Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread for breakfast: that’s the dream, right? Make it come true, and spread butter generously through a soft, tender brown bread slice following this easy step-by-step recipe!
Why is this bread so good?
This Cheesecake Factory copycat brown bread is going to become a staple at your home, I just know it! It happened here, and I’m always doubling the recipe, so it lasts more than a couple of days.
Maybe is the combination of honey and chocolate, the softness of this baguette loaf, its texture with butter, I really don’t know. But this bread is totally addictive.
Is it good for having with jam? Yes. Butter? Yep. Soups? Oh yeah! And it keeps wonderful for days, if you’re lucky enough and have any left after the first.
Even if you’re a beginner at baking yeasty bread, I got you! I’ve made a foolproof step by step, talked about every single ingredient and subs, and if you still have doubts after reading everything, watch this recipe’s video.
And as always, feel free to ask me questions you might still have in the comments!
What kind of bread is this?
This is a very soft baguette-shaped bread, with a rich deep flavor and slightly sweet.
The combination of the ingredients plus molasses and cocoa give this bread a delicious deep taste as well a beautiful brown color. Brown sugar and honey make the loaves lightly sweet as the ones from Cheesecake Factory.
Ingredients and Substitutions
First, let me say you can substitute some ingredients, BUT that will always change the final taste. You’ll still get a delicious loaf, though!
Sugar. I use brown sugar in this recipe. Light or dark brown sugar can be used, as well as white sugar.
Yeast. Use instant dry yeast. If using yeast that needs to be proofed, do so by using the water and sugar asked in the recipe, so you won’t add more liquid that needed.
Bread flour. Use white bread flour. You can substitute for all-purpose flour, but loaves will lose a bit of their structure. They will taste the same.
Whole wheat flour. One of the ingredients that’s also responsible for flavor, try not to use all-purpose or white bread flour only. Your bread will lack a nutty taste if doing so - but it won’t be bad, if you don’t mind!
Cocoa powder. Use it unsweetened, natural or Dutch. The latter will give more color to the loaves. Do not use hot cocoa mix!
Salt. Never forget to add salt to your bread! Salt is one of the ingredients that affect taste and fermentation: too much and you’ll get unedible bread, too little and the dough will rise much more quickly than normal during proofing, resulting in a sticky dough and a more prone to collapse loaf. Use fine sea salt.
Butter. It helps the bread to achieve the soft, fluffy texture. Also responsible for a richer taste. Use butter, or any vegan butter/margarine for a dairy-free, vegan option.
Honey. It’s what makes the bread be irresistible, and gives its sweet, sweet taste. You can substitute for maple syrup for a similar taste if you’re baking with vegan ingredients only.
Molasses. Blackstrap/dark molasses will give a more bitter taste, while mild to light (regular) molasses will add more sugar to the recipe. Molasses is one of the main ingredients responsible for flavor, so try not to skip it! If you opt not to use it, replace with honey or corn syrup, same amount.
Although some recipes add espresso powder, I choose to leave it out of this brown bread. I didn’t really noticed a huge improvement with it and is not everyone that has espresso powder (or instant coffee to use as a substitute) in their pantry.
How to make it
Let’s go through a step by step together so you’ll get it right first time!
- Make the dough.
- Stir together water, honey and molasses.
- In a large bowl, mix bread and whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder and yeast. Add honey mixture and mix until dough is partially formed. Add butter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes if using a stand mixer, 12 to 15 minutes if doing by hand. When ready, dough will feel tacky, smooth, and will stick to the bottom of the bowl when the mixer stops, but not at your fingers.
- First rise. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, bee wax wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until it doubles. It will take from 1 to 2 hours. Remember to leave in a warm spot.
- Divide dough. After the first rise, deflate dough. Flour the surface you’ll be working on. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
- Shape dough. Using your hands or a rolling pin, open each piece in a rectangle (4a). Roll into a cylinder and pinch to close (4b).
- Second rise. Place in a lined baking sheet, lightly coating the bottom with cornmeal (if using). Leave space between them as they will double. Top with oats, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes more or until loaves almost double, and look puffy and light.
- Baking. Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover loaves and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cooling. Let loaves cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
How to make this bread with overnight proofing
If you want to leave this dough resting overnight, here is how you shall proceed after step 1.
- Cover dough and leave it resting in a warm spot for 40 minutes.
- Place it inside your fridge and leave it fermenting overnight or for up to 24 hours.
- Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
- Proceed to step 3.
Do not leave the dough resting overnight OUTSIDE your fridge!
Can I make this recipe using a bread machine?
Totally! But to get loaves like the ones in the photos, you should use it for mixing and proofing (dough cycle) only.
Shaping and baking should be done following the direction of this recipe for best result.
Why my bread is heavy and dense?
If your bread doesn’t feel light and has a dense texture, one of those things could have gone wrong during the execution:
- Have you knead enough the dough? It needs to feel smooth in your hands and have at least some windowpane. See the recipe video to check your dough texture.
- If you’re kneading the dough by hand, do it for at least 12 minutes.
- Always let the dough rise in a warm spot of your home. If your oven has a proofing function, use it. Cold spots may double the rising time and even inactivate the yeast.
- Careful to not overproof the dough. Don’t let it rising for more than 2 hours before shaping if you’re not doing it inside your fridge.
- Check the expiration date of your yeast. Was it open before you used it? If yes, was your yeast stored inside the fridge? Was it open for more than 6 months? I don’t ask for yeast proofing in this recipe it’s made with instant yeast, but proof it if you’re feeling unsure.
- If you choose to proof your yeast, remember to never use HOT water. Water needs to be lukewarm (baby bottle temperature).
Measuring your flour and dry ingredients correctly
If you’re using cups and forget to measure the dry ingredients in the right way, you’ll add more flour than necessary and the dough will turn out dry.
Scoop flour into the measuring cup using a spoon, then level it using the back of a knife. Do not scoop directly with the measuring cup, or you’ll get more flour the recipe asks for.
Storing and freezing
Store the brown honey loaves in a bread keeper or airtight container, away from sunlight. Do not store inside the fridge. It keeps for 2 to 5 days.
Gently reheat in the oven or toaster before eating, as this bread is even better when warm.
For freezing, store in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. It keeps for up to 3 months. To reheat, leave it at room temperature for 1 hour to thaw, then use your toaster, oven (medium, 5 to 8 minutes) or microwave (40 seconds to 1 minute).
More bread recipes
Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread
- 1 ¼ cup water 290g
- ¼ cup honey 85g
- 2 tablespoon molasses 40g
- 2 ¼ cup bread flour 306g
- 1 ¾ cup whole wheat 230g
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar 12g
- 1 ½ tablespoon cocoa powder 12g
- 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast 6g
- 1 teaspoon salt 6g
- 3 tablespoon butter softened (45g)
- oats for dusting top
- cornmeal for dusting bottom optional
- In a medium bowl, mix lukewarm water, honey and molasses until honey and molasses dissolve.
- In a large bowl, mix bread and whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder and yeast.
- Add honey mixture and mix until dough is partially formed.
- Add butter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes if using a stand mixer, 10 to 15 minutes if doing by hand. When ready, dough will feel tacky, smooth, and will stick to the bottom of the bowl when the mixer stops, but not at your fingers.
- Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, bee wax wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until it doubles. It will take from 1 to 2 hours. Remember to leave in a warm spot.
- After the first rise, deflate dough. Flour the surface you’ll be working on. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
- Using your hands or a rolling pin, open each piece in a rectangle. Roll into a cylinder and pinch to close.
- Place in a lined baking sheet, lightly coating the bottom with cornmeal (if using). Leave space between them as they will double. Top with oats, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes more or until loaves almost double, and look puffy and light.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover loaves and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let loaves cool for 15 minutes before slicing.