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.
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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)
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?
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.
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If you enjoy bread as much as I do, you might like one of these too!