The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Caramelized Onion Sourdough with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Italian Herbs

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Caramelized Onion Sourdough with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Italian Herbs

I have had a number of breads that include onions bookmarked, but never got around to trying them. So this is my attempt at this.

1. Caramelize 3 diced onions in 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil. Since I quadruple my recipes, this took me 3 hours! Normally, it takes 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside to cool. I prepared mine a few days ahead and put them in the fridge. I let them come back to room temperature before using them.

2. Autolyse 650 g unbleached flour, 50 g freshly milled buckwheat flour, 252 g freshly milled red fife flour, 50 g freshly ground flax seed, 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs (the plan was to use 2 tbsp but I didn't have enough), 50 g freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and 700 g of water. I found putting in 600 g of water first, mixing and then adding the last 100 g to work really well in mixing the initial dough. Due to other things interfering, I let the dough autolyse for about 3 and half hours. Wow! I was very surprised at how supple the dough felt after this. I will have to not be afraid of autolysing for longer than a couple of hours.

3. Mix in 30 g plain full fat yogurt, 72 g of caramelized onions (or all that you got from step #1), 20 g salt and 275 g of 80% freshly fed levain. My levain is usually rye and unbleached flour but I have a bag of whole grain Rogers Whole Wheat flour that I need to use up so I am feeding my levain that instead of the rye. I find things are a bit slower but that is okay. I use my levain once it has tripled.

4. Do 3 sets of folds 20-30 minutes apart and leave to double. This took 5.5 to 6 hours. The wholewheat instead of the rye does slow things down. Or it just might be because it is much colder here... who knows. The dough will be ready when it is ready.

5. Divide into 729 g boules, pre-shape, let rest 15 minutes and do a tight final shape. I then put them in bannetons, covered them and then put into the fridge to proof for ~10 hours.

6. The next morning bake as usual in Dutch ovens for 25 minutes at 450F, uncover and then at 425F for 22 minutes. 

They smell fabulous! Unfortunately, they are all promised to other people, I even had to give away the loaf that I was saving for us so no crumb shot unless one of my friends sends one to me. 

 

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Lovely. May I feature this one the homepage for a bit?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

You don’t even have to ask. I would be honored!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

What a beautiful bread.  Never added onions yet but sounds just great.

"This took 5.5 to 6 hours".  Wow!  I don't think that I've ever bulk fermented a dough more than maybe 3-3 1/2 hours  - if that, before retarding it.  But it is always 78-80 degrees in my kitchen.  I hope that you had something like Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Ten Commandments" to watch back to back to while away the time...

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

are always 4-5 hours, usually 5 hours and that’s  in the oven with the lights on and the door cracked open. I did measure the temp once and it was 82F in there. Maybe I don’t need to wait till the dough is doubled but somehow I don’t feel it is ready if I don’t. 

Oh and I don’t sit around waiting for the dough to rise. Once the folds are done, I can squeeze in a walk or there is always Candy Crush. ;-)

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Yet another incredible looking loaf! Wow.. the flavor combination sound great. You're oven bake must have filled the house with an Italian Sunday afternoon lunch gathering!  Well done!

 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

the kitchen making comments on how good it smelled. I was surprised because parmesan cheese is definitely not his favourite. I am going to have to remake this for him. 

As to the predictable comment, I am not quite sure how to take that. Makes me sound like I am in a rut! Ha ha!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

As soon as I saw that loaf on the front page I thought "I bet that's one of Danni's!" Really too bad about the crumb shot, but that would only make me drool even more. :)

What a great 'cheese & onion' combination. Oh, the aroma! <more drool>

What prompted the inclusion of buckwheat flour? Just because, or did it scream out to be included?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

of organic Buckwheat groats. I need to use them up and one recipe I looked at, and it might have been one of yours, included Buckwheat flour so in it went too. 

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

sounds awesome.  Have to wait for the weekend , but yummm.

You are my inspiration.

Carolann

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Just remember I am still a new baker. I started this bread thing two years ago and never dreamed I could do this. I owe most of it to the great people on this site. They are the true inspiration!

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

Take a bow..  lovely bake - yet another to bookmark and try. I can just imagine the smell of the bread baking... like LL I'm drooling :)

Leslie

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

gorgeous bread! I have never used onions but you and Ian have convinced me to try it. I see you have the cooked 3 and end up at 72 g. My onion weighs 366g ! Were the three onions for your 12 loaves? Have you tried doing 1 or 2 large batches of bread or do you always do 4 smaller batches? You have 12 bannetons?sorry for all the questions, I am going to have a second refrigerator in the basement of our new to us home starting Dec. I can now bake larger amounts and sell at the local farmers market. I started adding yogurt every batch of all breads and it really makes a world of difference. Love your innovations!! Thank you. c 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

so for only 3 small loaves. I used regular yellow onions of average size. I probably should have weighed the onions before I started but didn’t. 

For my 12 loaves, I always do 4 smaller batches because I mix by hand and I use 6 litre Cambro buckets. And yes, I now have 12 750g bannetons. I was using plastic baskets but over time, I acquired the bannetons because they take up less room in the fridge. I now use only 2 shelves instead of 3 or more. 

Another hint to help speed things up is to use plastic bowl covers bought at the dollar store rather than plastic bags. They look like shower caps. They dry out faster and take up less storage room. 

I have thought about doing more than 12 loaves but then this will turn into a job rather than a hobby. I am retired and plan to stay that way! Ha ha!

I am glad that my notes are helping. 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

i have bowl covers for everything! Love them. I am used to using a 13 qt bowl to mix up large batches. I have double ovens at present but won't at New house till I remodel the kitchen--. I use preheated cast iron so baking four at a time in the two ovens is a big process for 12 loaves. When I do my Challah I can bake 6 per oven at one 35 min bake and done. But everyone loves SD.  my baskets are the same size as the bannetons I have but there is the nuisance of washing the cloth napkins I use to line them. Always something! I made 3 loaves today and shaped 10/ 80g sandwich buns... oh my they were great. I have been doing a triple levain - each is mixed and fermented separately 180g rye/180g durum/50g AYW and flour mixed and let to rise.i mix them all together when I add them to the dough.  This gives me 400g and makes 4 750-800g loaves. I will give the onions a go soon. Thanks for the tips. I am retired also so not sure I want to work too hard either LOL! But I started making all our bread in 1975 so can't stop now. Look forward to exchanging more tips . c

Yippee's picture
Yippee

The ingredients make me drool!  Congrats on making the headline again! Way to go, Danni!

Yippee

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Congratulations on the homepage feature.   Looking forward to the next bake to see that crumb!   

Mini

Flour.ish.en's picture
Flour.ish.en

but with the same signature look. I'm amazed how consistent your breads turn out each and every time. 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

like happened a few weeks ago. Who knew that dried apples would absorb so much water and then release it to turn my dough into soup (an exaggeration but it felt like soup). 

isand66's picture
isand66

This one is right up my alley.  I'm sure you've noticed all the bakes with onions in the past from me.

A tip to speed up the onion caramelization is to add a touch of balsamic vinegar.  It adds a little extra sugar and helps things along a bit.  You can also put them in a sheet pan and bake them in the oven, stirring occasionally.

In any case, congrats on the cover spot, and I'm sure that crumb was spot on as usual.

Happy Baking.

Ian

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am sorry it isn't clearer than this but better than nothing.

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks like I would expect....nice and moist and open. Great bake!

Ian

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

an Ian porridge bread:-)  I sure looks grand on the outside and very nice on the inside too.  It has to taste too good for a cover shot!  Congrats on that too...Keep up the fine baking Danni

sdivecliff's picture
sdivecliff

Please pardon my ignorance.  I'm relative new at this and I got a little confused on ingredient quantities.  I'm baking one or two loaves at a time.  I'm using 9 inch baskets and 4 qt. cast iron dutch ovens.  The ingredients, particularly the onions seem rather generous for my needs.  Are your ingredients already quadrupled or is this a standard two loaf recipe?  It looks absolutely wonderful and would love to give it a try.  

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

will give you two big loaves that should fit in your 9 inch baskets or 3 smaller roughly 650 g baked loaves. I never post my ingredients as quadrupled because I make all my batches individually. 

I used 3 medium sized regular yellow onions and the quantity is definitely not too much. Onions shrink like crazy when they are carameized. You can cut back if you wish but my friends tell me the quantities were perfect. 

If you do try this, let me know how you like it. 

sdivecliff's picture
sdivecliff

Thank you for the quick reply.  I am definitely going to give it a try.  It just jumped to the top of my list!

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Danni.. I couldn't eat the bread after you gave it to me last week as we were headed south.  I wrapped it in cling wrap, placed it into a zip-lock freezer bag and froze it. I read that the best way to thaw frozen bread is to bring it to room temp still in the cling wrap - which I did over night. Apparently you let it thaw in the cling wrap so that moisture doesn't escape the bread. And when I took it out of the cling wrap today, I put it directly into the oven at 350 for 15 minutes right on the oven rack. We just had it for lunch!

The aroma as it warmed up was terrific. The crust crisped up nicely. The crumb was beautifully flavorful and not too moist - and looked great! Truly great bread. I love your flavor combinations!

Thank you again!

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

You thawed it out perfectly! The crumb looks like it could be a bit more open. I am reading Trevor’s book so hopefully the next time i make this, I will get that. 

I just made your “Let’s Blame CNN” loaf and it smells amazing! Waiting for it to cool before cutting into it. 

sdivecliff's picture
sdivecliff

I'm giving this loaf a go today.  We'll see!

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

how it turns out!

sdivecliff's picture
sdivecliff

This bread was delicious.  Flavor is off the chart and so moist!  Loved it.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am so glad that it was successful for you. Your loaf looks amazing! Well done!

Juan Pablo's picture
Juan Pablo

I made this for my sisters in law as a christmas present and boy I must say that was a smash hit (Just the smell made me daydream). Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful recipe; The only thing I regret was not ming a loaf for myself. will right that wrong very soon :)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am so glad it was a hit!

Mister Benny's picture
Mister Benny

Rank amateur here but not afraid to make mistakes to get somewhere. 
I do some excellent caramelized onions in the crock pot and use them in all kinds of things. 
Was wondering if I could use some in a bread and you answered that for me in style!
I may put some caramelized garlic in mine as well. Thanks!

BabeRuth's picture
BabeRuth

Awesome!  Isn't 275 g of levain a lot for two 729 g boules?  Also, I'm just starting out.  How do you arrive at 80% levain.  Help!

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

My batches of dough makes 3 loaves. As to the 80% hydration, it wasn’t exactly 80% but close. This is how I used to do it: 

When I want to make bread. 3 nights before the morning I want to bake (Thursday night), I take out 5 g and feed it 5 g of rye flour and 5 g of filtered water. The next morning (Friday), I feed it 10 g of rye flour and 10 g of water. That same night, I do 20 g of rye flour and 20 g of water. The day I make the dough (Saturday), I feed it 105 g of water, 105 g of bread flour and 26 g of rye flour. It usually triples in four hours.

 

The 266 g of Levain ended up being 148 g of flour and 118 g of water. You could simply go ahead and use your 100% hydration starter and adjust the flour and water amounts in your dough to come up with the same total amount of flour and water. 

 

By by the way, I no longer do this and use a 100% hydration starter because it is easier to calculate the amount of prefermented flour. 

ETA: I usually used 266 g of levain, I must have used 275 because I had extra leftover. 

boyfood@gmail.com's picture
boyfood@gmail.com

Totally immersed in your loaves & recipe. As soon as I obtain enough onions I plan on baking the same. To that point, I'm having difficulty with your ETA. Do you have these numbers reversed? How else could you have extra leftover if you used more g of levain? Just asking, maybe begging. Thanks, Ted

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

than the recipe calls for because some gets stuck to the walls of the container and I can’t svrape it all off. Just follow the recipe and you will be fine. 

BabeRuth's picture
BabeRuth

Hi again.  Do you caramelize the onions in batches?  I've have them in one big pan.  I guess that's why you said it will take 45 minutes to an hour.  I'm doing it on medium heat.  Thanks so much.  I hope I'm not bugging you.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am a teacher by trade and love to help people so ask away. I did all of my onions in one big batch. It took forever because I was doing 4 batches of the above dough at once. Just keep the heat low and watch they don’t burn. They will eventually turn a nice golden colour. Some people add a pinch of sugar to help it along but that not something I have ever done.