Worth its Weight in Gold [Bricks]

Dark as a solid block of dried molasses and boasting a density that could very well rival lead, vollkornbrot is one serious baked good. As I’ve affectionately nicknamed this loaf “brick bread,” it’s no secret that the texture is entirely different from the standard soft, fluffy American sandwich loaf or crusty French baguette. Not a forgettable filler or bland vehicle for jams or spreads, no sir, this German bread means business. Though easily obtained in most health food stores under the guise of “fitness bread,” shrink-wrapped and alarmingly shelf-stable, those flimsy slices can’t compare to the fresh stuff.

Thickly built on whole grains, and often nuts and seeds, each bite is a whole new textural experience. In fact, the traditional loaves don’t employ the use of any flour at all, employing only cooked wheat, spelt, or rye berries to hold them together. Variably crunchy and chewy, a proper vollkornbrot won’t break teeth, contrary to how some models may appear, but they certainly won’t dissolve into insubstantial fluff on the tongue. Think of each slice as a portable bowl of hot whole grain cereal, perfect for topping with any sweet or savory spread desired. So hearty and filling that just one small piece could power you through a grueling morning’s work, this is solid fuel indeed.

Not convinced yet? Try slicing it thin and assembling some dainty open-faced tea sandwiches. The contrast of that wholesome, grainy melange with light, crunchy cucumbers combines to create a divine little snack. Nothing if not versatile, my preconceived concept of brick bread” has been utterly and totally cast aside thanks to this beauty- Even if my own approach may be far from traditional.

Brick Bread (Faux-Vollkornbrot)
Inspired by Seitan is my Motor

3/4 Cup Hard Red Wheat Berries
3/4 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Second Addition:
3/4 Cup Steel-Cut Oat Groats
3/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Yeast

Final Dough:
1/3 Cup Sprouted Adzuki Beans
2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

It’s a somewhat long process to make this bread, so above all else, you must have an ample supply of patience on hand! I highly recommend reading the recipe all the way though so you know what kind of process is involved.

First, mix together the ingredients for the starter in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for a full 24 hours.

Once that time has elapsed, add in the “second addition” ingredients, mix well, and let sit for another 3 hours before proceeding.

Finally, you can add in everything called for in the “final dough.” This is where my bread greatly diverges from traditional recipes. I use flour to hold everything together, because it seemed like that mass of grains would never create a solid loaf otherwise. Mix well, and kneed for 10 – 15 minutes to activate the gluten. Once smooth and elastic, roll the dough into a log and gently place it into a lightly greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Let rise for about 1 hour before preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the crust is evenly amber brown. If it seems to be browning too quickly, you can tent a piece of foil over the top of the loaf pan. Let cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.

Makes 1 Loaf

Printable Recipe


42 thoughts on “Worth its Weight in Gold [Bricks]

  1. Oh. Oh. OH! Hannah! Brilliant! Love! When I was in Germany, I got hit with one of the worst flus I’ve ever experienced, which included losing my sense of taste. One of the only things I could vaguely taste was this type of desnse bread. I loved it. And I can’t believe you’ve come up with a recipe! I really really really must get over my fear of yeast…

  2. Brick bread. Pff. Okay, just kidding. Your bread looks like the perfect edible brick! And those beans, that’s a fantastic idea and remembers me of the Vollkornbread with soybeans I used to get at my parents favourite bakery.

  3. oooh – I’ve always liked the store-bought “fitness bread”. Dense bread is so satisfying! I can’t wait to give this a try! Thanks!

  4. Awesome! I think your description is spot on- your bread certainly looks chewy, wholesome, and delicious.

    The Germans really know their bread.

    Just curious, what kind of spread is that on your open-faced sandwich?

  5. Lovely. I have just got something similar in the oven (a very brick-like but yummy bread recipe from ‘ExtraVeganZa’), but can’t wait to try this recipe and the one at Seitan Is My Motor as well.

  6. I use to buy bread from Germany at Aldi like this, but they stoped carrying it.
    I love making bread, and this is bread as it was long time ago, when it provided all of the nutrition needed for the day.
    I would love to try this out! :D

  7. Interesting! Barbara, you are so inspirational. I have no idea where to source some of the ingredients in Australia. But thinking about this makes me excited.

  8. This looks very similar to Danish ryebread. I won’t buy the stuff here in the US because it tastes terrible. Instead I wait for relatives to bring it over when they visit, which is like once a year.Sigh.

  9. Hi! Your bread looks wonderful, however, I cannot eat wheat and was wondering if you’d made this with anything besides wheatberries or could recommend and alternative. Thanks!

  10. I’ve made many brick breads in my day…only they weren’t intentional and were anything but the delicious, hearty loaf you’ve created! I am a huge fan of “stuff” in my bread (nuts, seeds, etc) and each of your slices looks like it’s bursting with goodness.

  11. That looks amazing….I could eat the picture :) Do you think I could use whole oat groats instead? I have rolled and I have whole, but no steel cut. If I had to, I could find some. What about the Adzuki beans? Can I use another instead? Which?

  12. I truly love breads that are a little heavier then the regular ones, and this looks well… like a brick indeed… but a delicious one!

  13. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this bread on the shelf before.. but this freshly baked version of yours looks really good! I love dense hearty breads like this.

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