Baking with Root Vegetables, Part 1

Baking with Root Vegetables, Part 1

It’s late fall, which means it’s peak root vegetable season again.

I love root vegetables. They’re great in soups and stews, they make great sides, and I’ve even put them in mac ‘n’ cheese! Plus, especially if you buy at farmer’s markets, many of them give twice because you can use the greens.

Root vegetables can go in bread after being roasted and pureed. This might sound like carbicide, but the colorful and delicious result is worth it. I’ve had some successes as well as some failures using root vegetables, and I’m going to focus on these breads this winter. To start, I’m going to share my concept for sweet potato and cranberry bread. Later, I’ll make more attempts at this bread as well as share experiences baking breads with beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and anything else I can source. I might even share some non-bread recipes and ideas, too.

Sweet Potato & Cranberry Bread for L.D.

Some time ago a friend asked if I made cranberry bread. At the time I didn’t, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge to develop one. This was before I really knew how to develop recipes, so my first attempts were pitiful. As I learned more about breads, I would occasionally make further attempts. At some point I decided to add sweet potato, channeling Thanksgiving memories. They help cut the tartness of the cranberry, which my bread desperately needed at that point. I like tart foods, but this tartness wasn’t integrated in the bread well. After a few attempts with sweet potato I’ve reached something I’m happy with (but not done with). I’ve added fresh herbs to the recipe. I have rosemary written in my recipe, but I’ll add whatever I have on hand. Most recently that was tarragon, which maybe was a bit sweet, though I’m willing to forgive that because of the aroma. If you’ve never baked something with fresh tarragon, I advise you do so as soon as possible. The smell permeates the entire house.

The bread is fairly dense, which is to be expected. It keeps quite well - it’s still moist and springy after nearly five days. I still think there’s work to be done on this recipe. It would be nice to open that crumb a little bit, for instance. I plan to have a recipe ready to share by the end of winter. Stay tune for more root veggie adventures soon!

~Valentine