When looking for a new bread recipe to try, I came across something that needed caramel color. Since I didn’t have any on hand, and since Robyn and I had just tried doing it on Saturday (without the expected success), I decided I should try the process again. I got the instructions from this site.

Caramel Color

1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water (divided use)

Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil,stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Boil until sugar colors-this is how you make caramel.
Continue cooking until sugar turns black and starts to smoke.  Remove from heat and carefully add 1/4 cup water, then return to heat and stir until liquid. Pour into glass jar and use as needed.

It seems like it should be fairly straight-forward. However, they don’t mention that it turns liquid, then powdery, then liquid again. Adding the water to the hot mixture causes it to turn solid. However, this time around I was expecting that, so I added it slowly while stirring vigorously. It seemed to help.

Combine sugar and water, bring to a boil, turns into syrup.
The water must evaporate, the mixture becomes powdery.
Keep stirring, it starts to melt again.
As it melts, it turns caramel colored.
Pour it into a jar and save for the next time you need caramel color.

Now, let’s try the bread recipe!

Outback Bread Copy-cat Recipe

2 cups room temperature water* (100°-110°F)
1/4 cup butter, margarine or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons caramel color
1/2 cup honey
3 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons gluten
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

Combine first 4 ingredients (water, oil, color, honey) and mix well. Pour wheat flour on top of wet ingredients. Add cocoa, yeast, gluten and salt. Stir until well blended. Allow mixture to sponge for 10 minutes.

That dab in the center is the caramel color that stuck to the side of the measuring cup; I added it after mixing everything else together.

Add all purpose flour, one cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and almost cleans the sides of mixer, about 3-4 minutes.

Allow to raise in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled, about 20-30 minutes.

Divide into 8 piles, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Shape into loaves and roll in cornmeal. Place on greased cookie sheet or greased 5 x 2 1/2″ mini loaf pans.

Allow to rise till double, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

This recipe can also make 3 medium  8 x 4″ loaves, bake for 30-35 minutes, or  2 large 9 x 5″ loaves, bake for 35-40 minutes. Recipe came from here originally.