Mom’s Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls

April 25, 2009 at 10:30 am 33 comments

Sometimes when people find out that I like to bake, they assume that I have great knife skills, can whip up fresh tomato sauce, and know how to fillet a fish. “Oh,” they say, “you’re a cook! That’s so cool.”

No. It would be very cool if I were a cook, but alas, I’m scared of the big chopping knife, I have no idea how to make tomato sauce from scratch, and I can poorly fillet a fish (just barely.) I am a baker, even though I’d love to expand my abilities.

My parents, on the other hand, they are good cooks. My father is the sort of person whose shopping cart is filled with eggs, butter, fresh produce, and milk, never frozen dinners or Hamburger Helper. The kind of person who cooks salmon and mushroom roulade without a recipe and gets asked to do dinner parties.

My mom, too, has her specialties. The limited Chinese terms my father knows are all for describing the foods she makes. Her rice is the best we’ve ever had, anywhere. Her pot stickers are so perfect that when one of my friends said she loved Dragon Wok’s dumplings, I forced her to come to dinner so she could see what she was missing. And unlike my father, the cook, and me, the baker, mother’s favorite is something unique: bread.

My mother ate like a bird as a child. She loathed meat, hated most vegetables, and didn’t care for fruit. Instead, she bought freshly baked bread on the way home from school and ate the whole loaf herself. When she moved to this country and was first introduced to my father’s family, the only thing she ate was mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. To a group of thick steak and buttered greens loving foodies, this was unimaginable, prompting my grandfather to title her the Carbohydrate Queen.

My mom eats basically everything now, but she still loves bread best. And so it was she who baked these delicious rolls with freshly grated carrots. Me, I’m scared of yeast. But my mother, she’s fearless.

On another note, thank you to Eliana of A Chica Bakes for passing the Friendship Award onto me. It’s so sweet! I have to pass it on to 8 other bloggers…


“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”

Thanks to all of these bloggers for supporting 17 and Baking, and inspiring me with their delicious creations.

– Amanda of Is This Thing On?
– Marta of Just Call Me Marta
– Alicia of Bakeaholic
– Alana of The Good Girl Gone Blog
– Darina of Gratinee
– Jenny of Raising Our Kids in America…
– Danica of Think It, Bake It
– Kristen of Dine and Dish (A special thank you for hosting the Adopt-A-Blogger event… More on this later!)

They look like pretty standard dinner rolls besides the attractive orange flecks of carrot throughout. These rolls are crusty and chewy, with a spongy crumb. They come out of the oven beautifully golden, and are perfect with soup, butter, or really anything else you’d care to pair it with.

The recipe is pretty flexible – sub the grated carrot for another vegetable (like beet), replace it with chopped herbs, or omit the carrots and use cooked onion instead. The book also recommends working cooked vegetable puree into the dough… Make it your own.

I am also submitting these rolls into YeastSpotting. Yummy!

Carrot-Flecked Diner Rolls
Adapted from The Bread Bible
Makes 12 rolls

2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 lb carrots, grated
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Sprinkle the yeast into 1/2 cup of the water. Sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast. Add the grated carrots and melted butter and mix all together. Stir in the remaining water to form a moist, crumbly dough.

Knead the dough until smooth but still sticky on a lightly floured surface, about 10 minutes.

Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Shape the dough into 12 balls and arrange, just touching, into a pan. (We put 8 rolls in a 9″ cake pan and the remaining 4 in a small, square pan.) Proof until the balls double in size, about 30 minutes. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg, then sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Printer Friendly Version – Mom’s Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls

[I’m a bit embarrassed to be posting something that I didn’t make, but I didn’t want to take credit for my Mom’s delicious work. These days I’m trying to be responsible and start that studying… I promise I’ll still post throughout May, even with tests every other day! When you’re passionate about something, you make time for it. Consider mom my first guest blogger.]

Entry filed under: Breads. Tags: , , , .

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria Chocolate Marble Cheesecake with Coconut, Lemongrass, and Kaffir Lime – 17 and Baking does Daring Bakers

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amanda  |  April 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

    What a cool idea to add veggies to bread. I love bread as is, but I could rationalize eating so much more of it if there were veggies mixed in. Does the inclusion of carrots affect the flavor at all?

  • 2. Amanda  |  April 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I found the cookie cutters at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but I have also seen them at A.C.Moore. They are definitely splurge-worthy.

    Looking through them the other night I found two dinosaurs that I have great plans for. :)

  • 3. Marta  |  April 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I was brought up very similar to you, food-wise, there was never any processed food in my house, no pop, no packaged bread, no frozen anything. Only fresh, only home-made. I think that’s the healthiest way to go, unfortunately not always the most sustainable with busy lifestyles. These rolls look great! They must be nice and moist. I’m actually in the process of making burger buns (second rising taking place!) so I’m in a very bread-bakey-mood and loved to read this post!

  • 4. Darina  |  April 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I’m scared of yeast, too.

  • 5. Erin  |  April 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    These are just lovely! My compliments to your mother. I also used to be afraid of bread and the thought of making an actual meal was enough to give me heart palpitations but over time you’ll get more brave and eventually you’ll enthusiastically start to tackle recipes you would have completely run from only months before.

  • 6. cindy  |  April 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    those rolls look fantastic! like delicious pillows…mmm.

  • 7. amy  |  April 26, 2009 at 8:02 am

    looks like a good way to get the kids to eat carrots!ha.

  • 8. Danica  |  April 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    ooh–I’m going to try this recipe in my bread machine. I know, kind of a lazy way to do it, but I usually don’t have time to do yeast breads unless I use the bread machine. Gee..I think I’ll do that right now.

  • 9. Elissa  |  April 26, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Danica – My family has never used a bread machine before. Please let me know how the rolls turn out! :)

  • 10. Eliana  |  April 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    This bread looks so great and delicate – with the little orange flecks. I wish my mother would make bread for me. Unfortunately, she isn’t a baker; but she is an awesome cook.

  • 11. Susan/Wild Yeast  |  April 26, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I am not a cook either (but I do like yeast :) )

    These rolls are wonderful, and I will be that once you decide to take the plunge with yeast you can pull them off just as successfully as your mom.

    Thanks for submitting these to YeastSpotting and introducing me to your beautiful blog!

  • 12. Felish  |  April 27, 2009 at 9:28 am

    This looks delicious! I too am scared of yeast but I would be tempted to overcome my fears to come up with this type of creation. PS How on earth do you manage to get such beautiful pictures out of your Kodak point and shoot??

  • 13. Carrie  |  April 27, 2009 at 11:17 am

    These are so gorgeous! I love the inclusion of carrots. I have some extra in my fridge right now….I’m going to give these a try!

  • 14. Melanie  |  April 27, 2009 at 11:58 am

    These rolls are beautiful. I saw your blog on another blog (can’t remember which one) and am glad I did. Your recipes and photography are lovely. Can’t wait to look around some more.

  • 15. Monica h  |  April 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I just book marked these rolls! I think I have a new favorite blog. You are truly wonderful!

  • 16. alicia  |  April 27, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I saw these on tastespotting and didn’t realize it was you! haha. Thanks so much for the award! I really enjoy you blog and am currently seriously contemplating make cheesecake this very second.. Good job =)

  • 17. snooky doodle  |  April 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I d like to try these . they look so nice :)

  • 18. YeastSpotting May 1, 2009 | Wild Yeast  |  May 1, 2009 at 12:02 am

    […] Mom’s Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls […]

  • 19. Mary  |  May 1, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Your rolls look beautiful. I’ve bookmarked the recipe and will be trying them soon.

  • 20. biz319  |  May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    My daughter is the bread nut in our family, and given the chance, she would eat ONLY that at dinner.

    I make the Artisan bread in 5 minutes every weekend, and the four loaves I’ve made are normally finished by Thursday morning!

    Love your pictures too!

  • 21. Lien  |  May 3, 2009 at 3:53 am

    Great looking rolls!

  • 22. Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls « Our Life in Food  |  May 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    […] Source: 17 and Baking […]

  • 23. Carrie  |  May 6, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I ended up making these over the weekend, and we loved them! They were so good. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  • 24. Amanda  |  August 20, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I made these last night and would like to share a few notes:

    I used the finer setting for shredding the carrots; the smallest one to provide a shredded string, vs the grater side you’d use for parmesan cheese.

    I used a Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook set on low to combine and knead. Using the stand mixer requires far less water to be added to the mix. I added the 1/2 cup recommended up front, then only added 2-3 more tablespoons to obtain a “smooth but still sticky” dough.

    These came out fantastic. I’d say the end result is a cross between the moist density of a traditional dinner roll and the lighter, fluffier density of a kaiser roll.

    If you like this recipe, you might also like:

  • 25. Kathryn Lambert  |  November 17, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Do you use the carrot raw? I noticed you mentioned that you could use cooked onions as an alternative.

    I have a wonderful recipe for onion-rosemary bread. I love to make it for Thanksgiving, it makes wonderful turkey sandwiches with leftover turkey.

    If you can bake a cake or a cookie, you can bake bread. Bread is very forgiving! Bread is a little less scientific when compared to the careful measuring and weighing for baking sweets.

    The first year I was baking on my own (a friend of mine taught me how to bake wheat bread when she visited me over a weekend. After that I was on my own.) I tried a sweet bread that called for condensed milk in the recipe. I made the bread and left it in a warm corner of my kitchen to rise. Hours later it had stubbornly refused to budge an inch. I had started the dough around 5 p.m. in the afternoon and around midnight when it was still a lump in my oiled bowl, I dumped it in the garbage can and called it a night.

    The next morning when I went to cook breakfast I discovered the dough had risen overnight in the garbage and was HUGE! Of course the bread was a total loss — however I learned a valuable lesson: bread is forgiving. You can put dough in the fridge and it will rise overnight. You can punch down dough and leave to go grocery shopping, come back and punch it down again and it will still make a lovely loaf.

    Seeing how you bake sweets so well… you should experiment with yeast breads! You’ll do great! Start with a nice Challah and have fun from there!

    • 26. Elissa  |  November 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      Kathryn Lambert – Thanks for the bread advice! I know I will get around to bread baking sometime, but at the moment cakes and cookies have more appeal. :) The carrots should be raw (think carrot cake.)

  • 27. Beth  |  December 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I made these tonight for dinner!
    In the end they were very tasty, but they definitely gave me trouble. The dough was more like batter, so I had to add about 1 1/2 c additional flour to it. And your’s/your mom’s are so much prettier than mine!

  • 28. Harper  |  February 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hi Elissa I was wondering if I could substitute the unbleached flour for whole wheat flour?

    • 29. Elissa  |  February 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Harper – I think you could substitute (it’s a straight 1:1 substitution) but also keep in mind that all whole wheat flour will make the rolls a little denser and less well-risen. If you’re a fan of all whole wheat, I say go for it, but I myself would try 50% whole wheat and 50% unbleached to start, just to see how it goes :) And of course, come back and let us know how it turns out!

  • 30. Recipes to Try (Breads/Rolls/Muffins) | Schmelly Eats  |  August 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    […] to Try (Breads/Rolls/Muffins) Posted on August 26, 2010 by schmelly| Leave a comment Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls From 17 and Baking […]

  • 31. Mariah  |  May 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Thank you for sharing this I am a vegetarian and need new recipes for try!

  • 32. Zucchini-Flecked Dinner Rolls « elizabethinthekitchen  |  July 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    […] and didn’t make me feel as guilty for not using whole wheat flour. (Recipe adapted from 17 and baking) Makes 12 rolls Ingredients: 2 tsp dry yeast 1 1/4 cups water 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour 2 tsp […]

  • 33. Veggie Flecked Dinner Rolls | The Chen Kitchen  |  July 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    […] Adapted from […]


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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