Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread

What’s the secret to the addictive Cheesecake Factory brown bread that they give you before your meal?

Turns out it’s a mix of molasses and cocoa.

It tastes legit, and always disappears fast.


  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water (100-110F)
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter or margarine, softened
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • ¼ cup oats, to sprinkle on top before baking


In a large bowl, mix the flours, cocoa, and salt.

In a small, non-metal bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on the surface.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture along with the butter, honey, and molasses. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined into a thick, moist but not too sticky dough.

On a lightly oiled surface, knead for 10 minutes, adding flour only if it gets too sticky on your fingers.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let it rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place to double in size. If you poke the dough and it springs back right away, it’s not proved enough yet. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it’s overproved. If it springs back slowly, it’s just right!

After the dough has risen, divide the dough into 6 pieces. Flatten each piece out to a 4×6″ rectangle, then fold it over in thirds like a piece of paper to form a little baguette shape. Press to seal the seam and put it at the bottom of the loaf.

Put the loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use water on your fingers to gently wet the tops of the loaves, then sprinkle the oats over top.

Loosely cover with a damp tea towel and rise in a warm place to double for 3/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until the internal temperature is 190F and the crust is set but still soft.

Cool for 15 minutes, then enjoy with butter or make sandwiches from it.

Freeze any extras for delicious leftover bread.

Update: you can also bake this as two larger amazing loaves instead of 6 small ones: just do the second rise in 2 loaf pans and bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes – I test doneness with a cooking thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the bread is at least 195F.


Here are some quotes from the wise philosopher Confucius that guide me through difficult times:

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”

“The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

Wishing you courage to keep going and peace in your heart today.

Chef Maitri Carmichael brings a creative and peaceful energy to every plate. She grew up in Toronto with a British Grandma and an Italian Nonna who showed their love through food, then she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years, spending her free time at community farms and zen kitchens. Originally a scientist and biotech entrepreneur, she graduated from the Vegan Chef School in London (2021) and the Raw Food Culinary Academy in Vancouver (2023), and is now settled in Hawaii.

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