The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cream Cheese & Onion - No Measure!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Cream Cheese & Onion - No Measure!

I really tested my knowledge and experience the other day. I had a bit of firm biga left from something else I was making and I hate wasting stuff, so I decided to make it into a loaf of bread. I did not measure anything for this, at all, so can't give you the recipe, but here's what I did:

  • Pour some water into the leftover biga in the bowl and stir it around until mostly dissolved
  • Add some flour (hmmmm, let's see what looks good) - sprouted whole wheat, whole durum (atta) and bread flour
  • Mix it up by hand (a little stiff)
  • Defrost a container of caramelized onions. After defrosting, there was a lot of very yummy liquid in the container so I dumped it all in and that made the hydration 'feel' just about right (maybe around 70% at the end?)
  • Add a few lumps of cream cheese
  • Sprinkle on some salt
  • Mix and develop by hand. Ferment for 2 or 3 hours (honestly, I didn't pay attention to the time either), stretching and folding about every 30 minutes until it felt right, then retard in the fridge until the next afternoon, when I had time to bake it
  • Bake in a cast iron pot, pre-heated to 475F then down to 450F for 20 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 20 minutes at 425F. This one was baked seam-side up for a natural burst, so no scoring. I like the sort of star shape!

I am so pleased how this turned out. It's absolutely delicious, for one thing. The smell of the cream cheese and onions is mouth-watering. I'm happy with the crumb and the crust as well, and pretty excited about the whole thing! Lots of fun too. :)


Ru007's picture

You're so talented! Your loaf looks and sounds delicious... YUM! 

Well done Wendy :)


leslieruf's picture

good to see some posts from you again, I had missed them lately!

happy baking Wendy


Elsie_iu's picture

It looks really scrumptious. I want to have a slice badly :)

Great job!

Yippee's picture

you are, LL!   Your ability to produce beautiful breads by "feel" amazes me.  You've done it again!  Good job!


isand66's picture

Great way to improvise on this one and the crumb turned out perfect.

Happy Baking.

dabrownman's picture

For a minute there the durum, cream cheese and caramelized onion had me thinking you were an Ian clone:-).  Amazing what a little bit of this and that can do for any kind of bread.  It really pulled itself off that hot iron!  Lovely

Happy baking LL

TomK's picture

And for just winging it! Nicely done.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

You're all so kind, and I really appreciate feedback from you all. :) My take-away from this experience was that a lot of our 'skill' comes not from the conscious learning (hydration percentages, inoculation rates, the science of sourdough, etc.) but from our unconscious mind, muscle memory and our senses (touch, smell, vision). We have to learn to trust these things and sometimes let our brains get out of the way! And also, that bread is pretty forgiving. I guess the thousands of loaves I've made over the last few years have taught me something. :)


Cedarmountain's picture

Hi Wendy,

A beautiful loaf, very nicely baked, and more impressive that you did this from scratch, without a recipe and using whatever ingredients were on hand!  I agree completely with your observation that real baking skill, as demonstrated by this lovely bread, must be learned by training and attention to details like measures, temperatures, times - but when all that becomes second nature, intuitive...that's when you are really free to improvise and experiment with the confidence of a master.  Well baked Wendy, beautiful bread!