Brown Bread à la Cheesecake Factory: #105 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

What’s the secret to the addictive brown bread they give you at the Cheesecake Factory before you get your meal? Turns out it’s a mix of molasses and cocoa! I got this recipe from Katrina and decided to leave out the coffee and cornmeal. It tasted legit, and disappeared fast.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3 total for 6 mini loaves)

2 cups white flour – $0.32
1¾ cups whole wheat flour – $0.31
2 tbsp cocoa powder – $0.15
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1½ cups hottest tap water – free
1 tbsp sugar – $0.06
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
3 tbsp margarine or butter, softened – $0.47
¼ cup honey – $0.56
2 tbsp molasses – $0.45
1/4 cup oats, to sprinkle on top before baking – $0.03

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, cocoa, and salt.

In a small, non-metal bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on the surface.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture along with the butter, honey, and molasses. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined into a thick, moist but not too sticky dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 minutes, adding flour only if it gets too sticky on your fingers.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place to double in size.

2. After the dough has risen, divide the dough into 6 pieces. Flatten each piece out to a 4×6″ rectangle, then fold it over in thirds like a piece of paper to form a little baguette shape. Press to seal the seam and put it at the bottom of the loaf.

Put the loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use water on your fingers to gently wet the tops of the loaves, then sprinkle the oats over top. 

Loosely cover with cling wrap and rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

3. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until the internal temperature is 190F and the crust is set but still soft.

Cool for 15 minutes, then enjoy with butter or make sandwiches from it.

Freeze any extras for delicious leftover bread.

Update: you can also bake this as one large amazing loaf instead of 6 small ones: just do the second rise in a loaf pan and bake at 350F for about 40 minutes – I test doneness with a cooking thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the bread is at least 195F.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

2 thoughts on “Brown Bread à la Cheesecake Factory: #105 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

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