Feb 20, 2013

Whole Wheat Mountain Bread #TwelveLoaves

Though the idea of a good breakfast to start the day doesn't elude me, I don't make it a point to have one. No matter how much or not much I ate the night before, there's an incompatibility going on between my body and my mind for the first hours after I wake up. I already wrote about this, when I posted the muesli with blueberries, but let's discuss it again, shall we? After all, it is the most important meal of the day.

I fully understand the concept of fuelling your body to be able to perform better during the day, a very noble idea, though not necessarily in sync with my needs. I need my coffee when I wake up. And then another coffee. That takes from one to two hours during which I can't think about actual food. 
Oh, I'm sure I'm not alone here, right?

I have a hard time tasting if I happen to be baking early due to whatever deadline I have, and I'm talking about sweet things, don't think of putting a piece onion or avocado or salad dressing in front of me so early. You might not like my reaction.
A few hours later, it's a whole different movie. Suddenly the idea of eggs or toast and a yogurt, even a piece of cake sounds dreamy. That moment does set me up for a better day, with no hunger pangs of any kind.

I largely attribute the latter to eating without balance, all carbs or all protein, or worse, all sweet. My body then starts going through a rainbow of needs, first salty, or is it vinegar-y?, then how about something with chocolate, which, if left open to debate half an hour later it might, just like that, turn into a need for some garlicky hummus followed by dulce de leche half an hour later. 

Do you see a pattern? Totally unbalanced. And never satisfied. And please tell me I'm not alone. 

So a balanced first meal, not to call it breakfast since it happens around 11am, does make the whole fuel-for-the-body idea a good one. You do need fuel, just try to get the premium kind, it will make you feel better.
This bread is my latest addition to my late breakfasts, which are also happening in an orderly fashion because I started going to my pilates classes again at noon, something that had been left behind the last three years - since I had decided to open a Café, which I closed three months ago for those who don't know -, and stopped having a life. 

Now, things are slowly returning to normal. A happy feeling. 

This is my february contribution to Twelve Loaves, the bread group founded by Lora, of Cake Duchess
Baking bread at home is such a wonderful experience, it can completely change your perspective about it. So we post each month with a different theme. We´re having an open theme, bake whatever-we-want kind of month. This is my latest favorite whole wheat bread and I hope it encourages you to bake more bread.

Check out all the entries for this month in the linky party below.

I love this bread toasted with homemade fig jam. I always made a regular jam with not much more than figs and sugar, but lately I've been using Kathy's, of Bakeaway With Me, recipe.

This batch I flavored with cinnamon and tequila.

a bit adapted from Bread for all Seasons, by Beth Hensperger

Makes 2 round loaves


For the sponge:
½ cup cold water
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cups boiling water
1 ¾ teaspoons dry yeast
¼ cup honey
¼ cup warm water (105º to 115º)
4 Tbs dry milk powder
¼ cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour

For the dough:
3 Tbs olive oil
½ Tbs salt
1 Tbs sesame seeds, ground
1 Tbs flax seeds, ground
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 to 2 ¼ cups bread or all purpose flour
Additional wheat bran and cornmeal, for rolling and sprinkling

Cinnamon Tequila Fig Jam, see recipe below


For the sponge: In the bowl of the stand mixer (or a large bowl if making the bread by hand), put cold water and cornmeal. Whisk and let stand 5 minutes. Add boiling water while whisking and let stand another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle dough over warm water with one teaspoon honey and stir to dissolve. Let stand a few minutes until foamy.
To the cornmeal mixture, add the rest of the honey and sponge ingredients. Add the yeast mixture, mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula, cover with plastic wrap and let it double and be bubbly, about 1 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

For the dough: Gently stir the dough down with a wooden spoon or spatula. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer, and add the oil, salt, ground seeds and whole wheat flour. Attach the dough hook and mix on low speed, adding white flour, ½ cup at a time. When you have added 1 ½ cups of bread or all purpose flour, knead for a minute or two at medium-low speed. Continue adding bread flour by tablespoons until you have a soft dough that is still a bit sticky but just clears the sides of the bowl. It should not be batter-like but not stiff either. You might need ¼ to ½ cup more bread flour than stated in the recipe. The total kneading time should be about 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer dough to a greased bowl, turn to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 2 to 3 hours.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. You will see that it is much less sticky. Divide the dough in two equal portions. Shape each one into as tight a ball as possible, and roll them in wheat bran to coat completely. Transfer to a cornmeal-sprinkled baking tray, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. They won´t double in size.
Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC about 20 minutes before you´re going to bake the bread. When ready, bake the loaves in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Decrease the tº to 350ºF /180ºC and continue baking for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden and bottoms sound hollowed when tapped with your fingers. Switch the position of the baking tray halfway through to ensure even baking.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.
The bread can be frozen (I slice it first), wrapped in foil or plastic, for at least a month.

The sponge ready to use
Before the final rise

Ready to go into the oven

For the cinnamon tequila fig jam: follow the recipe for the grand marnier spiked jam, adding 1 stick cinnamon to the fig, sugar and orange juice while it cooks. After removing from heat, add 2 Tbs tequila or more to taste. Can according to directions.


  1. Paula!
    I love this bread! and I am totally with you! I wake up extra early so I can have my coffee in silence and by myself. . I must have my coffee. . no one should even attempt to talk to me until I have had at least 2 cups, like you.
    It also takes another hour or 2 before I'm hungry. . so I'm the same way. I know this is bad b/c breakfast is "the most important meal of the day" . . I still have it, just later :) I usually wake up around 6:30am and don't eat until 9:30am or 10am. is that bad? probably is. .

    This bread looks so hearty and comforting. . like a good bread should! Love it!

  2. I adore WW bread, and yours looks outstanding! And such gorgeous photos with the jam (YUM! I remember seeing Kathy's recipe)!

  3. Your bread looks stunning my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Oh my .. this looks great. I need more practice on bread .. you guys make such lovely loaves. Great job!

  5. You continue to amaze me with the food items you create, Paula! This is no exception! What a gorgeous bread! Can I have a slice, or more, please? :)

  6. I'm a breakfast eater. I have to eat something within an hour after I wake up. Most days it is right after I wake up. I'm always amazed though with people who can go without eating, it's something my body just won't adapt to. Now your hearty bread is something I would love to have for breakfast or any time of the day. I do enjoy a good wheat bread.

  7. The slice with cheese and jam looks amazingly good!

  8. I can't imagine my mornings without breakfast. I am amazed with people who can go without having breakfast after getting up. I like your whole wheat bread. I can not bake it in the morning for breakfast, no patience.....I have to bake it during the day...:)

  9. Wow, this bread looks perfect! Wonderful photography!!

  10. I'm one of those people who has to eat pretty much as soon as I've woken up - I would never have the patience to wait for a loaf of bread to bake before eating it, I'd have to make it the night before! These look lovely :-)

  11. Wow, I love all the whole grains and seeds in this beautiful loaf!

  12. I need BREAKFAST. The whole day I would have felt lost if I didn't have a proper breakfast. Fiber is something good for you to kick start the day.

  13. Gorgeous, Paula! I never eat as soon as I wake…I usually have my tea, read or listen to the news…and then finally get around to eating!! This bread looks perfect for breakfast!

  14. This is a great recipe...!!! I love breakfast, but on business days it's impossible to have time to enjoy it, so we only ave Saturdays and Sundays to sit all the family to have a very big breakfast. Don't know if you are familiar with Peruvian food, but we love to eat...!!!

    1. Hola Nydia! Si conozco algo de comida peruana, vivo en bs as. Por aca está muy de moda y además algunos lugares la preparan muy bien. A veces te dejo comentarios en tu blog con el nombre de Jengibre Azul, que es mi blog en castellano.

  15. Beautiful bread. So glad to have found your blog and following on RSS and Twitter.

  16. I need my breakfast, or I'm a cranky disaster! I am best fueled with whole grains and a bit of protein. Your irresistible whole wheat bread would be perfect!

  17. Wow what a stunning and perfect loaf! Beautiful and I am so impressed! I love the addition of the seeds to the dough. But breakfast? I'd be nibbling on this all day!

  18. I love freshly baked bread... the aroma is just amazing, and your fig jam WOW! I have to make that too... what a great story, thanks for sharing.

    Pop over to my site and say hi when you have the chance :)

  19. That bread looks fantastic for any meal. When I was in school I never ate breakfast because it was way too early. Now that my schedule is more flexible, I really enjoy breakfast after I've been up for at least an hour. But I think you have to do what works for you.

  20. Paula, I need you to come and teach me how you do is so beautifully! These loaves are stunning and I can see they taste as good as they look! I must try this, lose my fear of yeast! Were you ever afraid of yeast? I know I wil be making this before the pandoro, in fact I might just got get the flour now. ~ David

    1. How the heck did you end up being afraid of yeast David? It´s your friend if you treat her with care. Yeast baking has been my first love in the kitchen since the beginning. I simply love it and find it challenging in the best possible way. This bread is really good, one of the best simple, everyday loaves I´ve ever made, and I´ve made a ton. Now, the pandoro is a bit more sophisticated, a totally different experience.

  21. Finally! A person who cannot abide food first thing in the morning. I have read all the stuff telling me I need to fuel my body, but I just can't get the food past my lips. I need two (at least) cups of coffee, my morning paper and about two hours to pass before food can get through my teeth. I love toasted home-made bread with Raspberry Freezer Jam and lots of butter on it. In the spring, fall and summer, this is taken on the deck while I look at the mountains and hear the birds at the feeders. Your bread would be great along with a slice or two of Swiss cheese. I will be baking it today and offer a slice to my feathered friends. I just signed up and am looking forward to many more hearty recipes.


  22. Why are you so far away from me? I feel you about the coffee in the morning. And then a little more coffee. If you were closer, I'd have a 3rd cup with you and hope you would have some of this gorgeous bread to share. That jam...wow!xx

  23. I must tell you that this bread is fast becoming my favorite! I have been making it for a couple of months and it is so baker-friendly that I haven't made it the same way twice. I keep forgetting to restock sesame seeds, but millet is a great sub - also polenta in place of cornmeal, etc. My DH actually got mad at me because I sliced into a fresh loaf of this when we still had a half loaf of another kind on the counter - please! I make it, I decide what kind I want when - men!

    1. I'm thrilled to hear that you love it Jane! I'm like you too, I add a tbs of this and that or sub some flour. Thanks for stopping by!

  24. Paula, I loved this bread! I made it for the SRC reveal day and already can't wait to make it again. Next time, I plan to try the cinnamon tequila jam to go with it!


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