Make the best Outback Bread copycat and enjoy their delicious loaf without leaving your home! Tender and rich in flavor, this sweet molasses bread is made with simple ingredients and requires no fancy equipment.
Are you having trouble baking bread? Get my tips for a foolproof loaf and become a bread expert!
Whenever I visit an Outback, no matter what I’ve ordered, their bread is always the highlight of my meal.
Luckily, the recipe is super easy to reproduce: there's no need for any extra equipment nor difficult-to-find ingredients. A stand mixer helps, but you can make this bread using your hands only.
Although it has sweet in the name, this bread is not overly sweet. It’s a great side for savory dishes, and a perfect choice for bread when making sandwiches with savory fillings.
What kind of bread do they serve at Outback?
The bread you get at Outback is a honey and molasses wheat bread roll.
Usually, the rolls above are made by adding honey and molasses for sweetness to a half white flour, half whole wheat flour dough. A honey and molasses roll can also have cocoa and brown food coloring for making it darker.
Here, we’re keeping the white all-purpose and whole wheat flour mix, molasses, cocoa powder, but substituting honey for my vegan version of this ingredient - but there are more substitutions for this ingredients, keep reading!
Butter is also replaced with a small amount of oil, and food coloring won’t be at all needed: those rolls get all the color they need from the cocoa and molasses.
The bread served at Outback Steakhouse is not vegan, but my dark sweet bread recipe is!
If you're looking for a sweet dark bread that uses honey and butter, you NEED to try my Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread!
Ingredient and Substitutions
Vegan Honey. I have a delicious vegan honey recipe that’s super easy to make, very close to the real thing and perfect for any recipe that calls for honey. But if you don’t want to try it, no problem: you can use maple syrup and still get amazing rolls.
Cocoa Powder. It’s important to use cocoa, not hot chocolate mix! By using the second, you will be adding more sugar and less cocoa, compromising color and flavor. For darker rolls, use Dutch cocoa powder. And don’t worry, your bread won’t taste like chocolate!
Molasses. One of the ingredients responsible for the brown color. I use dark molasses/blackstrap for a darker color, but you can use a lighter version for a less strong, sweeter version.
You can substitute molasses for dark corn syrup. You can also use only maple syrup, but the recipe will lose in color and flavor, and the rolls will be a bit sweeter and lighter in color.
Yes, you can, but using all-purpose flour for this recipe is perfectly fine. All-purpose flour keeps the crumb softer and the crust more tender than the ones baked with bread flour.
I don't recommend using more whole wheat flour than this recipe calls for. A bread made with only whole wheat will be denser, and the amount of liquid ingredients will need to be adjusted.
How to make this bread
You won’t be needing any fancy equipment for this recipe: these rolls are baked using a baking sheet and if you don’t have a stand mixer, kneading the dough by hand is perfectly doable.
(1) Mix dry ingredients: all-purpose and whole wheat flour, salt, cocoa powder and instant yeast. Add wet ingredients: lukewarm water, oil, vegan honey (or maple syrup) and molasses. Mix until dough is formed.
(2) 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 and smooth. If using a stand mixer, dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl, but not at your fingers.
(3) Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until it doubles. It will take about 1 hour and a half. Remember to leave it in a warm spot.
(4) After the first rise, deflate the dough. Flour the surface you’ll be working on. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
(5a) Using your hands or a rolling pin, open each piece in a rectangle.
(5b) Roll into a cylinder.
(5c) Pinch to close.
Place shaped bread in a lined baking sheet (line with parchment paper or a silicone mat), lightly coating the bottom with cornmeal (if using). Leave space between them as they will double.
(6) Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise for 40 minutes more or until rolls almost double, and look puffy and light.
(7) Just before baking, top the rolls lightly with cornmeal for more texture. You can brush the loaves with melted vegan butter so the cornmeal sticks more to the top.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover loaves and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes.
(8) Let loaves cool for 20 minutes before slicing.
Bread shaping variations
I love using this recipe for baking these mini loaves, but I’ve also used it to make both dinner rolls and a single loaf.
Sweet Molasses Dinner Rolls:
After the first rise, divide the dough into 8 (large), 12 (medium) or 18 (small) pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by stretching dough over itself and pinching the edges together, and place them into a lined baking dish.
Sweet Molasses Loaf:
Using a loaf pan. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece, folding the dough over itself until getting a tight ball. Arrange shaped dough into the lined loaf pan.
Using a baking sheet. Open the dough in a rectangle using your hands or a rolling pin. Roll it over itself into a cylinder and pinch to close.
Tips to get this recipe right
- Remember to use all ingredients in room temperature. Using vegan honey or maple syrup that is stored in the refrigerator? Wait at least 30 minutes after taking it out of the fridge for the ingredient to reach room temperature.
- Use lukewarm water. That’s specially important in winter/cold months. Lukewarm is not hot, but baby bottle temperature: one that’s comfortable in the interior of your wrist.
- Leave it to rise in a warm spot. Cold spots may affect negatively fermentation, slowing it down or stopping it completely.
Storing and freezing
After cooled, store this sweet molasses bread in a bread keeper or any airtight recipient or sealed bag. It will keep soft and tender for about 4 to 5 days if stored correctly.
To freeze this recipe, make sure the loaves are completely cooled before doing so. Use freezer-safe bags for the best result, sealing it before storing inside the freezer. It keeps up to 3 months.
To reheat, place into preheated oven (300°F) for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until it heats through.
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More Bread Recipes
Outback Bread Recipe (Sweet Molasses Bread)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup vegan honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon molasses
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon oil
- cornmeal for dusting and topping
- Mix dry ingredients: all-purpose and whole wheat flour, salt, cocoa powder and yeast.
- Add wet ingredients: lukewarm water, oil, vegan honey or maple syrup and molasses. Mix until dough is formed.
- After dough is formed, 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. If using a stand mixer, dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl, but not at your fingers.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until it doubles. It will take about 1 hour and a half. Remember to leave it 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 rolls in a lined baking sheet, lightly coating the bottom with cornmeal (if using). Leave some space between them as they will get bigger.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise for 40 minutes more or until rolls almost double, and look puffy and light.
- Just before baking, you can top the rolls lightly with cornmeal for more texture.
- Baking. Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover loaves and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let loaves cool for 20 minutes before slicing. Store rolls in an airtight container or sealed bag after cooled.