Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe- vegan}
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Serves: 2 small loaves, ~8-by-4-inches each
Time allotment - The active work time is 15 minutes, with a one hour rise, then a second rise of about 30 minutes, and 30 minutes to bake. From start to finish, about 2½ hours. This bread is a copycat version of the Outback Steakhouse bread that I just adore. If you've never made yeast-based bread, this is an easy one to tackle. A very short ingredient list, no mixer, and nothing fancy is required. I kept the recipe vegan and I think it's a very close approximation of the Outback bread that I can't resist when it's brought to the table fresh and warm. Served with homemade honey butter, this brings restaurant-style bread to your house.
  • For the Bread
  • ½ cup warm water, heated to ~120-130F if using Platinum Red Star yeast, or about 100-110F for other yeast
  • ¼ cup unsulphered molasses (not Blackstrap, see below; I used Grandma's Original Molasses)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup vital wheat gluten, optional but highly recommended for better rising (I use Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat and Gluten Flour )
  • 2¼ teaspoons (one ¼-ounce packet) Red Star Platinum Yeast or use another instant dry yeast)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar, packed (either light or dark may be used)
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • about ¼ cup bread flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cornmeal, optional but recommended for dusting baking sheets and dough
  • For the Honey Butter
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (or margarine), softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave), to taste
  1. For the Bread - In a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, heat water, unsulphered molasses, and oil for about 1 minute on high power to warm it to temperature. Testing with a thermometer is preferred, but if testing with your finger, mixture should feel warm but not hot; set aside.
  2. Note regarding molasses - Blackstrap molasses may be used at your own risk; it's much more bitter and pungent than unsulphered molasses and the recipe will theoretically 'work', but bread will be more bitter and I suspect will not taste like Outback bread.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups white whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast, sugars, cocoa powder, salt, and stir to combine. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir. Dough will be wet, sloppy, and gloppy. Turn it out onto Silpat baking mat or floured work surface. Slowly add and knead in the remaining ¼ cup bread flour, adding flour just until dough is soft, smooth, and pillowy; knead for about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Form a softball-sized mound of dough and place it in a large greased bowl. Flip the dough over to grease the other side and lightly rub some of the oil from the sides of the bowl over the surface of the dough with your fingertips. Cover with plasticwrap, set in a warm place, and allow dough to rise for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size. This rise takes about 90 minutes for me, but your mileage may vary.
  5. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat liner or by greasing it. Sprinkle cornmeal over the surface of the baking sheet (optional, but the cornmeal creates an authentic look and taste to the bread and also prevents the base of the bread from browning too rapidly); set aside.
  6. Punch the dough down, and lightly knead it for about 3 minutes. Divide dough in half and with half the dough, form an elongated batard, creating surface tension, pinching the ends and place the shaped mound of dough on the baking sheet, seam side down. Run fingers through cornmeal and pat it onto the dough. Repeat with other half of dough. Cover with greased plasticwrap and allow to dough to rise for about 30 minutes. They will not double in size, but they will expand. During the second rise, preheat oven to 350F. Setting baking tray on top of preheating oven creates a warm environment for rising.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bread is set and sounds a bit hollow when tapped on, and upon close examination, you will be able to discern browned and golden bread from the inherently dark color of the dough. Removed baked loaves from baking sheet immediately and place on a wire rack to cool. Slice bread only after it's fulled cooled. Store bread in an airtight container or ziptop food storage bag at room temperature for up to 5 days. Bread freezes well and can be baked, cooled completely, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw, and eat it toasted or warm it for a couple minutes in a hot oven.
  8. For the Honey Butter - Combine butter and honey in a small mixing bowl and whip vigorously with a spoon until fluffy, altering the ratio of honey to taste. Serve with bread.
I highly recommend Red Star Platinum Yeast. I made this bread with other types and brands of yeast and it, by far, gives me the fluffiest and lightest loaves.

Flour notes - The less flour used, the lighter and more authentic the finished bread will be. Bread will be lighter and dough will rise better if vital wheat gluten is added. Also, a combination of bread flour (or all-purpose flour) rather than exclusively using white-whole wheat will allow dough to rise better. I have made this bread with exclusively white-whole wheat flour and a combination of white-whole wheat and bread flour. The less white-whole wheat used, the better the dough rises and the lighter the finished bread is. Substitute as desired up to a half and half ratio of white and wheat; but I accept that wheat is simply denser than white and in order for the flavor to be more authentic like Outback, I can live with the density.
Recipe by Averie Cooks at https://www.averiecooks.com/outback-steakhouse-wheat-bread-copycat-recipe/