One of the problems plaguing many people who work from 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton notwithstanding) is whether to have a decent breakfast at home, or forego it in order to enjoy a few extra moments of sleep. Even the most enthusiastic breakfast eater often opts for the snooze alarm, then settles for a soggy cellophane-wrapped sweet roll at the office.

At least one commuter I know -- my husband -- has found a way out of this workers' dilemma. A lover of sleep who allows himself a maximum of 12 1/2 minutes to stagger from bed to bathroom to closet to front door, he always takes time to grab breakfast and stuff it in his briefcase. On any given morning, it may include a piece of fresh fruit, a carton of yogurt and a homemade whole-grain muffin from the freezer. He eats this breakfast picnic-style at the office, while gearing up for another day of adman's madness.

Ideally, a portable morning meal should include all the components of a well-balanced breakfast (fruit, dairy products, breakfast meats and whole grains); it should require minimal preparation and should travel well. A briefcase is a handy carrier, but some breakfast-to-go converts may be skittish about transporting any food that way, for fear of winding up with a yogurt-frosted legal brief, or worse, pulling out a banana along with some manila folders at an early morning meeting. These faint-of-hearts can, of course, put everything in a plastic bag and take it to work in a roomy purse, a duffel bag, a canvas tote or, for those whose fashion sense is secure, a plain old brown bag.

Since the office placemat may be a desk blotter and dishwashing facilities nonexistent, the edibles should be easy to eat, without a lot of containers and utensils to carry home in the evening. Finger foods in disposable wraps are best. After all, this is a modest morning repast, not a feast for opening night at Wolf Trap.

So what's on the menu for breakfast-in-a-briefcase? To begin with, thick slices of nutritious homemade bread, like apple-walnut and whole-wheat raisin-pecan. (Recipes follow.) Though many breakfast eaters prefer bread toasted, these hearty selections have enough flavor to dispense with the trip under the broiler.

The apple-walnut, dense with fruit and topped with a crumbly mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, should satisfy a morning sweet tooth. The raisin-pecan bread -- made with eggs, honey and milk -- tastes good plain or made into "breakfast sandwiches" with any number of fillings; jelly or preserves, peanut butter, honey, apple butter, cream cheese or sweet butter sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are tasty choices.

Homemade muffins, made with whole-grain flour, oatmeal, bran cereal, wheat germ, fruit, nuts, eggs and milk, are also nutritious and easy to tote to work. The muffins, as well as thick slices of homemade bread, can be wrapped in foil and frozen, ready to go for a commuter who's dashing Dagwood-style out the door.

Cereal addicts who must have it with milk can carry dry cereal to work in plastic bowls with snap-on lids. If there are none in the cupboard, use a couple of recycled margarine tubs, or attend a Tupperware party. Even hot cereal (instant oatmeal, for instance) can be stirred up at work if there is a convenient source of hot water. Buy milk in the machine at the office, or carry it in a small thermos. Serious cereal eaters who don't want to deal with milky dishes may want to carry a sandwich bag full of a favorite brand and munch it dry. Sip simultaneously from a carton of milk, for nutrition's sake.

Aside from milk, dairy products can include yogurt, eggs and cheese. Eggs can be hard-boiled in the evening, ready to grab in the morning. People who hate hard yolks can compromise with a six-minute egg; the yolk is soft enough to appeal to three-minute egg lovers, and hard enough not to be too messy.

Though Americans tend to think of cheese as lunchtime or p Briefcase Breakfast By Anne Taubeneck Special to The Washington Post OO ne of the problems plaguing many people who work from 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton notwithstanding) is whether to O have a decent breakfast at home, or to forgo it in order to enjoy a few extra moments of sleep. Even the most enthusiastic breakfast eater often opts for the snooze alarm, then settles for a soggy cellophane-wrapped sweet roll at the office.

At least one commuter I know -- my husband -- has found a way out of this workers' dilemma. A lover of sleep who allows himself a maximum of 12 1/2 minutes to stagger from bed to bathroom to closet to front door, he always takes time to grab breakfast and stuff it in his briefcase. On any given morning, it may include a piece of fresh fruit, a carton of yogurt and a homemade whole-grain muffin from the freezer. He eats this breakfast picnic-style at the office, while gearing up for another day of adman's madness.

Ideally, a portable morning meal should include all the components of a well-balanced breakfast (fruit, dairy products, breakfast meats and whole grains); it should require minimal preparation and should travel well. A briefcase is a handy carrier, but some breakfast-to-go converts may be skittish about transporting any food that way, for fear of winding up with a yogurt-frosted legal brief, or worse, pulling out a banana along with some manila folders at an early morning meeting. These faint-of-hearts can, of course, put everything in a plastic bag and take it to work in a roomy purse, a duffel bag, a canvas tote or, for those whose fashion sense is secure, a plain old brown bag.

Since the office placemat may be a desk blotter and dishwashing facilities nonexistent, the edibles should be easy to eat, without a lot of containers and utensils to carry home in the evening. Finger foods in disposable wraps are best. After all, this is a modest morning repast, not a feast for opening night at Wolf Trap.

So what's on the menu for breakfast-in-a-briefcase? To begin with, thick slices of nutritious homemade bread, like apple-walnut and whole-wheat raisin-pecan. (Recipes follow.) Though many breakfast eaters prefer bread toasted, these hearty selections have enough flavor to dispense with the trip under the broiler.

The apple-walnut, dense with fruit and topped with a crumbly mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, should satisfy a morning sweet tooth. The raisin-pecan bread -- made with eggs, honey and milk -- tastes good plain or made into "breakfast sandwiches" with any number of fillings; jelly or preserves, peanut butter, honey, apple butter, cream cheese or sweet butter sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are tasty choices.

Homemade muffins, made with whole-grain flour, oatmeal, bran cereal, wheat germ, fruit, nuts, eggs and milk, are also nutritious and easy to tote to work. The muffins, as well as thick slices of homemade bread, can be wrapped in foil and frozen, ready to go for a commuter who's dashing Dagwood-style out the door.

Cereal addicts who must have it with milk can carry dry cereal to work in plastic bowls with snap-on lids. If there are none in the cupboard, use a couple of recycled margarine tubs, or attend a Tupperware party. Even hot cereal (instant oatmeal, for instance) can be stirred up at work if there is a convenient source of hot water. Buy milk in the machine at the office, or carry it in a small thermos. Serious cereal eaters who don't want to deal with milky dishes may want to carry a sandwich bag full of a favorite brand and munch it dry. Sip simultaneously from a carton of milk, for nutrition's sake.

Aside from milk, dairy products can include yogurt, eggs and cheese. Eggs can be hard-boiled in the evening, ready to grab in the morning. People who hate hard yolks can compromise with a six-minute egg; the yolk is soft enough to appeal to three-minute egg lovers, and hard enough not to be too messy.

Though Americans tend to think of cheese as lunchtime or cocktail-hour food, it's a favored breakfast item in many European countries. For a breakfast-to-go, hard or semi-hard cheese can be sliced or cut into chunks and carried to work in sandwich bags. Try cheddar paired with apples and jarlsberg with pears.

Both fresh and dried fruits are naturals for breakfasts-in-a-briefcase. Place large pieces of soft, juicy fruits, like peaches, in sandwich bags in case the skin splits. Small plastic dishes with covers will keep berries from being crushed.

Forget bacon and try a packable breakfast meat instead -- lean baked ham from the deli, or, if you've just had a raise, prosciutto. Team meats with boiled eggs or use them in variations of the breakfast sandwich: baked ham and swiss cheese, or for a sweet-and-salty treat, prosciutto with a thin layer of good-quality preserves.

For breakfasts-on-the-go, here are several of portable staples that will see you from punch-in time to lunch time without mid-morning hunger pangs.

APPLE-WALNUT BREAD (Makes 1 loaf) 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 2 eggs 1 cup unbleached white flour 1 cup whole-wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups chopped apple 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 3 tablespoons brown sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed (for topping)

In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs and blend well.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in apples and walnuts. Batter will be stiff.

Spoon into a greased and floured 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes, or until bread is done. To check for doneness, insert knife; it should come out clean. Set pan on a rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove bread from pan, place it on rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.

WHOLE-WHEAT RAISIN-PECAN BREAD (Makes 2 loaves) 1 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim) 1 1/2 cups water 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 7 tablespoons honey 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoons salt 2 packages dry yeast 7 1/2 to 8 cups whole-wheat flour 3/4 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnut

In a saucepan, heat milk with 1 cup of the water, butter and 6 tablespoons honey, until butter has melted. Stir to blend. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Add egg and salt; mix well.

When milk is lukewarm, mix the remaining tablespoon of honey with remaining 1/2 cup water. It should be warm, but not hot. Stir in yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, until active and bubbly.

Pour warm milk into a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture. Add 4 cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add raisins and nuts; work in well. Add 3 more cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing well.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, using as much of the remaining flour as needed, until dough becomes smooth and somewhat elastic. (Dough may also be kneaded by machine; however, since dough tends to be sticky and to cling to machine parts, floured hands work best for the last few minutes.)

Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease entire surface of dough lightly, and cover with a damp towel. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down, and let rise again, covered, until doubled in bulk. Punch down.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and cut in half. Pat each half evenly into a well-greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Set pans, covered with a damp towel, in a warm place, and let dough rise until barely even with tops of pans. (Bread will rise more as it bakes.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove loaves from pans. Bottoms should be nicely browned. Spread butter on tops, if desired, for a soft, rather than crunchy crust.

BANANA-BRAN MUFFINS (Makes 12) 1 cup unbleached white flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder Dash salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 1/4 cups bran flakes cereal 3/4 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim) 1 ripe banana, mashed

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Pour oil into a 1-cup (or larger) measuring cup, add egg and mix well. In a separate bowl, pour milk over cereal and let stand for about half a minute, stirring a few times. Add egg mixture, then banana, to cereal and blend.

Pour banana-bran mixture over dry ingredients. Stir just enough to moisten; do not overmix. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes, until tops are golden.

OATMEAL-DATE MUFFINS (Makes 12) 1 1/2 cups oatmeal 1 cup unbleached white flour 1 tablespoon baking powder Dash salt 1 cup chopped dates 1 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/4 cup honey 2 Tablespoons grated orange rind (optional)

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add dates and stir to combine. Set aside.

Pour milk into a 2-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add oil, egg and honey and blend well. Stir in orange rind, if desired.

Add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Stir just enough to moisten; do not overmix. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 degree for 18 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden.

SPICY WHOLE-WHEAT ZUCCHINI MUFFINS (Makes 12) 1 cup whole-wheat flour 3/4 cup unbleached white flour 1/4 cup wheat germ 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon allspice Dash salt 1 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim) 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup grated, unpeeled, raw zucchini 1/3 cup raisins

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder and soda, spices and salt. Set aside. Pour milk into a 2-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add egg and oil and blend well.

Pour milk mixture over dry ingredients; add zucchini and raisins. Stir just enough to moisten. Do not overmix. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes.