I recall, as a child, going to The Chart House restaurant and looking forward to the basket of freshly baked breads. My favorite was always the dark brown, slightly sweet bread that the servers called "Squaw Bread". I've heard that a similar bread is served at The Cheesecake Factory. The name has gone out of fashion, since "squaw" is a derogatory term for a Native American woman.
The history of this bread can in fact trace its roots to Native American origins when German pioneers combined their traditional German Brown Bread recipe with ingredients available to them through trades with the native people during their westward travels.
No matter how you slice it, this New World German Brown Bread is easy to bake and so wonderfully delicious to eat.
New World German Brown Bread
Makes 1 large loaf
Active time: 10 minutes
Rise time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1/3 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/4-1/2 cup more
3/4 Whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Grease a large bowl and set aside.
Step 1: In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof for 8 minutes.
Step 2: In the bowl of a stand-mixer, add remaining ingredients. Once yeast begins to bubble (about 8 minutes), add to the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until mixture comes together into a sticky dough.
Step 3: Turn dough out on to a well floured surface (start with about 1/4 cup AP flour). Knead gently. Add more flour as necessary to form a very soft, but not sticky dough (just a minute or two). Transfer dough to the greased bowl. Flip over so that top of dough is now greased. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour. Dough will double in size.
Step 4: Transfer dough to a greased loaf pan (ceramic or glass is preferable since metal has a tendency to brown the high-sugar content dough too quickly). Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Step 5: Bake on the center rack of a 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from pan, then bake for 10 minutes more on the open rack or on a baking stone. Remove and let cool for 30 minutes.
I always have a hard time waiting for the bread to cool. I want to dive in right away. However, I've learned that the texture of the bread and even the flavor are much better once the bread has had a chance to cool and rest. Enjoy with plenty of sweet cream butter!