By Megan Scott
October 2, 2020
We’ve reached that time of year where mornings have a brisk, chilly edge and a good, hearty breakfast feels exactly right. This recipe from Gutsy Grain fits the bill completely. Maybe the runny golden egg yolk is the first thing about this dish to capture your attention, but the real star is the thick slice of sourdough round underneath it that’s been handmade by Jamie Wegener, baker in chief of Gutsy Grain.
Gutsy Grain is a micro-bakery based out of Wegener’s and her husband Kenan Watkins’ home. The company launched in March and had a warm introduction to the community through the Secotan Market in Wanchese. A strong social media presence has helped boost the brand’s notoriety, as have the strikingly beautiful and incredibly tasty loaves of bread.
Wegener is a self-taught baker who has been doing it professionally for about eight years. Her bread has taste and texture unlike any other. The ingredients are simple, consisting of only flour, water, salt and a sourdough starter but Wegener’s expert touch makes all the chewy, tangy, crusty difference.
As you might suspect, the name Gutsy Grain and the inclusion of a sourdough starter offers a clue to the process. Sourdough is fermented, which means it’s a prebiotic and good for your gut health. It also means Wegener babysits each loaf for three to four days before shaping, baking, and bringing it to market. Once there, it sits among another 70 to 90 various loaves featuring local North Carolina Lindley Mills organic grains and pastries until they sell out, which usually happens within the first hour or so.
Wegener says baking is something she’s connected to and learned to have patience for. “(I) respect the role it plays in creating and nourishing those around us,” she says.
She identifies with the idea of “breaking bread” at one’s table and the way it can bring people together. “I think we’ve gotten away from some of that in modern fashion and feel a home-cooked meal paired with people and conversation actually serves a well-rounded purpose,” she says.
It seems the rest of the world has been bitten by the baking bug as well. Anyone who has strolled down the flour aisle at the grocery store during the first months of the pandemic knows shelves were pretty bare. And finding yeast in the supermarket? Forget about it. But if you did develop a new love for baking during quarantine or are just interested in learning to bake incredible bread like Gutsy Grain’s, Wegener is offering a class at the Island Farm in Manteo on Nov. 14. She says it’s essentially Sourdough 101. “We’re going to go through the education and technique of producing sourdough and what it means to bring a loaf to life.”
Fans and followers of Gutsy Grain’s Instagram know that Wegener is a civic-minded individual. “It is and will remain important to us that Gutsy Grain serves a purpose for our community in a full-circle fashion,” Wegener says.
She calls herself a “community baker.” She says her mission is not only to support those around her by feeding them wholesome offerings “but to also stand by my community’s side and encourage the importance of self-growth through educational opportunity, remaining connected to what’s important, and finding it within ourselves to apply our efforts — little or big —- each day. Lifting each other up and reminding others (of) the impact we have together when we share and put ‘purpose’ into ‘play’ … I think of it as fuel for the mind, body and soul.”
Wegener’s recipe is something she, her husband, and two little kids often enjoy at home. It combines all the best things: ripe tomatoes, creamy avocado, melty cheese, and local eggs from another Secotan Market vendor, Heavenly Portion Family Farm. All of this is piled high on a thick slice of Gutsy Grain’s perfect sourdough bread, which you can get most Saturday mornings at Secotan Market or every other Thursday morning at the mini market at Waveriders Coffee, Deli & Pub in Nags Head.
One bite will tell you everything you need in life is right there on the plate.
Jamie Wegener’s recipe for Morning Toast
Gutsy Grain sourdough bread, sliced thick
Sliced or shredded cheddar cheese
Avocado, flesh mashed with a fork to make it spreadable
Heavenly Portion local pasture-raised eggs, cooked over easy or however you love them
Salt, pepper, red pepper flake, to taste
- Top thick slices of Gutsy Grain sourdough bread with cheddar cheese and place in the toaster oven or broil under high heat, for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Place sliced tomatoes on top of the cheesy bread, spread mashed avocado on top of the tomato slices.
- Place cooked eggs on top of mashed avocado, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flake to taste, and serve!
Jamie Wegener of Gutsy Grain
What: Fresh sourdough and other yummy baked goods made from scratch using local Lindley Mills organic grains
When: Most Saturday mornings at the Secotan Market in Wanchese and every other Thursday morning at the mini market at Waverider’s in Nags Head
More info: Keep an eye on @gutsygrain on Instagram for market schedule and details about ticket sales for her sourdough making class in November.