What Exactly Is In The Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread?

We know there are oats, as they are sprinkled on top. But what makes it so dark? Is it rye flour? Is it chocolate — wait, it doesn’t taste like chocolate! Or does it?

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In truth, it’s a complex, sophisticated mix of ingredients that come together to create the amazing flavor of this bread. The best way to eat it, is slathered with butter. Skip the olive oil, and head straight for the butter. It’s also great with a sweet little fruit jam. The kids love it, and I wanted to make it at home — and of course, I wanted a sourdough version.

I’ve been looking over the web for copy cat recipes, and I tried several of them before I came to a version I liked enough to convert to sourdough.

The basics are the same — most of the copy cat recipes included:

Does the molasses and sourdough make this. technically, a health food?!

There is something important to know about this bread recipe before you try it: The dough is fairly easy to mix, but HARD to work with. To keep the bread tasty and light, the dough is as runny as cake batter, and as sticky as tar. I am far from mastering a technique to manage this dough. But — that’s OK — because it doesn’t affect the taste at all. So, don’t let that intimidate you.sourdough cheesecake bread2

Just follow these basic rules:

  1. Use a mixer to mix the dough.
  2. Use a spatula to pour the dough, just like a cake batter, into your cooking vessel.

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I saw pictures of perfectly shaped free form loaves — and I drooled. (Please, show me how!)  Mine must be “contained” in a loaf pan — or muffin tins. But, they still taste great. Practice makes perfect — so I’m glad my family loves this bread, so I’ll get lots of practice — soon I’ll have it mastered. 

The other trick was converting the ingredients to sourdough. Once I had my formula, I was on my way:

So, here it is:

  • 300 ml water
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 306 grams all-purpose flour
  • 108 grams sourdough starter
  • 1/2 TBS cocoa
  • 1/2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 TBS oil 
  • egg white (optional)
  • oats (optional)

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Directions

  1. In a saucepan, mix the water, coffee, molasses, cocoa, sugar, salt and oil. Heat, until the molasses and sugar are dissolved, but don’t let it boil. Turn off heat and let cool. If the mixture is too hot, you could kill your sourdough and your bread won’t rise! 
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour and sourdough starter in the mixing bowl of your mixer.
  3. Once the molasses mixture has cooled, add it to the flour mixture and turn on the mixer and let everything incorporate.
  4. You will be tempted to add more flour — you can, but don’t get too crazy. The stickier the dough, the softer the bread will be.
  5. Let dough rise overnight. If you’re not ready to bake in the morning, transfer dough to the refrigerator. This will really help build the flavors.
  6. Use a spatula, and a spoon, and scoop some of the mixture into well-oiled loaf pans or muffin tins.
  7. Brush the top with egg whites and sprinkle with oats. 
  8. Let rise for another hour. 
  9. Bake at 350 F 20-35 minutes roll/loaf.
  10. I like to inside to be just a little wet, when I pull them out of the oven, and let the heat continue to cook from the inside out while they cool. This helps keep the bread moist. 
  11. Slather with butter. 

 

 

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