Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dutch Oven Cheater Bread

It's kinda funny how I got to this point today. In my ongoing quest to get good at breadmaking, I thought it would be fun to make some marbled bread. I've got the white bread recipe, now all I need is the dark bread (And if anyone starts singing fluffy songs like, "Ebony and Ivory", I will personally reach through the internet and slap them silly).

So, I found this recipe for the dark bread that they serve at the Outback Steak House. As I was working it this weekend, I noticed that there were a number of "work-arounds" and "cheats". Hence, the name. First of all, this recipe is, of course, a knockoff. That means it's probably pretty good, but it's also not going to end up exactly like the restaurant. It's been reverse-engineered somehow, which, for an old tech guy like me, is a pretty big-time cheat. But the fact that it's been reverse-engineered probably means that it's been tested and came up pretty well.

A second cheat was the color. In the restaurant, it's got this deep, rich, brown color, like a rye bread, but it doesn't have the edge to the taste like rye bread does. This recipe is not a rye recipe, but rather a whole wheat/white flour recipe. How does it get so brown then? Well, the molasses helps, and the cocoa as well, but mostly it's the food coloring!

The third cheat was the coffee. The ingredient list called for coffee. Well, it turns out that since I'm a good little Mormon boy, I don't have any! Not that I'm adverse to using a little bit of it in my cooking. Last week we marinaded some steaks we were grilling in beer. I made sure it was done so that the alcohol would burn off, etc...

But nonetheless, I don't have any coffee. So, I did what most good Mormons do. I used Postum. It's a wheat-based coffee substitute. Tastes great, by the way.

Anyway, this morning, I made the bread. Here's the story:

Dutch Oven Cheater Bread

12" Dutch Oven
8-9 coals below, 16-18 coals above

  • 1 1/4 Cups warm water (about 100 to 110 degrees f)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) yeast

  • 2 cups Bread flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp Postum (or coffee, if ya got it)
  • 1 Tsp salt

  • 2 Tbsp butter

  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Molasses

  • 1 1/4 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp yellow food coloring
  • 1 tsp blue food coloring

I started with activating the yeast. I added the sugar and the water together, and then the yeast. By the way, as I was in the store shopping, and buying yeast the other day, I noticed that on some of the packages they recommend that the water you use to activate the yeast be at about 110 degrees. I was more than kinda surprised. So, this time I got out my thermometer and measured just how warm that is, and I was really surprised. It's not scalding, by any means, but it's at the temperature where it's just starting to get a little uncomfortable. Based on that, I'd bet my shower temp is probably around 95 or so.

Well, it might have been uncomfortable for me, but certainly not for the yeast. I've never seen yeast bubble up like that. Previously, I'll bet I was doing it at around 80 or so. That made a BIG difference.

You experienced bakers are probably saying, "Well, du-uh!" OK, some of us are slow. But we still get there. So, note to self: make the the water a lot warmer, borderline "hot".

Then I mixed all the other dry ingredients. I cut in the butter with a pastry knife/blender. Then I added the honey, the molasses, and the yeast mix. Finally, before stirring, I added the food coloring.

A note: I didn't exactly have the right blend of food colorings. I had some green, which I thought I could substitute straight across for the blue and the yellow. Not so. The dough turned out this dark, hideous green-brown. In my mind, I knew it was simply coloring, and wouldn't effect the taste at all, but visually, it did end up less appealing. Notice there are no pictures of the final result? That's why! Here's a hint: Mix the colorings and then dip a paper towel into the mix. What you'll see in the paper towel will be more accurate to what you see in the bread than the more intense colors of the dyes.

I mixed it, kneaded it for 10 minutes, and let it rise. It rose pretty well, in about an hour and a half. I knocked it down and cut it into small pieces (about 6), and shaped them into long rolls, about hoagie bun size. Next time, I'll probably just leave it as a round loaf. That was all put in a 12" dutch oven. I also basted on some whipped egg, since I tend to like the shiny glaze on top.

Actually, next time I'll be doing the swirly thing, probably...

While it was rising a second time, I lit up the coals. I put the dutch oven on the coals and baked it for about 35-40 minutes. It really tasted great, and filled the house with some wonderful smells. It didn't look as good, even though it browned up quite a bit as it baked, but that really was due to the coloring mix.

It was a good, hearty bread, and it tasted great with butter at dinner with chicken and rice.


  1. Great to see you posting again. I made a sourdough / Parmesan / Italian rolls on Saturday... with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

    We both must have been in the bread mood this weekend.

  2. I wish I coulda tasted that. It's a recipe I'd love to see and try myself.


  3. I just linked to this recipe in our newest "Cast Iron Around the Web" at



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