Caramelized Onion Sourdough with 4 Cheeses
Last weekend, we had a pizza party at the barn where my daughter leases her horse. The deal was that we provided the pizza oven, the dough, the sauce and the cheese. The rest of the gang brought the toppings. For us, we made Fig and Prosciutto pizza and Tarte flambée. The fig pizza called for caramelized onions. The last time I made caramelized onions, it took me 3 hours standing at the stove stirring the silly things. I thought that there had to be a better way and there is! It takes longer but there is no standing at the stove. Basically, one fills a crockpot half to 3/4 full of sliced onions, put in a pinch or two of salt, drizzle melted butter and olive oil over the lot, stir, and put it on low for 10 hours. Then, crack the lid and let it go for another 4 to 5 hours. The results is beautifully caramelized onions with no fuss! This made a huge batch and I froze quite a bit of them in ice cube trays. I also had a lot of left over cheese from the pizzas. So between the onions and the cheese, this bread was meant to be!
Makes 3 loaves
400 g unbleached flour
300 g bread flour
250 g high extraction red fife flour (I milled 285 g of red fife berries and sifted it. Save the bran for the levain)
50 g buckwheat flour (I used 50 g of buckwheat groats and milled them)
2 tbsp of dried Italian herbs
725 g water
100 g of shredded 4 cheese mix (parmesan, gouda, provolone and mozzarella)
72 g caramelized onions
30 g full fat plain yogurt
20 g salt
200 g levain (explanation below)
Plus high extraction whole wheat flour (local Brûlé Creek partially sifted flour) for levain
The morning before:
- Take 15 g of starter and add 15 g of high extraction wheat flour and 15 g of water. Let sit for 12 hours.
The night before:
- In a tub, put in the unbleached flour, the bread flour, the high extraction red fife flour, the buckwheat flour and the Italian herbs. Cover and reserve for the next morning.
- Use the bran from the red fife as well as some high extraction whole wheat flour to equal 30 g. Add this and 30 g of water to the levain. Let sit overnight.
- Thaw the caramelized onions if you have some frozen in advance. (Otherwise, slice one large onion and caramelize slowly on the stove with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a bit of butter as well as a pinch of salt.) Cover and reserve.
Dough making day:
- Very early in the morning, feed the levain 60 g each of high extraction whole wheat flour and water. Let rise for about 5 hours in a warm spot.
- About 2 hours before the levain is ready, add the water to the tub of reserved flours from the night before, mix well and let sit (autolyse) until the levain is ready.
- Add the caramelized onions, the shredded cheeses, the yogurt, the levain and the salt to the dough. Mix well and let rest about 30 minutes.
- Do three sets of French slaps and folds at 30 minutes intervals. The first set has 75 slaps, the second set has 40 slaps and the last set has 10 slaps. Continuing on 30 minute intervals, do gentle stretches and folds until the dough feels billowy, has bubbles on the surface, bubbles can be seen through the walls of the container and it giggles when shaken. I ended up doing two sets of folds but then the dough had to take a trip to the fridge because the kitchen got taken over by the daughter (She is a very messy baker 🙄). It spent almost 2 hours there. I was happy to see that the dough had risen only about 20% when I got back to it.
- Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~710 g. Round out the portions into fairly tight rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter.
- Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and 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. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle and continue stitching the rest of the loaf. 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 right boule.
- Place the dough seam side down in rice floured bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10 hours.
- The next morning, 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. Score the dough if you wish (I don’t as I like the rustic torn look). Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside.
- Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 17 minutes. Internal temperature should be 208F or more.