The Fresh Loaf

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Honey wheat bread from The Cheesecake Factory

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Honey wheat bread from The Cheesecake Factory

Does anyone have a recipe that approximates The Cheesecake Factory's honey wheat mini-baguettes?  Years before TCF became ubiquitous, I was a big fan of their honey wheat bread.  I don't even know if they make them anymore since I no longer eat there.  But the bread had a soft texture, with a chewy bite, and was sweet that I would just eat it plain.  I loved it, and I'm no fan of wheat bread.

Ford's picture

I do not make Cheesecake Factory bread, BUT --  Here is my recipe for 50% whole wheat sourdough bread.  For me it has the properties you discribe.


4 cups (36 oz.) refreshed whole wheat sourdough starter (equal vol. flour & water), at 70 to 80°F
3 2/3 cups (15.6 oz.) whole-wheat flour, King Arthur brand, finely milled*
2 1/2 cups (20.0 oz.) 80°F scalded milk
(1 cup [3.3 oz.] oat meal, pulverized to a flour, optional, decrease flour by 3/4 cup [3.1 oz])
1/3 cup (3.8 oz.) honey, or brown sugar, or corn syrup
~6 2/3 cups (28.3 oz.) unbleached bread flour (King Arthur brand prefered)
1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted butter (or corn oil)
1 1/2 Tbs. (1 oz.) salt
1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted butter (or corn oil) for brushing dough and the baked bread
~77% hydration.  ~50% whole wheat flour.  3 loaves: ~35.5 oz. unbaked, ~33 oz. baked.
*If you use stone ground, coarsely milled, whole-wheat flour (Arrowhead Mills), then use 3 1/4 cups, still 15.6 oz.

For the poolish, combine the refreshed, room temperature starter, milk, honey, whole-wheat flour, and optional oat flour in a large bowl.  Cover and let sit one to two hours to soften the bran and to ferment.  Sourdough does not need a long time to develop flavor.  Too much time in the acid environment can destroy the gluten.
For the dough, mix in salt, and quarter cup of melted butter.  Blend in as much bread flour as can be mixed with a spoon..  Turn out on to a floured surface, knead well, working in only as much of the flour as to give a non-tacky dough.  The dough will not be as elastic as the white bread dough.  Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to ferment for thirty to sixty minutes, then gently degas the dough by folding it on itself.
Brush melted butter around the inside of three 5”x 8” loaf pans.  Again, place the dough on the floured surface and divide into three equal parts.  Shape the dough into loaves and place them into the loaf pans.  Brush each loaf with melted butter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until the dough comes well above the top of the pans, about 2 to 3 hours.  Do not keep the dough at room temperature for long periods as the acid in the sourdough may break down the gluten strands.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Place a broiler pan of boiling water on the shelf below the baking shelf.  If desired, slash each loaf with a greased razor blade or a very sharp knife, making a quarter inch deep cut.  Spray the loaves with a mist of water and place them on the middle shelf of the oven.  Spray the loaves two more times in the oven at two-minute intervals.  After fifteen minutes, set the oven temperature to 350°F and remove the pan of water.  Bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the interior temperature of the loaf reaches 195 to 200°F.
Turn the loaves on to a cake rack and brush all sides with melted butter.  Cover with a damp paper towel.  Cover the damp towel with plastic wrap.  Allow the loaves to cool before cutting or wrapping.  The loaves may then be frozen, if desired.
I have found that as I have gained experience in handling the dough I have been able to work with slacker doughs, i. e. doughs of higher hydration.  The slacker doughs will produce a lighter loaf.

You could shape these loaves into bâtards, should you prefer.  I also have a non-sourdough recipe, if you wish it.


cake diva's picture
cake diva


Thanks so much for sending the above.  I'm assuming I can simply scale down to make just one loaf, at least for my trial batch.  I'd also like to make the non-SD version alongside the above.  - cakediva


Ford's picture

Yes, to the scaling.


For the poolish
5 cups (21.3 oz.) whole-wheat flour
3 cups (24 oz.) water
1/4 tspn active dry yeast
Poolish hydration: 114%  Note: We like Arrowhead Mills stone ground brand whole-wheat flour because of the texture it gives to the bread.  However, a finer milled whole wheat flour is also good (e. g. King Arthur).  See also the sourdough recipe Chapter 09.1 and the sourdough whole grain recipe Chapter 09.2

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in a little of the water, then add the rest of the water and whole-wheat flour and mix enough to wet all of the flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment for 8 to 18 hours at room temperature.

For the dough
All of the poolish
2 1/8 cups (17 oz.) warm scalded milk (skim ♥)
1/3 cup (3.8 oz.) honey, or brown sugar, or corn syrup
2 tspn. dry active yeast (remainder of the package used in the poolish)
8 1/4 cup (35.1 oz.) King Arthur unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 Tbs. (1 oz.) salt
1/4 cup (2 oz.) butter (or corn oil ♥)
1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted butter (or corn oil ♥) for greasing pans. brushing dough, and brushing bread
Dough hydration: 75%

Into the bowl containing the poolish, beat in the honey, the milk, the yeast, and about 5 cups of the flour, or as much as can be readily mixed by hand.  Cover and let stand for half an hour or an hour (autolyse).

Mix in the 2 ounces melted butter, the salt, and as much of the rest of the measured flour as convenient.  Scrape the dough on to a surface dusted with bread flour and thoroughly knead the dough, adding flour from the measured amount as necessary until the dough is smooth.  Allow the dough to rest for about ten minutes and then knead some more.  This dough will be elastic, not as elastic as the dough of the white bread.  Place the dough into a greased bowl (about a teaspoon of corn oil) and cover to rise to double the volume, about an hour.  Gently degas the dough by folding it on itself.

With melted butter thoroughly brush three loaf pans (2 qt size, 9 5/8" x 5 1/2" x 2 3/4").  Divide the dough into three equal pieces (about 34 oz. each).  Shape each piece to fit the bottom of each pan, puncturing the large bubbles.  Place the loaves in the pans, seam side down.  Brush the top of the loaves with melted butter.  Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise until the domes are about 2 inches above the tops of the pans.

Preheat oven to 450°F with a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf, with the middle shelf being reserved for the bread pans.  A large broiler pan works well.  When the dough has risen above the tops of the pans (about an hour), spray them with water, and immediately place them into the oven.  Spray the loaves 2 additional times at 2 minute intervals to permit additional rising.  After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.  Bake until the interior loaf temperature reaches 195°F, an additional 45 minutes (about one hour total).  The loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.  Turn out on to a cooling rack, brush with melted butter, and cover with a damp paper towel until cooled.  Bread may then be packaged and frozen.


paulav's picture

Hi Ford,

Thank you so much for posting this recipe... I've been trying to come up with a good recipe for ww and sourdough combination and after seeing your posting, I followed your recipe yesterday and voila!  It's so nutty and full of flavor that it is going to become one of my standards.  The only change I made was to cut it in half to make 2 medium sized loaves.   Thank you, thank you!  PaulaV

sephiepoo's picture

I googled TCF's bread and some people said it was similar to Outback's Honey Wheat bread? I actually ended up making a quick batch of this myself, since it's a bread I've enjoyed when we've eaten there (ages ago!).  It does call for 1/2 c honey and the texture was as you described - very soft, a little chewy, and sweet enough to eat on its own.  I did have to add extra flour to get the dough to firm up more, and added an extra TB of butter to make up for the extra flour :)

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Thank you Sephiepoo for pointing me to OUtback's honey wheat bread.  I just made a batch today and it does taste like the one The Cheesecake Factory used to make.  Even my husband and daughter who are both not bread eaters gave their enthusiastic nods of approval.  (See my blog Embarassingly Easy HOney Wheat Bread for recipe and pictures).

Paula V, with your thumbs up on Ford's SD version, I'll have to try it next. 

Thanks again Ford, for your recipes.  - cake diva