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A soft loaf of bread that embodies your favorite Carrot Raisin Salad…with one secret ingredient.

Carrot Raisin Bread

Once upon a time, I played the clarinet.

And then, one day (about 10 years ago), I chose not to anymore.

Maybe the reasons why are important, maybe they aren’t. Regardless, one day I discovered that I no longer loved the thing that had brought me such joy. I had lost my passion; I had to take a step back.

A few weeks ago, my parents came up to Chicago for a visit. I asked them to bring my instrument with them. I had found that, all these years later, I wanted to play again. No, I haven’t had much of a chance to practice regularly, but tonight I sat down for a few minutes and played. Nothing fancy – in fact, I spent a large chunk of time just playing scales. But it felt good. It felt right.

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would someday find a great calm in playing scales and runs of triplets, I would never have believed you. But with some age and within a different context, it all seemed to make sense. It’s not always easy and it certainly isn’t pretty most of the time, but it is right.

Sliced Carrot Raisin Bread

This bread feels like that. I never much cared for carrot and raisin salad as a kid. It felt like something I should eat, rather than something I wanted to eat. But now, as an adult and within a different context, the flavors seem to make sense. It all fits together and feels right. The sweet raisins and carrots balance out the slight tang that…wait for it…mayonnaise adds to the bread. That’s right, our secret ingredient is just a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. Admittedly, it feels a bit wrong to add mayonnaise to yeast dough, but in this context it all just works. Trust me on this one.

And much like everything else in life, baking bread – even one as perfectly delicious as this one – is not always pretty or easy. My apartment is eternally freezing, and my dough is often reluctant to rise, as it was the day that I baked this bread. But, instead of panicking (ok, maybe I panicked just a little bit), I trusted in the power of my favorite Red Star Platinum Yeast, threw the loaf in the oven, and said a little prayer that it would bake up appropriately.

I know we are relying on photos here, but I hope you can see the pillowy softness of those slices of bread. Boyfriend assures me that it was pure science that caused the loaf to rise perfectly while it baked. I personally like to think that tiny Red Star Yeast fairies live in my oven.

We all have our beliefs.

Head on over to Red Star Yeast’s site for this Carrot Raisin Bread recipe. While you’re there, be sure to investigate your own baking troubles with their handy troubleshooting guide. It will be like baking fairies are living in your oven, too.

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Toasted Carrot Raisin Bread

I was compensated by Red Star Yeast for my time to make and photograph this recipe, but all opinions are, as always, 100% my own.

27 Comments

  1. Ok. This honestly made me cry a little. Sigh. It’s tough being a mother sometimes. On another note, this is like Ma-Ma’s salad in bread form. I’m ok with that. As a matter of fact, so ok that I need to make this pronto tonto. Then, perhaps, I’ll go downstairs and play some scales on my piano. xoxo

    1. This post made me get super warm and fuzzy too! Sounds like the three of us need to practice our instruments, then have a oboe-clarinet-piano ensemble while some delicious carrot raisin bread is baking!

  2. I wished so badly my parents had made me take up an instrument when I was young (preferably the piano…although, not like we had a piano for me to practice on!) But my mother constantly reminds me that I was defiant and impatient and would never have put up with lesson and after lesson. Boo.

    Never cared much for carrot and raison salad, either, but holla! I would totally devour this bread! Gimme.

    1. I had more issues with practicing between lessons. Oops. I still did it, just not always joyfully. But I always enjoyed when I could play a piece well, so…

      Gimme all the bread!

  3. SERIOUSLY, I played the Oboe!!! Band mates unite! This post just tickled me and brought back so many fond memories of my band days. I’m feeling inspired to break out my oboe and play a little tune…although something tells me I’d probably have to do a lot of practicing before anything resembling music came out. Baking is like music. So therepeutic and rewarding. Love this bread, my dear! And love you!!

    1. Also, my grandfather apparently said that a beginning oboist sounded like a dying calf looking for its mother. In addition to this (and Momma started out majoring in oboe in college, so she became quite an accomplished oboist), he decided when she was in high school to have her teach his Shrine brothers (or whatever they were called) to play those double reed instruments that they play like snake charmers–you know what I’m talking about? Anyway, by the time she got to them, they were drunker than cootie brown, so there she was…little southern teenage girl trying to be polite to these middle-age drunken men wanting to learn how to play their double reed instrument. It was a one night thing and she told her daddy “never again”. Haha. And you are right. I have lots of stories, all to my husband’s chagrin.

      1. By golly, the Swope DNA runs thick in m’blood, I say! Dying calf looking for its mother, ha!! Some people are definitely not partial to the sound of the Oboe, but IIIIII love it! I love all double reeded instruments (although I’m not sure what the snake charmer instruments are called either). Sounds like Grandmomma had some fun musical experiences.

        P.S. Who is Cootie Brown? I love you southern folk and your expressions!

  4. Super impressed that you remember how to play the clarinet 10 years later, as I haven’t played the saxophone in just as long and I’m pretty sure the only thing I remember is how to hold it.

    But more importantly, this bread. SO FLUFFY.

    1. Haha, I played sax in jazz band in jr high but do NOT remember anything with that one. I do have it up here, though. I have my great-grandfather’s saxophone, isn’t that neat? I can’t believe I just used the word “neat” completely seriously.

    1. Boyfriend played violin! Unfortunately his youngest brother lost said violin when he was borrowing it. I have high hopes he’ll get another someday and start playing again. And then we can all eat bread and play music together! AAAA-men.

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