Cast Iron

Late-Harvest Carrot Rolls

October 21, 2015
0 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes 1 dozen rolls
Author Notes

“On the farm in Oregon where I first learned to make long-fermented bread, the last vegetables we pulled from the ground in winter were carrots. They were a far cry from the small, skinny, sweet early season carrots. These were big, ugly, starchy, and woody. But they had gone through a lot to get to that stage, so we figured they must be good for something, and juice was an obvious answer.

Thinking back on those days as I created new breads for this book, I considered making a starter and dough with carrot juice. The starches would turn to sugar and provide unique fermentation notes. To complement the juice, I decided to dice additional carrots, roast them until caramelized, and fold them into the dough. This recipe is the result, yielding rolls with a beautiful balance of sweetness and earthiness and an amber-orange crumb. Their rich, full flavor speaks well for the end of the harvest season. Note that for this recipe you’ll need to juice about 750 grams (about 1 pound, 10 ½ ounces) carrots, or 24 fluid ounces of high quality bottled carrot juice.”
Excerpted from Bien Cuit by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky. Copyright © 2015 by Zachary Golper. Excerpted with permission by Regan Arts. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the Starter
  • 66 grams (1/4 cups + 3 1/2 tablespoons) white flour
  • 0.1 grams (small pinch) instant yeast
  • 66 grams (1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon) carrot juice
  • For the Carrots & Rolls
  • 300 grams (10 1/2 ounces) large carrots
  • 7 grams (2 teaspoons) light brown sugar
  • 2 (1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 248 grams (1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 teaspoons) white flour, plus additional as needed for working
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons) buckwheat flour
  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons + 2 1/4 teaspoons) medium whole-wheat flour
  • 8 grams (1 1/4 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 0.8 grams (1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 255 grams (1 cup + 1/2 tablespoon) carrot juice
  • 25 grams (1 3/4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. For the Starter
  2. Put the flour in a medium storage container. Sprinkle the yeast into the carrot juice, stir to mix, and pour over the flour. Mix with your fingers, pressing the mixture into the sides, bottom, and corners until all of the flour is wet and fully incorporated. Cover the container and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 14 hours. The starter will be at its peak at around 12 hours.
  1. For the Carrots & Rolls
  2. For the carrots: Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C). Trim and peel the carrots, then cut them into 1/4-inch (6 millimeter) dice. Put the carrots in a medium bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and salt, then toss until evenly coated.
  3. Put the butter on a half sheet pan and put the pan in the oven just long enough to melt the butter. Spread the carrots on the pan and toss to evenly coat with the butter. Spread the carrots in an even layer, then bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. For the Dough: In a small bowl, stir together the white, buckwheat, and whole wheat flours, salt, and yeast.
  5. Pour about one-third of the carrot juice around the edges of the starter to release it from the sides of the container. Transfer the starter and carrot juice to an extra-large bowl along with the remaining juice. Using a wooden spoon, break the starter up to distribute it in the juice.
  6. Add the flour mixture, reserving about one-sixth of it along the edge of the bowl. Continue to mix with the spoon until most of the dry ingredients have been combined with the starter mixture. Switch to a plastic bowl scraper and continue to mix until incorporated. At this point the dough will be sticky to the touch.
  7. Push the dough to one side of the bowl. Roll and tuck the dough, adding the reserved flour mixture and a small amount of additional flour to the bowl and your hands as needed. Continue rolling and tucking until the dough feels stronger and begins to resist any further rolling, about 10 times. Then, with cupped hands, tuck the sides under toward the center. Place the dough, seam-side down, in a clean bowl, cover the top of the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  8. For the first stretch and fold, lightly dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Using the plastic bowlscraper, release the dough from the bowl and set it, seam-side down, on the work surface. Gently stretch it into a roughly rectangular shape. Fold the dough in thirds from top to bottom and then from left to right. With cupped hands, tuck the sides under toward the center. Place the dough in the bowl, seam-side down, cover the bowl with the towel, and let rest for 45 minutes.
  9. For the second stretch and fold, repeat the steps for the first stretch and fold, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with the towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  10. For the third stretch and fold, gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Pinch the butter into pieces, distributing them over the top of the dough. Using your fingers or a spatula, spread the butter across the surface of the dough. Roll up the dough tightly from the end closest to you; at the end of the roll the dough will be seam-side down. Turn it over, seam-side up, and gently press on the seam to flatten the dough slightly. Fold in thirds from left to right and then do 4 or 5 roll and tuck sequences to incorporate the butter. Turn the dough seam-side down and tuck the sides under toward the center. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with the towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  11. For the fourth and final stretch and fold, gently stretch the dough into a rectangle, scatter the roasted carrots over the top, and gently press them into the dough. Roll up the dough tightly from the end closest to you; at the end of the roll the dough will be seamside down. Turn it over, seam-side up, and gently press on the seam to flatten the dough slightly. Fold in thirds from left to right and then do 1 roll and tuck sequence to incorporate the carrots. Turn the dough seam-side down and tuck the sides under toward the center. Return the dough to the bowl, seam-side down, cover with the towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  12. Line a half sheet pan with a linen liner and dust fairly generously with the dusting mixture.
  13. Lightly dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 70 grams each). Let rest for 5 minutes.
  14. Tightly roll up the pieces into small tubes about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. Arrange the rolls on the lined pan in three rows of four rolls each and dust well with the dusting mixture. Fold the linen to create support walls along the length of the rolls on both sides of each row. Fold any extra length of the linen liner over the top or cover with a kitchen towel. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for 16 to 22 hours.
  15. Set up the oven with a cast-iron skillet for steam, then preheat the oven to 500° F (260° C). Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  16. Using the linen liner, lift and ease each roll off the pan and onto your hand. Set the rolls on the second pan with the length of the rolls running across the pan, in two rows of six rolls each. Score the top of each roll.
  17. Put the pan in the oven. Using heavy-duty oven mitts or potholders, pull out the hot skillet, add about 11/2 cups of ice cubes, then slide it back in and close the oven door. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 465° F (240° C) and bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through baking, until the tops are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  18. Set the sheet pan on a cooling rack. Give the rolls a few minutes to cool slightly, then place them directly on the cooling rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. The rolls are best eaten the day they’re baked, but once completely cooled they can be stored (uncut) in a paper bag or cardboard box for up to 24 hours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Patti S
    Patti S
  • cookinalong
  • Kaija
  • cindy

5 Reviews

cookinalong November 14, 2015
Unless you have a sous chef or kitchen maid a la Downton Abbey, I cannot see working this into any sane Thanksgiving dinner menu. I may try this, but definitely NOT for Thanksgiving. Maybe during flu season, on one of those days when I'm feeling well enough to get out of bed, but not well enough to go out.
Kaija November 10, 2015
I tried to make these over the weekend and found the recipe just like it sounds -- laborious --- and (sadly) with lackluster results. The directions are long and confusing. I couldn't ( and still can't) tell from the directions what the author means by "dusting mixture". I used flour. I love the idea of these rolls, but the results were boring and after working on them ( including making the starter with fresh carrots juiced at home) for 35+ hours they were disappointing. I want my weekend back.
cindy November 8, 2015
This recipe sounds amazing!! Question: I keep a sourdough starter it possible to use that for the starter portion? I am wondering if at one of the feedings I can siphon some off and use carrot juice in place of the water. Or would the sourdough flavor overwhelm these rolls?
Patti S. November 4, 2015
Sometimes it's the extreme details that make me want to try a recipe. What stands out is that I will use those big fat carrots that I might have from the garden but would never buy on purpose because they are not tasty like the baby carrots, that I will juice and ferment those carrots, that I will fold the dough more times than I have ever done before for any recipe but that the testing intervals are shorter, and that I should use a floured linen. If these steps help deliver an extreme result, I'm in. I am so tired of mediocre efforts and bland flavor, especially for my holiday table. Keep your canned cream of mushroom soup in your green bean casserole, your canned cranberry sauce, and your brown and serve rolls. Yes, I will be exhausted after everyone eats, but my family will feast on divine food, and I will be grateful to have found recipes that make me proud.
Peter P. November 3, 2015
This seems jaw-dropingly over worked and sadistically complicated...which is a socially acceptable way of saying, "You have GOT to be joking." However, I have been wrong before, so I will suspend judgement until someone who's actually made the recipe and tasted the results can chime in. Early signs are not promising. Prove me wrong!