The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding onions to recipe

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BrianOD's picture

Adding onions to recipe

I'm trying to add fresh, carmelized onions to a wild yeast whole wheat bread recipe. Any ideas on how much "water" I should consider being added to the recipe from these onions? Would it be half the weight? 1/4? I know it will be just an estimate, but I'd like to have a staring point for my hydration numbers.


Antilope's picture

According to the Colorado State University Extension flyer concerning feeding onions to livestock, "They are 90 percent water...."

arlo's picture

I would add without extra water, while keeping some flour along side to help bring the dough back to the hydration prior to the onions - if you liked the original hydration. As stated above, onions are primarily water, so they will increase the hydration of the dough.

gary.turner's picture

If you're going to sauté the onions to caramelize them, that should drive most of the water out. You may be able to treat the onions as pretty much hydration neutral. Be sure to drain well through a sieve.



clazar123's picture

 If you want more onion deliciousness,, read this post.

This thread is about onion rolls but this particular discussion is how to get the best onion flavor into a bread or roll. Fresh and even caramelized onions can impart a very, very mild onion flavor (tho the caramelized are prettier).

BrianOD's picture

Well, I acted on the first note saying that onions are 90% water, reduced the water added to my recipe and mixed it together. It did seem a tad dry so I stopped incorporating the flour mixture with 30g flour left out (out of 1000g). It's doing it's bulk fermentation today.

So... can I incorporate more water into the mixture at the end of the fermentation period (12 hours) or should I do it now? Or should I just bake as normal and chalk it up to the learning process?

here's a pix of my bake this morning (not the onion bread, that's tomorrow). This is the same recipe that I'm using in the onion loaf




pjkobulnicky's picture

in the past and I have never adjusted for water.  I too consider caramelized onions to be hydration neutral. I assume that you are starting with about one medium cooking onion per kilo loaf which can be accommodated by the kilo's worth of dough.


BrianOD's picture


It was about 160g of carmelized onions (1 lg & 1 sm onion) to about 970g flours, 160 g starter@60%. Knocked off 120g water from the normal 720g. It's been about 9 hours and it is showing some growth. About what I would normally expect at this point. Activity usually picks up about now, so we'll see.

Antilope's picture

today from a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup (70g) of finely diced raw onions. I added this to the loaf and didn't compensate for it in the hydration. The raw onions didn't seem to have any effect one way or the other in loaf hydration during kneading. I would say it was  similar to adding raisins to the loaf rather than say adding over-ripe berries or juicy grapes. No moisture was released during kneading. Even though the onions are 90% water, it must be tightly bound as you can't squeeze it out by kneading. The final baked product was moist with a good crumb, so any moisture released during baking probably kept the loaf moist, but not doughy. So adding raw onions to a loaf of bread seemed to be hydration neutral.

isand66's picture

I use onions all the time in my bakes and have never considered them in my hydration calculations.  I do not find sautéed onions to impact the hydration much if at all so I would not worry about it.

BrianOD's picture

They're out of the oven and they don't look any worse for the lack of water. They don't seem to be as tall as the previous bakes, Waiting for them to cool to see (and taste) inside.

The pix is of  the two loaves, I played with the angle of my scoring knife, same cuts, just different angles.