Ultimate Breakfast Bread

Every once in a while, I get crazy ideas in my head (shocking, I know) that just have to be tried immediately.  This weekend I had just such a moment.  Breakfasts in our house lately have felt, well, BORING.  Don’t get me wrong; we’ve all been eating, even L. (whose indifference to breakfast is legendary), and most of the time our morning sustenance has been pretty tasty.  J. and I tend to have to grab things on the run, so we’ve become masters of concocting a 5-minute smoothie with whatever happens to be in the house at the moment, sharing the dregs of  the pitcher with P., who’s usually ready for breakfast #4 or 5 by the time he settles into his car seat to head off to school.  To supplement the smoothies, we grab toast (preferably homemade bread, if I’ve been able to muster it) or a container of dry Cheerios or a leftover waffle to be heated up in the kitchen at work.  These choices also tend to be what the kids gravitate towards on most mornings, though they’ll eat their Cheerios with milk and spoons, like civilized people; and often some peanut butter, jam, bananas, or oranges will make their way to the boys’ plates.

Nobody’s complaining.  I just get tired of the food ruts we find ourselves in, early in the morning, and generally get to a place where I feel as if I HAVE to get a little excitement into the mix or I’d rather not bother with eating at all — just growl into my coffee and slouch my way through the morning, regretting the growling of my stomach, but unwilling to stare into another baggie of dry cereal.  When these moods hit me, it doesn’t often take much in the way of thought to come up with some half-baked idea for a new breakfast phenomenon.  It’s as if my brain is subconsciously inventing the solution to my problem before I’m even really aware that the problem exists.

This weekend, I was beginning to sulk my way through a breakfast rut when a list of ingredients suddenly popped into my head: muffins; oatmeal; yogurt; fruit; maple syrup; granola.  All of these are generally in heavy breakfast rotation, in our house, and in some combination or other they can pretty neatly sum up my favorite morning options — unless you happen to show up at my door with a really good everything bagel and a platter of smoked salmon, in which case you’ll be my new best friend. 

As the list of breakfast items swirled in my brain, an image emerged from the mist…

Ultimate Breakfast Bread

Why not combine all these lovely things into one item?  I’d never tried it before, but suddenly, it made perfect sense.  Pack the texture and nutrition of granola into a muffin-like form; add some good fruits and yogurt; keep it on the less-sweet side; and I was pretty sure that the whole thing would work just fine.

 
Using the basics of a regular old quickbread recipe, but without any sugar, I tinkered around in the kitchen until I had a batter that satisfied me.  The version I made on Saturday was packed with oatmeal, almonds, blueberries, and banana, but I’m relatively sure you could use this template as inspiration to go wild with whatever ingredients happen to inspire you.  As a matter of fact, I’d scarcely gotten it into the oven before I started musing on making an apple-oat version, or an orange-raspberry; but as a first attempt, blueberries and bananas seemed the most classic way to go.  (Not to mention the fact that my freezer, due to a careless error on a shopping list, is currently teeming with blueberries, so I’m trying to use them up as quickly as possible.)
 

Ah, sustenance.

This bread is just barely sweet, so you may want to eat it with just a light drizzle of honey or a smear of preserves — we’ve been enjoying it as is, but I’ll admit that purely based on its appearance, the palate kind of expects something a bit more sweet than what it gets on first bite.  It’s also quite filling and packed with texture from all the oats and almonds, which give it a great crunch.  J. said he thought there were a few too many nuts for his taste, but P., L., and I have been enjoying it; and after all, if I’m going to advertise something as the “Ultimate Breakfast Bread,” there’s got to be enough good stuff in it to really stick to the kids’ ribs as they start their school day. 

 I’ve been toying with the idea of griddling it with just a touch of butter, or even turning it into French toast, but I’ve remained virtuous so far.  With the loaf almost gone, I doubt I’ll get around to either of those promising variations anytime soon.  But if you do try this bread, and you change it up in any way, let me know how it turns out.  I’ll certainly be looking for variations on this theme the next time my palate has the morning blahs.
 
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5 Responses to Ultimate Breakfast Bread

  1. Blanca says:

    Thanks! Making it tonight. My next attempt is your burger muffins. They sound intriguing.

  2. B says:

    When you say that you may need to cover w/ foil if bread starts to get too brown, should you cover it before you put it in, or can you just cover it during the process? I was told to never remove baking bread before it’s ready or it can sink in on you.

    • You can cover during the process, no problem — this bread is so sturdy with all the nuts and oats in it that it should hold up just fine. Besides, mine didn’t reach that stage of browning until we were about 20 minutes from the end of cooking, which is plenty of time for it to be relatively stable. Just be quick about the foil thing, and if you can manage it, don’t remove the bread entirely from the oven. Get your sheet of foil ready, open the oven door, slide the rack out carefully, and tent the bread with the foil (it doesn’t need to be crimped nicely or secured, just draped over, really). Then slip the rack back into place and close the door quickly.

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