Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe}

 When Scott and I first started dating and were newly married, I loved going to Outback Steakhouse on date nights.

Not for the steak because I haven’t had steak in over twenty years, but because I love their bread.

I could pound down one of the loaves they’d set on the table while waiting for my entree and by the time my food came out, I actually wasn’t hungry for it. I washed the bread down with Wallaby Darneds, frosty and slushy-style peach bellinis made with peaches, champagne, vodka, and peach schnapps, with extra floater shots on top, too. Good thing I was carbing up to soak up all those healthy liquid peaches. Because of those fond memories, I wanted to create Outback bread at home.

I’ve made this bread at least ten times prior to publishing this recipe. I have tested, trialed and tweaked it; playing with the amount of molasses and oil used, to including brown sugar or not, adding a bit of cocoa powder or not and in what quantity, how to shape the loaves, what type of flour and how much to use. Although I saw recipes online that call for a smorgasbord of different types of flour, I figure the average person doesn’t have rye, whole wheat, white-whole wheat, bread, and all-purpose flour all laying around and wanted to keep the recipe as streamlined as possible, while still retaining authenticity.

I also experimented with the brand and type of yeast used, first trying both Trader Joe’s and Fleishman’s active dry yeast. When I used both of them, I tried dissolving the yeast in warm water, and used it right away. I also tried proofing those yeasts by dissolving them in warm water, adding one teaspoon sugar, and let them stand ten minutes before using them. Proofing them lent better results than using them right away, but none of the bread results were as good as with Red Star Platinum yeast, which doesn’t need to be dissolved prior to using. It’s a new yeast on the market, intended to provide professional results at home, giving greater finished volume, especially to wheat breads. Hands down, it’s the best yeast for creating a lighter Outback-style loaf that rose better.

To make the bread, first add the wet ingredients to a glass measuring cup, including water, molasses, and oil, and heat them in the microwave for about one minute on high power, until the temperature of the mixture reaches 125F. That’s a warmer temperature, comparatively, to the temperature of most liquids used when working with and dissolving yeast, which are normally in the 105 to 115F range. However, the Platinum yeast necessitates this, but if you’re using other brands of yeast, follow the temperature guidelines indicated on the packing.

Pour the warmed water-molasses-oil mixture over a dry mixture that’s waiting in a bowl, comprised of 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour, brown and granulated sugars, and cocoa powder. Stir everything together and the dough will be wet, sloppy, and gloppy. Turn it out onto a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or floured work surface and knead in the remaining one cup flour. Using a Silpat is nice because you don’t have to flour it.

You may need to add additional flour depending on the wetness of your dough, but in general in bread-making, excess flour creates denser, heavier, weightier doughs, and produces heavier bread. Use as little flour as necessary to get a soft, pillowy ball of dough that’s not sticky. In my trials, 2 1/2 cups seems to be the magic number, but your mileage may vary. The times that I’ve used additional flour, the bread is noticeably denser, and wheat bread is already on the dense side.

Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it’s smooth and not sticky. Or until you’re tired. Yes, you can put the wad into a stand mixer and let the dough hook do the work for you, but this is not a big batch of bread and it’s simple to do by hand. Kneading the warm, soft, fragrant dough and inhaling the robust scents of molasses and cocoa powder, and feeling the warmth on my fingers is enjoyable for me. If it’s not for you, toss it into your stand mixer and put your workhorse to work.

Place the kneaded dough into a lightly greased bowl and flip it over so the top sides becomes lightly greased and allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size. I find that my dough needs about 90 minutes but all yeast, dough, and conditions are different. After its doubled in size, punch it down to release the air and knead it again briefly, about three minutes. You really can’t over-knead when doing so by hand, you’ll tire out before the bread does. So when in doubt, kneading an extra minute or two by hand (machines are different) isn’t going to cause anything ‘bad’ to happen. In my mind, I have cookie-making rules engrained, which is once the flour is added, mix only to combine, and no more; bread-making takes some mental getting used to in that I can manhandle the dough, and must.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and form two log-like shapes, called batards. You may simply roll the dough into two cylinders but creating surface tension when forming the loaves is advantageous because the bread will rise better while it bakes. Place your little bundle of joy seam-side down on a prepared baking tray that’s been dusted with two tablespoons of corn meal.The corn meal adds authenticity to the finished loaf, with tiny flecks of texture interspersed in each bite, and it more importantly, it prevents the bottom of the bread from laying directly on the baking tray, thus preventing the base from getting too browned before the center cooks through. Using your fingers, lightly pat some corn meal from the baking tray on the top and sides of the loaf. Repeat this process with the other half of dough.

Cover the two batards with plasticwrap and allow them to rise for about 30 minutes. They won’t double in size, but they will swell. While they rise, preheat the oven and I keep the baking tray on top of the stovetop since it’s a nice toasty place for the dough to rise. Then, bake your bread and get ready for incredible scents to waft through the air. The rich fragrance of molasses, cocoa powder, wheat, and the scent of bread baking is simply intoxicating, no Wallaby Darneds needed.

While the bread bakes, make honey butter by combining softened butter with a little honey, or use margarine with agave to keep this vegan, and whip it vigorously with a spoon until it’s soft and fluffy. The bread is great without honey butter but let’s face it, everything’s better with sweetened creamy butter.

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with this bread. I kept it vegan and used brown sugar instead of honey, which caramelizes while baking, creating a subtle honey-like flavor that’s just sweet enough to take the edge off the molasses. Molasses is a pungent flavor and everyone’s threshold is different. I use unsulphered molasses, which is far less pungent, bitter, and intense than blackstrap. Unsulphered lends flavor tones that I believe are a closer approximation of Outback bread but let your tastebuds be your guide.

The most notable difference between this bread and Outback’s is that this is denser and heavier. Through the magic known as restaurant-quality ingredients, mass-produced dough, commercial ovens, and no doubt years of research, their bread is lighter. At home, adding vital wheat gluten to the dough or replacing some of the wheat flour with either all-purpose or bread flour are ways in which you could lighten the loaf, but some of the nuttier, wheaty tones will diminish if switching to white. Plus, I don’t mind a denser loaf. This is bread, not angel food cake, and I relish some density, heartiness, and chewiness.

I have been making a couple batches of this bread each week for the last few weeks. The loaves are small and it goes fast. Either we eat it fresh from the oven, and technically bread should be cooled fully before it’s sliced into or torn apart in our case; and what we don’t eat fresh, I wrap and make sandwiches with, or toast it and smear it with honey butter. Bread also freezes very well and can be made in advance and thawed as needed.

I’ve been doing an excellent job of inhaling these loaves. Just like old times at Outback.

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe- vegan}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
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.
Serves: 2 small loaves, ~8-by-4-inches each
  • 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.

Related Recipes:

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – A touch of molasses in this bread lends a richness of flavor and pairs perfectly with the pumpkin

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon-Sugar Butter – A no-knead yeast bread that’s as easy as they come. If you’ve never made bread before, this is the ideal starter loaf. You won’t have need or desire to purchase English muffins ever again when you can make your own at home so easily

Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast with Vanilla Maple Butter – If you have an abundance of bread on hand, make this monkey bread-meets-French toast-meets overnight casserole-style bread bake. Molasses, cinnamon, sugar, fall warming spices, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree create an overnight marinade for bread cubes and in the morning, just bake it off

Strawberry Jelly Rolls – These start out as white dinner rolls that I doctored up and baked, and in less than 15 minutes I was eating a warm jelly roll

Cinnamon Bun Pie – Best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made (to date) and they’re ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. I’m working on yeast-based cinnamon rolls next

Have you ever had Outback’s wheat bread?

I believe they call it Bushman’s honey wheat, but it was hard to find a name for it, other than simply titled ‘Outback bread’. It’s a little ironic that my copycat bread, which hails from a steakhouse chain, is vegan and uses no honey.

In my searches, I saw many recipes and versions for a copycat version of this bread, some with poor reviews and others with five different kinds of flour for one loaf, as well as specialty ingredients like caramel flavoring. My goal was to keep it as simple as possible, while preserving the taste, and I’m really happy with the results.

Have you ever made bread with yeast?

If you have any tips, tricks, thoughts, favorite recipes, or anything at all to add about bread-making, please feel free to chime in and link up your favorite recipes.

Thanks for the entries in the South Beach Bars Sampler Pack Giveaway and in the Cuisinart for Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker Giveaway

113 comments on “Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe}”

  1. I have to try this recipe, but I don’t have white wheat flour. Will give it a try with whole wheat pastry flour. I made another copycat Outback bread for the bread machine from allrecipes and it broke my machine!!! Some of the comments said it was a sticky dough, but it literally gummed up the mixer so much that it shook itself off the counter while I was outside….. :( I’m sure this one will be more successful! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Oh that is too bad about the other dough breaking your machine! wow!

      I havent yet worked with W-W pastry flour. I am not sure in theory how it will differ from white-whole wheat. I bet you will have success with this! And if anything, it’s a drier dough, not gloppy or gummy like what you’re talking about! LMK if you try it and how your flour and the recipe goes for you!

  2. I just salivate looking at your gorgeous pictures!!!

  3. The bread looks delicious. I’m so scared of making yeast breads but you’ve had some great ones lately. You need to come to Utah and teach me! I’ll supply the butter :)

  4. This looks absolutely perfect. Nothing like fresh baked bread!

  5. Seriously bread obsessed right now. I just want to quite everything else in my life and make bread. Pinning this right now :)

  6. There are so many restaurants that I love, not for their specialties, but for their bread! And on so many occasions have I gotten full of the bread before even starting the main dish! Now I haven’t had outback steakhouse bread before but you totally sold me on it! And I really need to give this a try because freshly baked bread is my ULTIMATE weakness!

  7. I’ve always been terrified of baking with yeast (it just seems so easy to mess something up…) but maybe I’ll have to give this a shot. Thanks for the detailed how-to directions!

  8. Well now I’m going to eat this !! please allow me to have it…. I can’t control myself… I’m going to take my tomorrow’s breakfast now… :) That brownie breads makes me hungry… Yummy !!

  9. I don’t think I have ever been to Outback, but now I think I better go! Or maybe just make this bread :)

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an outback steakhouse, but this bread looks like perfection! I’d probably eat the entire loaf before dinner was served too ;)

  11. YES. Outback’s bread is awesome. Love this recipe remake!

  12. You just reminded me of our dating times! Outback is still a fav for date nights for my me and my Hubby. I actually tried making Outback’s bread at home and let’s just say it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

    • You tried a remake? Okay well please LMK how this goes for you if you try it! I admit, it was much harder to figure this out than I thought. Working with wheat is tricky to get the light ‘n airy texture but still retain the flavor!

  13. Sister, I am seriously impressed!! **high five** You made super tasty looking yeast bread?! So cool.

  14. Oh my word. I’m notorious for being the bread scarfer before every meal, no matter the restaurant. No one has a chance at the loaf before I’ve already consumed the entire thing :) I’ve actually only been to Outback a couple times in my life (strange since there is one local) so I don’t remember the bread fondly, but if it’s anything like this then I’m in heaven already! This looks SO delicious–and honey butter? Say no more!

  15. THat bread looks fantastic..I bet it is amazing still warm out of the oven!

  16. Looks delicious…I’m a bread fiend too! I’ve never had Outback’s bread (in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been to an Outback) but you know what you should tackle next? Longhorn Steakhouse’s crusty bread. That sh*t is FANTASTIC.

  17. Averie, I adore that Outback bread and totally know what you mean about demolishing the entire loaf (and the entire pot of honey butter it comes with) prior to my food arriving. Thanks for all the time you took to perfect this and share with us. I will absolutely be making this!

    • That honey butter, the warm loaf, you know the scene well. Glad you’re a fan of it.

      And yes this was trickier than I thought it was going to be b/c I wanted authenticity in taste, without 17 flours, and to preserve the lightness which is tricky with wheat. Please LMK how it goes if you try it!

      • Averie, the taste of this Outback bread is dead on! The hubs + yours truly demolished an entire loaf (along with an entire pot of honey butter) in about 20 minutes.
        In an attempt to help the rising, I added vital gluten, but unfortunately it still didn’t really rise. I’ve done 100% whole wheat breads fairly frequently and haven’t run into this issue, so I’m not sure what happened (Maybe it’s the molasses?); however, I went ahead and baked the dough anyway, and I’m so glad I did! Though the loaves are dense, the flavor is so fabulous, I don’t even care. Loaf #2 was enjoyed with cherry jam or pumpkin butter at breakfast. Thanks for a yummy recipe!

      • As I emailed, thanks for trying it and sorry that it didn’t rise perfectly for you but I am glad you loved the flavor and seems like you and your hubs ate them both. I have a couple bread recipes coming up that rise so well the dough literally busted out of the mixing bowl – so stayed tuned :)

      • We INHALED them!! Not concerned with the rise at all. I think this is a great recipe, and I plan to make it again soon. Can’t wait to try what you have comin’ up next!

  18. I’ve had bread from Outback and it’s pretty darn good…but this looks better because of the density (and because it was made by hand). Gotta love that! I made another batch of the english muffin bread and used the Red Star Platinum and left out the VWG. It actually rose higher than my first loaf so I am convinced this yeast is superior (and thanks for posting about it–I might not have given it much thought otherwise). I know what you mean about treating bread dough differently–my mom taught me to have a light hand with cookie dough and cake batter, but when it comes to bread, work it baby!!

    • Work it baby, is right! You are going to love the next 6 weeks or so on my blog. I have so much bread coming. I am going to try to just dole out 1 yeasty recipe per week b/c not everyone is as into it but let’s just say I’ve been into it!

      Glad that the Red Star Platinum worked like a champ for you. And that even without the VWG included, it STILL rose higher. Great anecdotal evidence! Love that!

  19. I love that this is vegan and wheat!! It’s hard to find vegan bread that is still extra delicious!

  20. I’ve never been to Outback or had their bread. This looks great though. Have you played with the whole wheat pastry flour yet? I use that in my breads or pizza doughs. I haven’t decided if it’s lighter than the white WW though.

    • I haven’t played around with WW pastry flour. Just white-whole wheat. I have heard the WW pastry flour is a little lighter than white-whole wheat. But then again, who knows. I need to do a side-by-side test to really see! For me, I can get white whole wheat in the groc store. WW pastry flour, although I haven’t really checked super well, I don’t know if that’s a common item? I study the King Aurthur area and specialty flour shelves like it’s my job lately :)

      • Back in my gluten and bread making days, I always used ww pastry flour. I liked it much much better than white whole wheat for bread, but I liked white ww for cookies. Just my 2 cents.

  21. My BIL is OBSESSED with their bread. I think his record is something like 10 loaves at one meal. Ridiculous. He is coming home for Christmas and I am SO making this for him!

  22. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Outback Steakhouse! There’s one nearby, and we watch fireworks on the 4th from their parking lot, but I’ve never been there to eat. Ha Ha. The bread sounds delicious though!

  23. Oh yes, I remember how good Outback bread is!! I have been there with Dustin, and could easily eat that minuscule little loaf all by myself. ;) this looks just like it! How yummy! Excellent restraint getting pics out of it. Not sure if it would survive being warm out of the oven in my kitchen with butter nearby.

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