The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

20% Rye with Onions

Pablo's picture

20% Rye with Onions

I had a great time today with 20% rye with onion.  I remain focused on trying to get my stroke down really solidly with a particular formula, but I stepped out a little today.  I've been concentrating on baguettes, 250 g prebake weight.  I've been trying different flour combinations.  I like the flavour that a bit of rye adds, generally I stay with about 10% of the flour being rye.  Anyway, I've been wondering about a higher percentage of rye.  Today I baked a 20% rye with an onion diced, lightly cooked in olive oil and added into my intermediate build.  Pretty fancy for me.  I was really happy with the results.

Paul in the lab

Here's me in the lab - pulling the loaves out of the proofing box.

Loaves loaded on the peel, slashed and ready to hit the oven.  The peel is extended with cardboard to allow me to use the whole width of the stone.  My scale refuses to go to grams anymore, these loaves are about 12 oz. each, prebake weight.

Too bad about the lighting.  I thought it would be an artistic addition, but it detracts from the beaty of the loaves.

The crumb is nicely open for me.

Lately I've been experimenting with baking techniques because I was having trouble getting my crust to be crispy.  Today was a thrill because I made some decisions about baking style and it seemed to really pay off.  I've been baking usually all white or 90% white baguettes.  For baguettes I put the stone on the top rack of the oven and preheat to 550 F, I bake at 550 F and down to 485 F, I always start at 550 F but I'm still playing with what temp to turn it down to after the initial preheat.  That has worked well for straight baguettes, or with a bit of rye, but when I added some whole wheat the germ burnt and made the baguettes taste bitter. 

I knew that heavier rye concentrations wanted longer, lower temp to set the rye and bake properly, but I also wanted that initial spring that I could get from the 80% wheat content on a hot surface with steam.  So, I preheated to 500 F, rather than 550 F and slid the bread onto the stone, reduced temp to 415F and threw some water on the stones for steam.  10 minutes later I removed the pan of rocks that I use for steam and baked an additional 25 minutes at 415F.  Then I moved the loaves down to the middle rack so they could get heat all around them for baking and reduced the temp to 385F since they had already coloured up nicely.  I gave them 10 minutes at 385F and then shut off the oven and cracked the door for another 10 minutes.  For me it was a spectacular bake.  They're beautiful and tasty and I feel thrilled that I applied things that I've learned in baking and it seemed to actually work.  Woo hoo!


dstroy's picture

That is a great photo portrait!! Thank you for posting these :)

susies1955's picture

Loved reading through 'your' process with the 20% Rye With Onions. 

I've baked a lot of loaves but just NORMAL housewifey ones. 

Do you have any youtube videos? :o)

Susie in northern NY

pmccool's picture

looking loaves, Paul.  If the taste came close to matching the appearance, you had a real treat.



xaipete's picture

I esp. like the photo of the three loaves loaded on your extended peel. Great scoring and crumb.


sharonk's picture

Paul, I like your work setup. Beautiful loaves

Pablo's picture

I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures.  Baking bread rocks.

It's not part of my work space yet, but plans are afoot for a window in the kitchen.  Perhaps right over my bread station.

Rye By the Lake

:-P aul

Paddyscake's picture

and the loaves are really nice too!


Janknitz's picture

I made onion rye last week, and I could not taste the onion in the bread.  I carmelized the onions, and perhaps they were too mild.  I had the feeling that if I had lightly salted the onions before adding them to the dough they might have more flavor. 

My crust softend up, too.  Don't know why.  I used my clay baker and usually that gives a nice, crisp crust. 

Pablo's picture

This was my first attempt, so I don't really know what's crucial and what isn't, but what I did was:

I used one large onion for 900 grams of dough.  I diced the onion and lightly cooked it in a bit of olive oil and let it cool before incorporating it into the build.  I weighed neither the onion nor the oil, though I should have.  I will use 2 onions next time, I don't know that it's possible to have too much onion, as long as it's not gummy.  Eric, on this site, uses a technique of soaking dehydrated onions to rehydrate them and then using both the rehydrated onions and the water that they soaked in to get lots of onion flavour in his onion rolls.  I just used a regular, undehydrated onion and I added the lightly cooked and cooled, diced onion during an intermediate fermentation build, so the onion ended up in the dough for 24 hours before being baked.

I've never baked with a clay baker, so I don't know any technique there.  I've recently discovered that moving my baking stone as close to the top of the oven as possible (within about 3 inches) and using a steam technique (I use a pan of hot rocks on a rack a few inches below) does give me a crispy crust.  Something about the hot steamy cavern that is created by crowding it all to the top of the oven - there's nowhere for the steam to go.  With the onion loaves I also gave them an additional 10 minutes on an oven rack with the oven off and the door cracked.  I believe that contributes to a crispy crust as well.

I'll be trying this again soon.  I hope it's replicable.