It’s been about a million years since I ate at an Outback Steakhouse. But when you eat there, one of the best parts is the dark brown bread that comes before your meal. It’s kind of sweet … and really, I am a fan of any warm bread with butter.
I was slightly worried that this bread would be really dense, because it only rises once. (You may remember my favorite, 100% whole wheat bread, has a triple rise!) But it wasn’t. It’s a lovely flavor, with the honey and molasses and touch of cocoa, with lots of craggy nooks to sop up butter and jam.
It may not be quite as brown as that Outback bread (probably due to lack of food coloring), but I will highly recommend you try out this recipe for a lovely, dark, honey whole wheat loaf. With minimal kneading and only one rise, it’s the perfect recipe for a beginner bread-baker, too.
This honey whole wheat loaf is similar to what is served at Outback Steakhouses. Adapted from Morsels of Life.
1 T molasses
1/4 c. honey
1 1/4 c. warm water
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
2 c. white whole wheat flour
1 T yeast
1 T cocoa powder
2 c. all-purpose flour
In your mixer's bowl (or another large bowl), stir together molasses, honey, and warm water.
In a small bowl, cut butter into the whole wheat flour, until it is interspersed throughout. You can use a pastry cutter, two forks, or just your fingers.
Add the whole wheat flour mixture, yeast, and cocoa powder to the wet ingredients. Stir until uniform.
At this point, if you're using a stand mixer, you can start it on the number 2 (kneading) setting with the dough hook attachement. If not, continue stirring with a wooden spoon; you may have to knead a little with your hands.
Add all-purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. Knead with the dough hook or hands for 2 minutes, just until it is uniform. Shape into an oval and roll lightly in cornmeal.
Place loaf in a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place. (My kitchen is cold; I turned on the oven and set it on top.) Let rise until it is about 1 inch above the lip of the pan. This took mine 1 hour 15 minutes.
If you haven't already, preheat the oven to 350. Bake loaf for 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap on it in the center. Let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
A few weeks ago, I pulled a cookbook off my shelf, searching for a bread recipe. I’ve been baking up bread at least once a week to feed my kiddos and the bachelor who lives downstairs.
I love bread-baking, in case I haven’t mentioned that a time or twenty. I love the smell of the yeast, the ingredients learning to cling together. The rising dough. A soft, brown crust.
I’ve mostly been making white bread lately, with a cup or two of whole-wheat flour thrown in. Even though it makes me cringe, it’s just so much easier than fussing with whole-wheat bread. The whole-wheat recipe I’d fallen back on time and time again required soaking of grains, 10-20 minutes with my mixer, and a bread that tasted like honey to me. (I’m just not a huge fan of most honeys, and although I use it I don’t want the taste to be overwhelming.)
So anyway, I made a recipe for simple bread loaves from Food That Says Welcome, a great little paperback cookbook from Barbara Smith—Michael W. Smith’s mom! It was the puffiest, softest bread I’d ever made. I lovingly called it “pillow bread” and gave the recipe a big star. But … I wanted to make it a whole-wheat bread, since white flour has basically no nutritional value.
I’ve decided the key to this puffy bread is triple rising. Yep, you heard me. Yes, that adds additional time to bread-baking, which is already a lengthy process. But it’s totally worth it. And, as this recipe shows, it can even make 100% whole wheat bread soft and puffy. I’ve NEVER had a 100% whole wheat bread that wasn’t dense.
So, whole foodies, your problems are solved. Make this bread. Listen to the rave reviews. Smile because you know the secret. And if you’re feeling generous, share the recipe.
This recipe can be made either in a stand mixer with dough hooks or mixed by hand. Because there is not a lot of kneading, it’s not too bad to do by hand.
Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over it. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat. Add honey and sugar and stir together. Let cool slightly – it’s OK if it’s warm, but not hot.
Add butter mixture, salt, and remaining 2 cups water to the yeast and water in the bowl and stir well to combine.
One cup at a time, add in flour and stir until it’s combined. When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead just until all the flour is worked into the dough. [Or, use speed 2 on your mixer with dough hooks.]
Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and then let rise again, about another 45 minutes to an hour.
Separate dough into two equal balls. Press each ball into a rectangle with floured hands, roll up lengthwise, and then tuck ends under. Place loaves in greased loaf pans.
Cover pans and let rise again 30 minutes, until dough is to the top of the pans.
Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until loaves are golden brown and sound a little hollow when you tap on them. Let loaves cool completely before slicing and serving.
Drain potato, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Mash the potato in a small bowl and let cool slightly.
Cream butter, sugar, salt, and egg in an electric mixer. Add potato and mix well.
Dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Add to potato mixture.
Change beaters to dough hooks, if you have them. Set mixer to 2. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour alternately with the 1 cup cooking liquid, mixing well after each addition. Gradually add in the remaining flour until the dough starts to clean the side of the bowl. When that happens, let mixer go an additional 2 minutes.
If your dough looks a little shiny, great! You’re ready. If not, you may need to knead it for a few additional minutes. (I have a Sunbeam Mixer, which is not quite as hardcore as a KitchenAid and sometimes I think it’s going to explode before the bread is really ready.)
Place the dough in a greased bowl and put somewhere warm. Cover with a damp towel. Let rise for an hour or until dough is doubled.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape into loaves. (I sort of push it into a rectangle, roll it up, and then tuck in the ends.) Place in two greased loaf pans. Cover with the towel again and let rise another 30-45 minutes or until doubled again.
Brush dough with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.
And then, in your best Julia Child voice, say, “Bon Appetit!”