The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Sourdough Revisited

Danni3ll3's picture

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Sourdough Revisited


 I’m revisiting a lot of my recipes so it was time to remake this one and tweak the method as well. I did not sift out the bran and I used mostly unbleached flour in the levain. To be honest, I was being lazy since I had very little wholegrain flour handy, I just used unbleached flour. I also decided not to add the usual yogurt since the dough seemed quite hydrated and there would be plenty of fat to tenderize the crust from the onions and the bacon.


To make things easier, the bacon is done in the oven and the caramelized onions are done in the crockpot a few days prior. It needs a bit of planning but it sure helps having all that prepared ahead on dough making day.  




Makes 3 loaves



120 g crumbed bacon (~350 g raw)

100 g caramelized onions 



750 g strong bakers unbleached flour

200 g freshly milled Red Fife flour 

100 g freshly milled durum flour

50 g freshly milled buckwheat flour 

825 g filtered water

20 g pink Himalayan salt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

Extra AP flour to feed the Levain. 


 A few days before:

  1. Make the caramelized onions and save in the fridge. Recipe for doing these in the crockpot is below.


Two mornings before:

  1. Take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain flour. Let sit at cool room temperature for the day. 


The two nights before:

  1. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of unbleached flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night. 


The morning before:

  1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 100 g of unbleached flour. Let rise until doubled (about 6 hours). 
  2. Place into fridge until the next morning. 
  3. Cook the bacon until fairly crisp and crumble it. I cooked mine in the oven to make the process a bit easier. Crumble, cover and refrigerate.
  4. Mill the buckwheat groats for the main dough and place in a tub.
  5. Mill the Red Fife and durum berries. Place the required amounts in the tub with the buckwheat flour. 
  6. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and set aside.


Dough making day:


  1. In the morning, put 825 g filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature. 
  2. Take the levain out of the fridge and place in a warm place to warm up. I use my oven with the light on.
  3. Remove the caramelized onions and bacon from the fridge and leave on the counter to come to room temperature.
  4. After 2 hours, add the salt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 9 minutes. 
  5. At the end of the 9 minutes, add the caramelized onions and the crumbled bacon. Mix until well combined.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot. 
  7. Do 2 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 sets of sleepy ferret folds (coil folds) at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 50%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and  bubbles on top as well. (Well we almost got there. Hubby decided he needed the kitchen to make dinner so my dough took a side trip to the fridge for an hour. When I took the dough out, it had risen 75% and was full of bubbles. I popped the larger ones during preshape and shaping.)
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~800 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 15-30 minutes on the counter. 
  9. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and cross over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  10. Sprinkle a  mix of rice flour and all purpose flour in the bannetons.  Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, about 11 hours later, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.





Caramelized Onions in the Crockpot


3 to 5 pounds yellow onions (4 to 5 large onions. I used Vidalia onions.)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter (I do a bit of both)

Pinch of salt


  1. Cut onions in half, peel and thinly slice. Put into slow cooker. 
  2. Toss onions with the olive oil and add a few chunks of butter.
  3. Cook for 10 hours on low. Give them a stir occasionally. 
  4. Cook an additional 3 to 5 hours with the lid ajar until most of the liquid is gone.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze the onions. Onions will keep in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for at least 3 months.


kendalm's picture

and, saw some of your new posts.  Was going to ask when we might see the usual huge 6 pack of boules.  well, question answered.  looks great ! 

Benito's picture

Such beautiful loaves Danni. The flavour of bacon and onion it it must be lovely. 

isand66's picture

What else do you need?  What an egg sandwich this bread would make!

Danni3ll3's picture

That’s what I’ll make with it tomorrow!

isand66's picture

Cheese 🧀!

Danni3ll3's picture

 🥚 🧀 😊

Danni3ll3's picture

Benito's picture

Lovely crumb, where’s the photo of the sandwich?

Danni3ll3's picture

Hubby ate it!