Dave’s Killer Bread – Updated CopyCat Recipe

I’ve been making a copycat version of Dave’s Killer Bread at least once a week for about a year now. Holy smokes. My 20-something self would never believe I’ve become so handy in the kitchen. My 30-something self hardly believes it either!

I am in no way an expert on all things related to bread making. I’m learning as I go and sharing the journey. Case in point: this bread incident.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to get my fix of the real Dave’s Killer Bread while visiting the Pacific Northwest. Since then, I’ve been tweaking the recipe ever so slightly to try and get it even closer to the original.

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I think the hardest thing to mimic is the texture or consistency of commercially baked bread with homemade bread. There are processes and preservatives that we don’t have in our everyday kitchens. Not that it stops me from trying!

Besides, if I don’t keep baking bread, I won’t have anything to eat for breakfast. Or lunch. Okay, sometimes dinner. But, that’s where I draw the line. 🙂

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Here’s what I’ve done:
1. To make the recipe slightly sweeter, I’ve been using 3 GENEROUS Tablespoons each of molasses and honey. This is an increase of 1 Tablespoon of molasses from what I started out using. If a little extra drips into the bowl, I’m not complaining. And if you run out of one or the other when you are baking, just substitute the other – I’ve done it and it works fine.

2. I’ve increased the vital wheat gluten to 1/2 cup from 1/4 cup. You can make this recipe without it and it will be just fine, but I think it does help texture-wise.

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3. To try and eliminate the variations in my bread outcomes (rising, not rising, lighter, heavier, etc.), I’ve become more careful about how I have been measuring the flour. Crazy, I know.

I’ve been sifting my flour and then using the spoon method to measure each cup. So, I scoop up the sifted flour with a spoon and empty it into the measuring cup. When the cup is full, I use the back of a butter knife to level it off.

I’m sure in a commercial bakery they are weighing the ingredients to maintain accuracy. I’m not that sophisticated in my kitchen and I have a super humid climate to deal with, so the amount of flour I use varies. The important thing is that you measure the flour the exact same way every time you make the recipe – at least, that’s my current theory!

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4. To help deal with the humidity and the extra liquid I’ve added to the recipe, I’ve lowered the water content to 2 cups instead of 2 1/4 cups. Even with the lowered water amount and the increased vital wheat gluten, I still have to add more than 4 cups of flour each time I make the recipe. That’s why there’s an asterisk on the amount of wheat flour to use on the recipe below.

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Well, we are down to 3 slices of bread, so I’m signing off now to get my hands happily goo’d up with bread dough! I hope you like this recipe and I’m super thankful for the original creator who did all of the heavy lifting! Happy baking!

Dave’s Killer Bread UPDATED Copycat Recipe
(Based on the recipe by the brilliant Kitchen Wench)

Ingredients:
2 cups of warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Tablespoons molasses
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon kosher salt (use whatever salt you have)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup long cooking oats (quick cooking oatmeal would be fine if that’s all you have)
1/4 cup steel cut oats
2 cups white flour
2 – 3 cups wheat flour*
olive oil for drizzling
extra honey for drizzling

Fill large bowl with warm water. Ideally, it will be 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let set for 5 – 10 minutes so the yeast can start working. I use this time to get out my other ingredients and by then, it should be good to go.

Add coconut oil, honey, molasses and salt to the water/yeast mixture. Give it a quick, gentle stir with a fork to break up the coconut oil (it usually comes as a solid).

Add in the oats, sunflower seeds, flax seed, quinoa and wheat gluten. Give it another gentle stir to combine.

Add in 2 cups of the white flour and 2 cups of the wheat flour. *SET ASIDE THE REMAINING CUP OF WHEAT FLOUR. (You may or may not need it depending on the humidity in your area. Some days I only need a quarter cup extra, some days I need the entire cup of flour.) Stir in the flour with a fork and then begin working the dough with your hands. If the dough remains sticky after you’ve kneaded it several times, start sprinkling a little bit of your reserved cup of flour in the bowl. Work the additional flour in with your hands. I can tell it is done when it has a more play-doh like texture – pliable, but not too sticky. You definitely do not want it goopy, but you don’t want it too dry either. (It might take 5 – 10 minutes of kneading and working in flour before mine is the right consistency.)

When the texture of the dough is ready, form the dough into a ball. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of the bowl for the dough to rest on and drizzle a little on top of the dough. Smear around with your fingers so the entire dough ball is lightly coated.

Cover the dough and let it rise until it has approximately doubled in size.

Punch down dough and knead it out for 3 to 5 minutes. You’re trying to work all of the air bubbles out of the dough. (You can experiment with kneading it for shorter or longer periods of time. I’m still figuring this part out.)

Recover the dough and let it rise again until the dough is approximately doubled in size.

Punch the dough out and again knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. Select half of the dough and form it into a loaf-like shape. Place it into a greased bread pan (cooking spray works too). Do the same with the other half of the dough.  Drizzle a little olive oil and honey on top of the loaf. (I rub it around gently with my fingers to lightly coat the entire top of the loaf.) Cover both bread pans and let the dough rise until it peeks over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

When the dough is done rising, place it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Check at the 15 minute mark and cover lightly with foil if need be so the bread doesn’t get too dark on top. When finished baking, remove bread from pan promptly and let cool on a baking rack.

Pat yourself on the back for being so freaking awesome. You just made fresh, homemade bread! How many of your friends can do that?

TIPS:
1) I let my bread rise in the microwave. It is the only place in my house that isn’t too drafty or too cool. I also usually place a hot pack (you know those ones that you can heat up in the microwave to keep casseroles warm during transport) under it. This step is totally not necessary, just something you can try if your bread isn’t rising.

2) I’ve never had to adjust my recipes due to humidity in the air before. So, I am learning. You could always decrease the amount of water in this recipe or like me, just add a little more flour.

3) If you want to go 100% whole wheat, go for it! My family prefers the split version of white and wheat flour as it tends to be lighter in texture. Do what ever suits your tastebuds.

4) Flax seed comes whole or milled. I prefer the taste in the recipe of the whole seed. I haven’t seen a difference whether you use the golden flax seed or the darker variety.

5) I’m sure that most baking recipes that call for sunflower seeds use the unsalted version. I use whatever version I have on hand. I’m not a stickler for the rules here!

6) I end up freezing both loaves of bread. When the bread is completely cooled, I slice up the entire loaf and put it in a gallon-size freezer bag and place in the freezer. That way, we can pull out just a slice or two as we need it and the bread doesn’t go to waste. If you are using the bread for sandwiches, it only takes a few minutes for a slice of bread to thaw.

26 thoughts on “Dave’s Killer Bread – Updated CopyCat Recipe

  1. Pingback: I’m Food Trendy and I Didn’t Know It | A Pretty Happy Home

  2. Pingback: Dave’s Killer Bread Copycat Recipe | A Pretty Happy Home

  3. Linda

    Thank you for sharing your efforts! I currently bake our own bread, but havealways baked white bread and never ventured to the wheat and grains. We loveDaves breads (live in Oregon), but it’s spendy, and I love to bake it myself. I have all the ingredients now, and today is the day to try your recipe – wish me luck!
    Oh, one question. I don’t want it too sweet, so should I use your former amounts of molasses and honey?

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Yay! I hope it goes well. This has been a fun learning experience for me, so if you have tips for me, let me know! I really don’t think that even with the additional tablespoon of honey and/or molasses that you’ll think this is a sweet bread. I’d go with the updated amounts. You could omit drizzling honey on top of the bread prior to making it though. Lately I’ve had some unsweetened coconut that I need to use up and I’ve been throwing a little of that in the recipe, so it’s a really forgiving recipe and customizable to what you enjoy. Good luck! I hope it turns out! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Linda

        It is wonderful!!!
        My hubby is very impressed, and the only thing I’ll do different is to turn my oven down a pinch – even with the foil the last 15 min,, it got a bit too dark. I should have known as my oven does run a tad hot. Im having toast with it right now 🙂
        So, now my sis wants your website, and I’ll give mom the second loaf to enjoy.
        Thank you again!

        Reply
        1. annisa Post author

          WOOHOO!! That’s awesome! I’m so glad it turned out. Thanks for making my day. 🙂

          Reply
  4. quilterpt

    Found your recipe and have been playing with it myself. Already had decreased the water as I did by mistake and it turned out fine, so am down to the 2 cups as well. I have been putting everything in my bread machine and taking it out at the dough stage. It rises very quickly, even with just the 1/4 c. gluten, so am pleased. It does brown really fast in the oven though, so wondering if a slightly cooler (400 degree) oven would help this? Even with the foil on at 7 min of cooking the tops got really brown. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      It might! If you try it at 400 degrees, let me know! I’d be curious to learn if it affects the browning much. I’ve had two different ovens since trying this recipe, so I know it has a little to do with the oven and a little to do with how much oil I put on top before baking. The more heavy-handed, the more quickly it browns. The sweet spot for my oven right now is somewhere around 10 minutes. My last oven, I could go all the way to 15 and still be fine. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Happy baking!

      Reply
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    1. annisa Post author

      I think I mentioned that it is hard to truly make a homemade bread taste exactly like a commercially baked bread. With that said, I’d say it’s closer to Blues Bread. The recipe is pretty adaptable though, so you can add more seed-type ingredients to make it closer to the taste you are aiming for. Good luck!

      Reply
  7. jenny

    Thanks so much for posting the recipe i make bread often but still sometimes buy Dave’s as a treat since it’s delish !!! so i was excited to try your recipe and it is delish too! : )

    – I made a few modifications, i only used 1/4 cup vital gluten sometimes i find more makes bread too chewy for my taste, especially if it’s a 50/50 white/whole wheat ratio. I also added in a “soak” time, i had read on a few other sites that is the secret to Dave’s bread- so followed the steps up to where you add the flour at that point i added 1 cup of white and 1 cup of whole wheat and let that mix for a good 5 mins, then covered with a towel and let sit for at least 90 min (i think longer would be even better for flavor development) after 90 mins it was very puffy, i added the rest of the flour, 1 cup white 1.5 cup whole wheat, and then gave a good long knead in the mixer, about 15 mins. Then I continued on with the recipe as stated. I felt the heat would be too high so I set my oven to 400 and baked for 26 minutes ( both loaves browned perfectly and had internal temp of 190 ).

    thanks again!

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      This is AWESOME!! I am so stoked to hear about your experiment. I have to try the soak time! I might have to get a mixer if I want to do 15 minutes of kneading though…OY, the arms!! Wouldn’t it be fun to do different taste tests?

      Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Hi – No. All the ingredients – oats, quinoa, etc. – go into the recipe raw. There’s enough moisture in the bread to make it all work out in the baking process. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Pam

    HI Annisa, what size bread pans did you use? I used 5 by 9 and the dough didn’t rise to the top of those pans after an hour rising, so thinking that I used the wrong size pan I went ahead and baked them as instructed. They are flat on top and less than 2 inches tall! I used my stand mixer with dough hook to knead instead of by hand, that is the only thing I did not follow! I wonder what to do differently next time, can you suggest?

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Hey! That’s a bummer! I have not used a stand mixer, but if anything, I think that would have done a better job. Ha! I’m not sure though.

      I do use normal size bread loaf pans, which I think are 5x9ish.

      It sounds like something went wrong with your yeast. Did the loaves rise to the top of your bowl for all of the other risings within a decent amount of time? I can usually tell if something has gone wrong with my yeast even if it seems to be rising “okay” before I put it in the loaf pans, as the dough will feel tough to work with, if that makes sense. It won’t have that ‘give’ and ‘bounce back’ when I’m kneading it.

      Unless temperature and humidity are just absolutely perfect, my dough will usually, at a minimum, rise to the top or just above the top of the pan and be slightly rounded. It is harder to achieve this if I’ve gone extra heavy with the whole wheat flour in the recipe. Whole wheat flour absorbs moisture differently and can produce denser breads.

      Those are my initial thoughts… I wish it was a slam dunk for you the first time out of the oven! I made my weekly batch today and it makes the kitchen smell so darn good!

      Reply
  9. Sara

    Hello! We love Dave’s Bread, but with 6 kiddos, it’s an expensive habit! Have you worked out an estimated cost per loaf? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Hi! I know! Dave’s can be SO expensive. Long story short, no, I have not calculated the cost. If you factor in your time, it’s probably never worth it, right? I do like knowing what goes into my bread though and I’ve found this bread is versatile. If you cut out some of the random ingredients, like vital wheat gluten, you can cut the cost down. Or only use ingredients that you would normally keep on hand. For instance, if you don’t eat steel cut oats regularly, then omit that ingredient and just double up on the regular oatmeal. I don’t like buying a special ingredient just for one recipe. Also, I’ve been adding sunflower seeds lately because I found them on sale. So, I can add or omit ingredients with this recipe, customizing it to what’s on sale or in my pantry and it seems to turn out just fine!

      Reply
      1. sara

        Thank you! My 10 year old daughter loves to bake, so it shouldn’t take much of my time 🙂 I think I can make a regular wheat loaf for $1.00, so even with the extra ingredients, it shouldn’t be more that the store price.

        Reply
  10. Rick

    I use 2 1/4 cups water and 4 1/2-4 3/4 cups flour (2 cups unbleached white)…
    Curious what size loaf pan is being used? On the second rise mine will barely rise to level in a 9×5 loaf pan. Should I use an 8×5 to get a higher raise? Just wondering if it me or the pan size.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Hey! I just went and looked at my pans. I think they are 9×5, that’s standard, right? It doesn’t say the dimensions – they are a Pyrex, but they do say 1.5 Qt. I do the first and second rise in the bread bowl and then I split the dough in half and transfer it to the bread pans for the third rise. Mine definitely clear the bread pan, but I’m having them do that rise (and all of the rises) on a heated pan in the microwave where I can control the air temperature. If my kitchen is drafty and cool, I have a heck of a time getting it to rise, so that’s why I went to the microwave. Not sure if that helps…

      Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      I’m not quite sure – I just enjoy making it, but I should probably try to figure it out one day. But the previous commenter might know. She had her regular white bread down to around a buck per loaf. The ingredient list is flexible though, so that can help!

      Reply

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