In the mid-nineteenth century Europe wheat prices were very high, and there was a great deal of interest in substitutes that could be used to make bread – bread for the poor, that is, the scanty expensive amounts of good white flour not being a problem for the wealthy of course.
Cooks and agriculturalists alike experimented with starchy root vegetables in the making of bread during “this time of dearth,” and their results appeared in a variety of publications. I have given recipes for breads made with various roots and tubers in the past (see the links at the end of this post) but I have not so far given you Carrot Bread – by which I do not mean Carrot Cake!
The Belgian Carrot mixed with flour makes capital bread, as does the red carrot; but the colour is somewhat against the latter, although the bread is superior to that made with the white Carrot, being pleasanter in flavour, moister, yet firmer. Instead of equal quantities of Carrots and flour, only one fourth of the former is used, a half being found to render the loaf too close in texture. A peck of flour by itself yields three good-sized loaves, but mixed with 7 lbs. of Carrots produces four, and of excellent quality. As regards the preparation, I followed the instructions in the Chronicle to the letter. Carrots grown on sandy soil are better than those from clayey land, as, when well boiled, you may pass a fork with the greatest ease through the former, but those from clay are hard at the heart, therefore much more difficulty is found in breaking them up. They should be mixed with the flour while war – a point, as I understand, of considerable importance. In beating the Carrots up, use a wooden bowl and spoon, the wood affording hold which other vessels do not. – F. Nash, Ludlow, Feb. 2 – [The bread was “good,” but it tasted too much of Carrot for a fastidious palate.] – Gardeners’ Chronicle.
Hood's Magazine and Comic Miscellany, (1846) by Thomas Hood.
Wheat was also in short supply during the two world wars, but for a different reason – ships usually used for transport of the grain were required for military use, and it became a patriotic duty to reduce home consumption. I gave a WWI recipe for a milk-enriched carrot bread in a previous post, but I include it again here, by way of comparison.
1 cup sweet milk
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
½ tablespoon fat
¼ cake yeast
1 cup hot mashed carrots
About 3 cups white flour.
No sweetening is needed because of the sugar in the carrots.
A cup of mashed carrots may be added to any of the dark breads.
A book of original receipts, by Kathryn Romig McMurray... A practical guide to economical cooking, emphasizing the conservation of time, money and foods--especially wheat, meat, sugars and fats (Lincoln, Ill., The Star Publishing Co., c1917.)
Previous recipes for bread made with vegetables can be found at the following links: