Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Squaw Bread: A Cheesecake Factory Replica

While living in the Midwest, I didn't have access to many good and consistent restaurants. Everything was sort of lackluster and didn't inspire cravings. I can count on one hand how many times I just had to have something from a specific local restaurant--and it usually included deep fried cheddar cheese balls. Despite not doing so prior, my friends and I from the coasts started to patronize large restaurant chains in order to combat this problem. Our favorite stop was The Cheesecake Factory. You always knew what you were getting, the food was decent, and there was enough selection to eat there daily for a week straight. Not that I would, of course. Poor law students can't afford to eat out every day of the week. That is, unless they decide to swipe a joint credit card and belatedly thank their parents for buying them lunch or dinner...and not only on their birthday...

As I make no secret of my preferences, my favorite thing about TCF is the bread. The brown bread with rolled oats on top. It has an amazing crust, soft center and a hint of sweetness. I'd venture to say that it is my favorite bread in the entire world. I will also admit that at times I would hand my dining companions the sourdough bread and steal all of the brown bread. When I took up bread baking in March, I decided that I needed to try and make this bread as I no longer frequent the restaurant. The only problem with this is that there were ten different "secret recipes" out there and none of them looked right. Finally, I figured out that the brown bread is indeed known as Squaw Bread.

I finally settled on a recipe that is allegedly from The Bread Bible. The recipe used raisins to make a sort of raisin water puree thing (so articulate, I know). We don't eat raisins in my house and I really had no desire to hit up the store, so I improvised my way to this recipe. It tastes very much like the original and has the correct texture for both crust and crumb. However, it is not as brown, probably because I'm missing something. The kneading and rising are a little odd, but after experimentation, I have found that a light knead to rid the dough of a batter-like consistency, and then a few stretch-and-folds help with the gluten development, flavor and crust. Basically, it's really good, and my mom got all whiny last night asking me to make it today instead of whipping something up with my rhubarb.

I also want to share that I am now the proud owner of a craigslist-purchased food scale. While purchased for other reasons, I am extremely excited that I am now able to bake bread by measurement and properly size my loaves. This makes so many different and odd-to-convert recipes available to me.

2 cups warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses (can replace with dark corn syrup if necessary)
1.5 Tbsp dry active yeast
3 - 3.5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups medium rye flour
1/2 cup instant dry milk powder
2.5 tsp salt
all-purpose flour for shaping/kneading
2 Tbsp melted butter for brushing
2 Tbsp rolled or steel cut oats (optional)
1 Tbsp milk (optional)

1. Mix warm water and yeast in a bowl to dissolve.

2. Mix 3 cups of bread flour (reserve 1/2 cup), whole wheat flour, rye flour, milk powder, salt and brown sugar in your mixing bowl. Mix for a few minutes in your mixer so all of the ingredients are sifted together.

3. In a separate bowl, mix honey, molasses and oil. You should now have this bowl, one with your water and yeast, and your mixing bowl with all of the dry ingredients.

4. Slowly add the liquid ingredients into your bowl while the mixer is running. When mixed, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Prior to resting, dough should have the consistency of brownie batter.

5. Switch to your dough hook and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes on low until it comes together, slightly pulling away from the sides. If you are having trouble, slowly add the 1/2 cup of reserved bread flour. Cover in an oiled bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

6. Lightly flour surface with all purpose flour and do a stretch and fold. For those of you who do not know what a stretch and fold is, this website has videos and instructions. Place back in bowl, cover, and let sit for another 30 minutes. Do one more stretch and fold. It should tacky, soft and smooth by this point. And then let sit for another 45 minutes. This helps with taste and gluten development, which is important in breads using whole grains.

7. Shape your bread into 2 large batards or 3-4 baguettes. When I do a half recipe, I get two baguettes of 390 grams each. Cover and let rise until almost doubled.

8. Place baking stone on middle shelf of oven with a metal pan on the bottom shelf. Preheat oven to 425F. I really suggest using a baking stone, as it helps with the crispy crust.

9. When dough is ready, cut slashes and brush with melted butter. If you want to add oats to the top, soak the oats in milk for a few minutes and then spread on. This helps the oats stick to the dough.

10. Lower temperature to 375F, place bread on breaking stone. Before you shut the oven, pour 1 cup of water into the metal pan and shut quickly to trap steam.

11. 15 minutes into baking, remove the metal pan and rotate loaves. Bake for another 15 minutes. Check bread to see if it needs to be covered with tinfoil to keep it from burning. Baking for another 5-10 minutes until crust is firm.


Aunt Lynne said...

Raisins=prunes. I always use prunes as a raisin substitute. If memory serves, and I think it does, your father has been known to eat a prune. (keeps him regular ya know)

Aunt Lynne said...

We are starting to pack for the mountain house (9000 foot altitude) so baking (and cooking) will have to wait awhile. This is one I will have to try when we get "up the hill". Are you going to visit and are you ever gona answer my email?

Rick said...

I'm obsessed with Cheesecake Factory. Mainly because of their tropical ice tea and this brown bread. It is amazing. And you are amazing for sharing this recipe!

citronetvanille said...

Funny how I have never been to a cheese cake factory, but this bread looks really good, I love those dark breads, they're very hearty!

laurensybil said...

So, my doctor told me last week I needed to put on a few pounds. (This is my very high-class problem.)

I think that I have found my solution.
And congratulations on all the publicity for your Santa Monica post!

Another perfect day in LA, right?

--- Lauren
Lauren's Little Kitchen: http://laurensybil.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Gee bar passer (that is great) what a difference a few generations make. My grandmother used to bake bread, cake, pies and cookies. She not only had no scale but no measuring cups or spoons. Additionaly she had no written recipies. I on the otherhand am in between I read the recipies but don't allways follow them.

fortheloveofyum said...

Wow, this bread looks like an exact duplicate. I am not great at making bread, but I am definitely going to try this. It looks too delicious to not make an attempt at baking it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I, too, could sit and eat this bread for hours. At the CF I only order the southwest chicken salad and brown bread. Yes (hangs head in shame) I ask for more bread and take 3/4 of the salad home. Learning most of my novice bread-baking skills from KAF, tis caramel color that's missing----useful, flavorless (heck, I put some in gravy!) most bread-baking supply places sell. I'm in the process of making soft dinner rolls as we're having turkey dinner and the fixin's today or I'd also make this. Guess tis good I lost weight this last month when we were away for my son's wedding. Muffin top for me is bread-top!

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to print this great recipe without printing the whole post? It won't let me print just a selection either. Would love to have it on a recipe card printout. God bless!

Becky said...

I am trying out this recipe today. I navigated here after google searching, brown bread cheesecake factory. I made a full batch and will attempt to freeze half before baking (at the form dough into shape stage). Hopefully it works. I got some tips from http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5100/freezing-bread-dough-bake-later . Will report back. Thanks for the recipe!

Cassidy said...

I cannot wait to try this! My tummy thanks you but my waistline despises you....

Patsy said...

I love this bread...so does my husband. So, to keep down any fights over the brown bread...we tell them to forget the sourdough, and bring TWO loaves of this! I have never baked bread...even though I have been cooking for 58 years. I figure you are never to old to learn, and am collecting bread recipes. This one is a must try...thanks for sharing. I have joined your blog. Patsy

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... another Attorney/Cheesecake Factory/Squaw bread nut living in Santa Monica? How is it that I don't know you?

Anonymous said...

Yay! I can't wait to try this bread! Thanks!! I will update with the results.

Tia the baker said...

how was it? did it come close to the real thing?

Cara said...

This name "Squaw" bread is really inappropriate and disrespectful to first nations/aboriginal women. I am bothered that no one here has noted that.

Baking Barrister said...

Cara - you're free to be offended, but your offense is likely a lost cause. This type of bread is universally known as Squaw bread in the U.S. Take a gander at Google and move on to something you can change.

Anonymous said...

I think the missing secret ingredient for the perfect color is Caramel Coloring, you can find it at baking supply stores. I am going to try this one for myself, I use to work at a bakery where we made it and it was sooooooooooooo good with vegetarian goodies on it.

Maribel said...

Just made this today. Turned out fabulous! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

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