Saturday, November 9, 2019

Molasses Brown Bread - Similar to Cheesecake Factory's

I recently tried a loaf of Cheesecake Factory's brown bread that I found it at my local grocery store.  It was in love at first bite and serious addicting.  It's slightly sweet, with hints of chocolate, molasses and coffee. Those of you who've eaten at Cheesecake Factory restaurant were likely given a variety basket of breads with their brown bread in it.  It's delicious!

Ever since I bought that loaf of bread, I've been on a quest to try and duplicate it at home.  There are many copycat recipes out there; some with honey, some with brewed coffee, or espresso and various mixtures of flours and liquids.  I tried a couple of them but they just didn't come close enough to the color, flavor and texture I was looking for.  I wanted to find one that included most of the ingredients I found on listed on the CF Brown Bread package I found at the store.

Then, I found one recipe using a water roux, a Japanese method of mixing small amount of flour with hot water before making the bread dough.  That recipe had the texture I was looking for not quite the taste.  So I adapted that recipe, changed a couple of ingredients and added a couple I found on the package, and I think I found exactly the taste and texture I was hoping for!  This is what they looked like just before baking...

I decided to make six small free-style loaves rather than large loaves, baguettes or rolls, but am looking forward to experimenting with other shapes or even bread bowls.  Speaking of which, this bread tastes absolutely wonderful with soup not to mention just plain slathered with butter.

On of my favorite ways to use my Molasses Brown Bread is to make egg salad sandwiches but it also makes wonderful Jarlsberg grilled cheese sandwiches with a bowl of tomato soup for dunking.  And don't forget, avocado toast would be soooo good made with this bread.

Molasses Brown Bread

Printable Recipe

I want to thank Amy at U Try It for the inspiration for this recipe, which I've adapted.

The water roux needs to be made the night before and refrigerated. It must come to room temperature before using.  This recipe uses a bread machine but you can use a dough hook on a stand mixer or by knead by hand for about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow dough to proof (covered with a tea towel) for a hour or until the dough doubles in size before proceeding to shape the dough.

Makes 6 small freestyle loaves, 3 baguette loaves, 12 hamburger sized rolls, or 18 smaller, dinner-size rolls.

For the water roux:

3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour

For the Molasses Brown Bread:

1 cup warm heavy cream (whipping cream) or double cream
Room temperature water Roux
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tablespoons wheat bran (not wheat germ)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

For the oat topping:

1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water (at room temperature)
2-3 tablespoons old fashioned oats

To make the water roux the night before:

Place bread flour in a small bowl, pour boiling water over the bread flour a little at a time, stirring quickly with a fork to combine until smooth.  Allow to cool and then wrap the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

To make the Molasses Brown Bread:

Take the water roux out of the refrigerator at least an hour before using. It should be at room temperature.

In a bread machine container, first add the warm cream, water roux, molasses, avocado oil, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, bread flour, rye flour, wheat bran and yeast. Set bread machine to dough cycle according to your machine's menu. On my bread machine it is setting 8 which includes kneading and the first rise, which takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.

When dough cycle is finished, pour out the dough onto a clean surface and punch it down to deflate it. Divide dough into 6 equal portions (I like to use my kitchen scale for this) and shape them into balls and place on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let them rest in a warm place for 15-20 minutes. An unheated oven with a bowl of very warm water on the bottom and door closed is a good place.

Next, knead each dough ball a few times and then roll each into a small, hoagie-style loaf. Place them back onto the lined baking sheet, cover with the tea towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour, also in a warm and moist place.

15 minutes before the dough is finished rising, take it and the water bowl out of the oven (if that's where it is rising) and preheat the oven 420°F. Brush the egg wash on top of each loaf and sprinkle the oats on top. Bake for 10 minutes, give the pan one turn, and finish baking for another 6 minutes. 16 minutes total baking time.

Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool completely.