Sometimes nothing satisfies like a steak. A nice, big, juicy steak cooked just the way you like. There’s one of the national steakhouse chains that BeeBop and I really enjoy for a quick, casual steak dinner. It’s not fine dining by any means. And even though the decor and menu selections try to make you feel as though you’re “down under” it’s decidedly American. I think you know the one I’m talking about, right ;-)
Well, one of the best parts of the meal at the “down under” steakhouse is the bread that comes to the table along with the salad. That bread is so dark and moist and chewy and has just the faintest hint of sweet. Spread it with some whipped butter and my, oh my, I could make my whole meal from that bread and a salad.
We went to our favorite chain steakhouse recently and afterwards I just couldn’t get the bread off my mind. I had to find a way to make something similar at home. So, naturally, I started searching recipes on the internet. After reading many, I narrowed the prospects down to two. One from Top Secret Recipes and one from Food.com. I took those two, combined the best parts of both and this Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread is the result. It’s not precisely the same as the steakhouse bread, but it’s pretty darned close. As a matter of fact, BeeBop says it’s even better. I kinda agree.
I so enjoyed making this bread. I forget from time to time how much I enjoy working with yeast doughs. There was a time that I made almost all our bread, but I got away from doing it for some reason. Too busy, I imagine. But after making this gorgeous Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread last weekend, I’m all set to do more!
The first step in making any yeast bread is to proof the yeast. That just means proving that the yeast is alive so it will be able to make the bread rise. So, to proof the yeast, measure the warm water into a two-cup or larger bowl or measuring cup. The water should be between 105 and 110 degrees. The easiest way for me to measure that is with an instant read thermometer but if you don’t have one, no worries! Just use tap water that is no longer cool to the touch and feels nicely warm. Like a baby’s bath water :-) Add the sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve. Within 5 minutes the yeast should have begun to bubble and grow. In the photos above, the yeast had been proofing for about 10 minutes. See how much it grew in that short time? That’s good, live yeast. Another tip – always check the yeast packet to make sure the date hasn’t expired. The yeast might still proof even if the date on the packet has passed, but it probably won’t be very lively.
While the yeast proofs, mix the flours, cocoa, instant coffee granules, and salt in a large bowl. Stir it all together with a whisk. Using your fingers, mix the softened butter into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the honey, molasses, and yeast-water mixture. Stir from the middle, bringing the dry ingredients gradually into the wet. You can start out with a wooden spoon but you’ll need to use your hands to finally bring the dough together.
Turn the rough, shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Just start kneading and it will quickly come together in a nice ball. Knead for 10 minutes adding small amounts of flour to the kneading surface only if the dough starts to stick.
That’s the kneaded dough. See how nicely it came together? Doesn’t look anything like that shaggy mess it started out as, does it? Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you wash and thoroughly dry the bowl that you used to mix it in. Spray the inside of the bowl with cooking spray.
Put the dough into the bowl top side down and then turn it over so that the top gets coated with a bit of the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise. The interior of your oven with the light on is usually just warm enough.
Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, turn it out and cut it into 6 portions. There’s no need to punch the dough down. Just let it deflate naturally as you remove it from the bowl. Form each portion into either a 6-inch loaf shape or a round mini-boule.
Pour a small amount of cornmeal onto your work surface. Moisten each dough portion very lightly by wetting your hands, removing most of the water and rubbing your hands over the dough. Roll the lightly moistened loaves in cornmeal to coat. Gently pat to remove any excess cornmeal.
Place the loaves on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. A word of caution – because this bread has instant coffee granules in the dough, there is going to be a faint smell of burnt coffee while it bakes. I even became so concerned that I opened the oven and turned one loaf over to check while it was baking – something I almost never do. Don’t worry! The bread is not burning. It’s just that coffee interacting with the hot baking sheet.
Serve with plenty of butter.
Note: if you want your bread to be a darker color like the bread served at the steakhouse, you can optionally add food coloring to achieve that result. You’d need to add 1 1/4 teaspoons of red, 1 teaspoon of yellow, and 1 teaspoon of blue. Stir it into the yeast and water before adding it to the water. I’m perfectly happy with the color of the bread without the added coloring.
More recipes for homemade yeast breads you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Potato Rosemary Bread from Brown Eyed Baker
- Norwich Sourdough Bread from Wild Yeast
- Banana Whole Wheat Yeast Bread from Salad in a Jar
- Pumpkin Coconut Yeast Bread with Pumpkin Butter from La Fuji Mama
- Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from Bread in 5
- American Sandwich Bread from Brown Eyed Baker
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Brown Sugar Bacon – Love it or Leave it?
- Two years ago: Tilapia with Tomato, Olive, and Caper Sauce
- Three years ago: Forgotten Cookies
- Four years ago: Turkey Burgers