on the Hotline,' is you trolling a recipe. Hope your critique satisfies whatever it is you clearly need, while the rest of us just read the instructions and get on with it.