Ever been to a restaurant that has amazing bread? I’m pretty picky with my carbs, so when I do find a place that serves yummy bread as a starter, I’m sold. I seriously base the quality of the restaurant on how good their bread is. Well…that’s one criteria, anyway. (You don’t want to take me out to dinner…let’s just leave it at that. Picky much??) This steakhouse dark bread I’m sharing with you today could qualify as one of those good starter breads. It has substance to it, a touch of sweetness, overall delicious flavor, and it’s a bit crusty on the outside. And when it’s slathered with some fresh butter…forget about it.
I made this bread two ways–with blackstrap molasses as well as baking molasses. What’s the difference, you ask? Well I’m here to clarify. Since most recipes simply state “molasses” as an ingredient, it can be a bit confusing to know which one to use. Think of blackstrap as your powerhouse super food, because it really is. It’s loaded with all the nutrients that are naturally found in sugar cane. So if you’re looking to increase your iron, potassium, and calcium intake, good ol’ ‘strap will help ya out. (Read more here about the benefits of blackstrap.) Blackstrap has a bitter taste to it (it reminds me of black licorice). Which, in some recipes is what you need/want. (These baked beans are an example…they’re SUPER tasty and blackstrap is the star.) But of course in some recipes you’re looking for some added sweetness. That’s where baking molasses comes in. Baking molasses is the product of the sugar cane after refined sugar is removed; it still has some sweetness to it. Blackstrap is what’s left after the third round of processing–when all sweetness is removed and what’s left is all the “good stuff” i.e. nutrients. Does that make sense? All that to say–the bread with the baking molasses tasted a bit sweeter. While it’s definitely not a sweet bread, by adding the baking molasses, it’s overall sweeter than if you use blackstrap. I suppose it’s all personal preference. There’s also a little brown sugar in the bread, to help sweeten it up.
There are quite a few other “different ingredients” in here as well–three different types of flours, and brewed coffee as well as cocoa powder. You should have seen my boys when they saw the yeast proofing in coffee…they were a bit confused, as was I when I first dumped coffee in my mixing bowl. So when I say this bread has flavor, I’m not kidding! You can’t taste the coffee or cocoa powder per se; they just add to the depth and flavor of this hearty bread.
Obviously, this is great at dinner but I also like this bread for breakfast with my eggs. It’s a substantial bread that dips in those runny eggs like a champ. I haven’t tried it toasted yet, but I’d imagine it’d be lovely that way as well.
Kat is a mother of three boys who loves to bake and enjoys all things DIY. She has been blogging since 2010 featuring recipes and home design projects. Some of her home projects have been featured in Country Living and This Old House magazine, as well as many other prominent DIY blogs and websites.