Coffee + Bread = Divine

What would that morning toast be without your normal cup of Joe? That moment of peace when you sit down with your favourite newspaper, or iPad subscription, or blog and get to sip your coffee and eat your toast. Alternatively you are rushing through the streets of London (with more resemblance to the jungle than modern civilization), trying to balance a cup of store bought coffee in one hand without spilling it on the next person who will elbow you as they are rushing past you and carrying the Metro and your toast in the other, potentially trying to read all about what happened in town last night (mulit-tasking on the streets and in the tube is a favourite past time of Londoners because they are so stressed they never have time to do just the one thing). Or there’s the: I’ll save my coffee and toast until I get in front of the computer at work because then at least I can eat something nice whilst doing something boring (or you simply need the caffeine rush the moment you sit down, hungry for a new day).

Whatever way your morning starts, it’s likely to contain coffee and toast, at least a few times a week, or month. Now someone came up with the brilliant idea of simply infusing the toast with coffee. Or rather: bake a break with coffee in it. We were very impressed. Especially for the Londoners this will make life easier as they only have to carry their toast, the Metro, their Oyster card and their bag. They can skip the cup of coffee. Or at least wait till they get to the office.

So here’s a new way to make a perfect morning toast. Enjoy! (The recipe was borrowed from Alexandra’s Kitchen, so Alexandra is the genius here, but we believe she borrowed the recipe from somewhere else.)

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Yield= 2 traditional loafpan-sized loaves

2 + 2/3 cups coffee (at the most — I used less than 1 cup of coffee in this batch and substituted water for the remainder)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 package active dry yeast
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Combine coffee, the 2/3 cup water and the honey in a large bowl or in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Stir yeast into 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Let stand until dissolved then add to coffee mixture.

2. Whisk together salt, cornmeal and flours. If using a stand mixer, add all of the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Knead for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and wrapped around the dough hook. If kneading by hand, stir in about half of the dry mixture. Add more and more of the mixture until you need to turn the dough out onto a work surface to get it all incorporated. Knead for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth.

3. Place dough in a large bowl greased with a light layer of olive oil. Turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel (run a tea towel under hot water, ring it out, then place on top of bowl) and let rise until doubled in bulk (this may take as long as 2 hours). (Tip: If you are looking for a warm spot to let your dough to rise, turn your oven to its highest setting and let it warm for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, place your tea towel-covered bowl of dough inside and close the oven door.)

4. Once dough has doubled, punch it down. Grease two standard sized loaf pans generously with butter. Divide dough into two equal portions. Quickly shape each portion into a loaf-like mass and plop into prepared pans. Let rise until dough reaches just below the top of the pan. This may take as long as 45 minutes. (I like to place my loaf pans on top of the oven while it preheats. This usually speeds up the second rising.) Preheat oven for 375ºF.

5. Bake loaves for 45 minutes. Turn loaves out onto cooling rack. If you can refrain, let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting.