In Germany breakfast is all about bread. People start their day with a fresh roll (Brötchen) and or a slice of bread topped with butter/margarine and cheese, cold cuts, jam, or even nutella.
Another popular breakfast food is cereal in the form of corn flakes or müesli.
Müesli is Schwitzerdütsch (Swiss German). It is the diminutive of Mues, which means something like mash, puree or even cooked meal. Müesli means something like “small or little meal”. Today Mus (the standard German form of Mues) means something like mash or puree (we call applesauce “Apfelmus”).
When I became a vegan, I started to eat less bread (because I didn’t want to replace the regular toppings like cheese with vegan versions or buy expensive spreads) and more müesli. It can easily be homemade and served with soy milk. These days, I rarely buy packaged müesli mixes, but make my own from oats, fresh fruit, flax, and non-dairy milk.
Sometimes I want both though, a slice of bread and a bowl of müesli. On these days I reach for a slice of fresh müesli bread topped with a thin layer of vegan margarine and some sugar beet syrup or banana slices. If you are a fan of combining sweet and savoury, you can also reach for your favourite savoury spread.
This bread is made with a generous amount of whole spelt flour and there’s no added sugar in the recipe. Only raisins are used to sweeten it. It also contains healthy fats from several kinds of nuts and seeds. Made with a large amount of water and a sourdough starter, this bread keeps fresh and moist for a long time. Of course you can also use it for French toast or bread pudding. If you haven’t made a sourdough starter yet, it’s time to start. You can find a tutorial here.
This bread takes some time and patience. You have to prepare your sponge about 16 hours before you actually start making the bread. Bread made with sourdough starter can be either dense or as light and fluffy as a bread made with commercial yeast. It all depends on your ingredients. If you make your starter from white wheat flour, this will result in a mildly sour starter perfect for white wheat breads like ciabatta or French bread. If you choose rye flour for your starter, the result is a sour and strong starter which is great for hearty rye bread. For this recipe I chose a starter made from white wheat flour. Like a regular yeast bread it has a very soft crumb and a mild flavour, so don’t be afraid to use a starter (I probably write this for German readers as we tend to associate sourdough with strong and dense rye bread).
When using a sourdough starter, it’s important to have patience. The bread won’t rise as fast as a bread made with regular yeast. Therefore the second rise can take up to two hours, depending on the surrounding temperature. Usually two hours are sufficient. Don’t let your yeast bread rise for much longer. You might overproof it and you’ll end up with a flat and dense loaf.
But you can also safe time during the first rise. In bread baking, the main function of the first rise iswater absorbtion. Therefore you don’t have to let your bread rest for 60 or even 90 minutes. 30 minutes is long enough for the flour to absorb all the water it needs.
Müsli-Bread (Makes one 950 g loaf)
To make the starter:
100 g all-purpose flour
100 g water
1 tablespoon active sourdough starter
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Cover the bowl and let sit in a warm place for about 16 hours or until airy and bubbly.
To make the bread:
20 g pistachios (2 tablespoons)
30 g hazelnuts (1/4 cup)
100 g raisins (3.5 oz)
10 g sunflower seeds (1 tablespoon)
8 g flaxseed (1 tablespoon)
50 g oats (1/3 cup)
200 ml water
200 g starter (see above)
100 g all-purpose flour (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup)
100 ml water
300 g whole spelt flour (2 1/2 cups)
10 g (1/2 tablespoon) salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Soak pistachios, hazelnuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, and oats in 200 ml water. Soak for at least on hour. Don’t skip this step, it’s important for trapping moisture in the bread.
Combine soaked nut mixture, soaking water and starter. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Using your hands, knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is elastic. The dough will still be very sticky, but don’t worry about that. Breads made with many seeds and spelt flour require more water than regular breads made from only wheat flour. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Transfer the dough onto a floured working surface. Knead for 1-2 minutes and place in a 750 g banneton or in a flat round bowl. Let the dough rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F). Make sure to preheat a baking sheet as well. When the loaf is ready to be baked, have a piece of parchment paper and 1/2 cup of hot water ready. Carefully take the hot baking sheet out of the oven using pot holders. Line with parchment paper and transfer dough onto the sheet. Transfer to oven. Pour hot water on the bottom of your oven to produce steam. Close door and reduce temperature to 200°C (400°F). Bake for 50 minutes until golden brown.