Savory Carrot Bread
makes one loaf

1 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tbsp honey
4 to 5 cups whole-wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp dried dill
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the buttermilk, butter, eggs, and honey and beat on low speed until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine 4 cups of the flour, the baking powder, five-spice, salt, baking soda, and dill. Stir with a whisk to blend. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then beat in the carrots and nuts just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to incorporate the ingredients.

Turn the dough into a well-floured work surface and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. Knead the flour into it, adding more as needed, until the dough is barely sticky. On the prepared pan, shape it into an oblong approximately 10 inches long, 5 inches wide, and no more than 2 inches high. Cut a large shallow X into the top with a sharp knife.

Bake the bread for one hour, or until it is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

-Ann Martin Rolke, Hands-Off Cooking