52 "Outback" Black Bread: copycat

I first had this bread at the Outback restaurant. I was stunned when they told me that it was honey whole wheat bread....hmmmm. Then I had this bread at the Cheesecake Factory. I found a copycat recipe and made some changes by taking out the coffee, reducing the honey and sugar. I saw some recipes that had 25 drops of red, blue food color....YUCK!  I did not want that much food coloring in my bread...  Cocoa, instant coffee, molasses or carob powder may be substituted, but it won't be as dark as the bread you see here and may lend a bitter taste to the bread.

The secret to this dark colored bread is caramel color.  You can find it on Amazon:McCormick Food Coloring, Caramel, 16-Ounce or at Orson Gygi, a restaurant supply store in Salt Lake City. Caramel color is NOT a food coloring in the chemical sense; it is simply burnt sugar.  Restaurants use caramel color to tint desserts, candy, cakes, cookies, frosting, darken sauces, gravies, soups, marinades, and brush on meats to add more roasted color.

Where can you find caramel color?
Amazon: McCormick Food Coloring, Caramel, 16-Ounce
King Arthur sells a powdered caramel which is another option, though I haven't tried it.

Outback Bread:  Step-by-step instructions with photos! 

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Outback/Cheesecake Factory Bread Copycat
Using caramel color and a touch of cocoa powder is the secret to this dark, sweet, whole wheat bread. Caramel color can be found online or at a restaurant supply store. Vital wheat gluten helps create a soft loaf of bread and is optional.
  • 2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, margarine or vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid caramel color
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened coco powder
  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten, optional
1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the first 4 ingredients (water, oil, caramel color, honey) and mix well. 2. Add the wheat flour on top of the wet ingredients. Add cocoa, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten. Stir with a spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl well. 3. Allow mixture to sponge, or site for 10 minutes. 4. Using the dough hook, add all purpose flour, one cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and almost cleans the sides of the mixer, about 5 minutes. Dough should look smooth and elastic. 5. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.6. Divide dough into 8 piles, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.7. Shape each pile of dough into individual loaves, on a lightly greased cookie sheet, or put into lightly greased 2.5"x5" mini loaf pans. 8. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in pans until double, about 20 minutes.9. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven, for 20-25 minutes.Recipe makes:8 mini 2.5"x5" loaves = bake 20-25 minutes3 Medium 8"x4" loaves = bake 30-35 minutes2 Large 9"x5" loaves = bake 35-40 minutes
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 mini loaves/3 Med/2 large

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