Just pull apart the ‘bubbles’ or rolls to eat this delicious bread for brunch or as a healthy snack or accompaniment with a meal. The yeast dough is flavoured with a fresh carrot purée, and grated carrots and spring onions add more colour and crunch.
Finely chop 250 g of the carrots and coarsely grate the remainder. Set the grated carrots aside. Cook the chopped carrots in the minimum of boiling water for 12–14 minutes or until soft. Drain and purée the cooked carrots in a food processor or blender, or mash them until smooth. Put the carrot purée in a sieve and press out as much moisture as possible, taking care not to press the carrots through the sieve. Leave the purée in the sieve to drain over a bowl.
Mix the white flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Heat the milk with 125 ml water until lukewarm. In a large bowl, mix together the carrot purée, the milk and water mixture and the oil. Stir in the white flour mixture to make a very soft dough. Gradually mix in the wholemeal flour to make a dough that will form a soft ball.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth but still soft and slightly moist. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with cling film and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (this will take about 2 hours).
Grease two 20 cm round deep cake tins and line the bottoms with greased greaseproof paper. Knock back the dough and knead for 2 minutes, then flatten it slightly. Sprinkle the grated carrots and spring onions over the top and continue kneading until they are well incorporated. If the carrots make the dough too moist, sprinkle it with a little extra flour and keep kneading until the flour is absorbed.
Cut the dough in half and cut each half into 8 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into smooth balls and arrange them in the prepared tins, one ball in the centre and the rest around the edge. Cover with a tea-towel (cling film may stick to the rolls when they rise) and set aside to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 200° C. Brush the tops of the rolls very lightly with beaten egg, then bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. To test if the bread is cooked, tip it out of the tin and tap the base with your knuckles: the bread should sound hollow, like a drum. If not, continue baking for 5 minutes and then test the bread again.
Remove the bread from the tins and transfer to wire racks to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Some more ideas
After dividing the risen dough in half, shape each piece into a free-form loaf on a lightly oiled baking tray, or put into two 450 g loaf tins. Leave to rise until doubled in volume, then bake as above. * For a spinach bubble bread, cook and purée 400 g young spinach leaves, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Use this to make the dough instead of the carrot purée. Add 2 tbsp finely snipped fresh chives to the dough with the spring onions instead of the grated carrot. * Add 2–3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, thyme or tarragon, with the vegetable purée (either carrot or spinach).
Carrots and wholemeal flour combine to ensure the bread provides plenty of fibre, important for control of blood levels of fats and sugars, as well as for healthy bowels.