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Dark and Soft Restaurant Style Rolls

Dark Restaurant Style Rolls

I received quite a few requests to post a recipe of the dark restaurant style rolls.

After a couple of tests I am so excited to share my best result with you. Here you go!


Sourdough Starter



Day 1


  • 10 pm dissolve starter in the water, whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover and let it sit at room temp 74-78F until it increases in volume in 2 or more times.
  • Learn how to make sourdough starter from scratch here).

Day 2


  • 8 am in a mixer bowl add all flour, cocoa powder, water, sourdough starter, honey and sugar and mix dough on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Add salt and mix it for a couple more minutes. The dough should form a ball.
  • Add soft butter, increase the speed of mixer, mix for 10 more minutes until the dough is well incorporated and comes up together.
  • Cover and let it proof for 3-4 hours at 76-80F/ 24-26C.
  • During that time perform 2 stretches and folds.
  • The dough should become slightly puffy.

12 pm transfer the dough to the fridge for cold fermentation until next morning.

Day 3

  • 7am take the dough out of the fridge.
  • Divide into 8 equal pieces (about 80g each).
  • Roll each piece in a tight roll. Pinch the edges and deep each roll into oats.
  • Place rolls on parchment paper, cover the rolls and let them proof for 3-4 hours, 76-80F/24-26C, until they double in volume.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Bake for about 25-28 minutes until they turn dark brown.


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Recipe Name
Dark and Soft Restaurant Rolls with Sourdough Starter
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25 thoughts on “Dark and Soft Restaurant Style Rolls

  1. Hi, looking great sourdough rolls looks great. Can I ask if the levain is (65 sourdough,30 water,30 Bread flour? Thanks.for your recipe.

    1. Hi! Thank you 🙏
      It was a typo.
      Please check again!
      I fixed it.

      1. Great thanks for the all your great recipes

  2. Thank you.
    Since I slipped into your world I Have learned and I have improved so much. Never failed so far following your steps.
    Thanks from Italy

    1. Thank you so much!
      It means a lot to me 🙏🙏🙏

  3. Hello Natasha, I LOVE every recipe I have every tried of yours, thank you for all you do. I am going to try this recipe and was wondering if the coca powder is sweetened or unsweetend?
    Unrelated comment… but I am looking forward to you publishing your gluten free bread recipe!

    1. Hi!
      I was using unsweetened cocoa powder.
      And I’m still working on developing the best gluten-free 🙏

  4. Hello, if you already have starter, what is the total grams needed? Thanks

    1. Hi!
      You will need 60g of starter.

  5. I really really want to try this recipe, can you please convert the measurements into cups!!

    1. The result is better when you weight your ingredients. It’s more accurate.
      180g water = 1/2 cup + 2Tbsp(more or less). The problem(almost all the time) is going to be the flour.

    2. Hi!
      Sorry for inconvenience.
      Using grams in recipe will provide you with the best results 🙏

  6. Can I use dutch processed cocoa powder

    1. Yes 8

  7. Hi Natasha,
    Can I bake this in Sandwich loaf pan instead ? in What Size ?
    Thank u so much for sharing the RECIP.

    1. Hi!
      Sure you can.
      I think the amount of the dough should be enough for 9×4 loaf pan

  8. Hi Natasha,
    Thank you for your wonderful website!
    If I want to add seeds to the rolls, should I prepare a soaker (and reduce the water)?

    1. Thank you!
      You can add dry seeds, but add little more of water to the dough.
      Or prepare soaker ahead of time. And hold little water from the recipe. Because it might be a lot(including water from soaker)

      1. Thank you! I prepared a soaker and it turned out great!

  9. HI Natasha, I would like to make this recipe, they look delicious and very similar to the cheesecake factory brown bread. I found a copycat recipe with commercial yeast and made it for my nephew. He loved it but it needed to be more sweet. The recipe called for molasses and expresso coffee. How can I adjust your recipe to get closer to the cheesecake factory brown bread flavor that we love. Thanks.

    1. Gloria, in my opinion this bums taste exactly like Cheesecake Factory ones 😉

  10. hi! all your recipes I tried turned to be success! thank you! can you pls tell me what is the purpose of adding cocoa? is it only for color? thanks a lot!

    1. Nava, hi!
      Yes cocoa is only for color.

  11. Dear , I made this bread and it was great ! And its much more delicious than Cheesecake Factory restaurant!
    Only for my opinion hope become more crunchy outside
    How Can I Get like that? Make steam in oven ?

  12. Hello, Natasha. Can I replace the sourdough starter with biga?

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