Thanks to Pinterest, one of my most popular breads, is my Outback Copycat Bread. It is also similar to the Cheesecake Factory bread and to the Aspen Mills Squaw bread that is made locally. For the entire recipe, go to the link provided at the end of the post.
This bread is a soft, sweet, hearty whole wheat bread that has a very slight taste of chocolate. Most dark breads will have a dominating taste of rye, molasses, or instant coffee, which do add some color, but not the very dark color and taste that is popular with these restaurant breads. Aspen Mills does have rye listed in their ingredients, but it is listed below honey on their label, suggesting that it is only a small amount.
What gives this bread its characteristic dark, almost black color, is caramel color. Caramel color is burnt sugar. I have made my own caramel color ~ sugar and water ~ and after setting off the smoke alarms numerous times and trying varying amounts in this recipe, I have found that the bread will not get quite as dark or taste as good as when I use McCormick's Caramel Color. You can order this caramel color at Orson Gygi, a restaurant supply store in Salt Lake City. You can also it order online from Spice Place and in a powdered version at King Arthur Flour.
This 16 oz bottle of caramel color will be good for 2 years. After two years, it will turn into a thick, heavy sludge that will be impossible to pour out, water down, or use. If you want a longer shelf life for your caramel color, you may want to purchase the powdered form of caramel color from King Arthur Flour.
For three loaves of bread, all I need is 2 Tablespoons of caramel color, which is added to the warm water, honey, and canola oil.
This mixture is poured into the bowl of my electric mixer. Freshly ground whole white wheat is poured on top.
Cocoa, vital wheat gluten, yeast, and sea salt are sprinkled directly on top of the wheat flour.
The mixture is combined and allowed to sit, or "sponge" for 10 minutes. The sponging processes gives the bran in the wheat flour a chance to absorb the liquids, resulting in a lighter loaf of bread. You will notice bubbles, which are the happy result of active yeast ...
All purpose flour or bread flour is added, one cup at a time, and kneaded until the dough clings to the hook, the sides are almost clean, and the dough is soft and elastic.
I use my flexible, plastic dough scraper to scrape the dough of the hook and scrape down the dough on the sides back into the bowl.
I give the top a light misting of canola oil spray and cover it with plastic wrap. The covered dough is put in a nice warm (80°-100°) location until doubled.
Since I am making three loaves, I divide the dough into three equal (1 pound) parts.
I lightly spray oil my clean counter and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Using the rolling pin helps make an evenly rolled loaf and gets out the majority of air bubbles.
Starting at the top, I begin to tightly roll my dough and then "pull" the dough towards me.
When finished rolling, I pinch the main seam closed.
I measure how long the loaf pan is (8 inches) and push down with my fingers, sealing both ends.
Each end "flap" is brought up, and pinched, creating a flat side ...
The shaped dough is now ready to roll into some corn meal or dusted with chopped oatmeal.
Place the cornmeal dusted loaf into a lightly greased loaf pan. The bread should fill about half the pan, with some room on the sides.
Cover each loaf with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place till the peak of the loaf is about 1" above the rim of the pan. The bread should feel light and springy, and not collapse when touched.
After baking, immediately turn out the loaves onto a wire cooling rack.
When cooled, cut yourself a thick slice and enjoy!
For the original post and recipe, click on the link below:
Original Post for Outback Copycat Bread
(printable 4x6 recipe) (full page printable recipe)