Caramelized Onion Cheese Loaf

When I was young, there was a bakery in town that specialized in a Cheese Onion loaf. It was a soft, white crumb studded with melted cheese pockets and caramelized onions chunks. The bread was a sought after item and you could smell it baking from far off.  So keeping that in mind, I made up a 64% hydration dough with some milk in it. I decided to do a one day ferment. I started in the morning and made the dough. During the day while the dough was fermenting, I caramelized up two onions. It takes a while to caramelize them to the point where the chunks turn really dark.

Here is the formula for the dough:

Caramelized Onion Cheese Loaf:

  • 283 g of 100% hydration vigorous starter
  • 256 g water
  • 56 g evaporated milk
  • 14 g oil
  • 14 g sea salt
  • 567 g bread flour
Mix the above ingredients in the order given until you have a rough dough ball. Allow the dough to ferment, covered, for six hours. Fold the dough four times over the six hour fermentation time.
During this time chop up and add to a large heavy bottom skillet:
  • 2 sweet onions chopped into chunks – 567 g
  • enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan
Brown on medium low heat, stirring once in a while, for about 45 minutes or until the onions are a nice dark color. When you are done the onions will weigh around 208 g. Cool the caramelized onions.
When your dough is almost done fermenting, chunk up 226 g of cheese (the type is your choice). I cut the chunks in .5 to .75 inches. The size doesn’t really matter, just make sure the chunks of cheese are not too small, or they melt into the dough.
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Divide the dough into two pieces, round up and allow to set for 20 minutes.
Divide each piece of dough in half again and round up each piece and flatten it.
Then take your knife or dough blade and chop two of the pieces of dough into one inch size chunks.
Begin pulling the other two pieces of dough into a flat circle which will end up being 12 inches in diameter. I pulled the dough, waited ten minutes and then finished pulling it out the rest of the way. You don’t want it too thin as it will become the outer layer of the loaf.

Now take half of the caramelized onions, 113 g of cheese chunks and one pile of the dough chunks and place them in the middle of the dough circle.

Fold the dough edges to the middle to make a boule:

 

Place the boule in an oiled 8″ baking dish or pan. Oil the surface of the dough and repeat the shaping and filling for the second loaf. Allow your boules to ferment for about 2.5 to 3 hours in a warm place. Keep the surface covered, oiled or both.

When the proofing is done, slash the top of the dough and bake the loaves together in a preheated oven at 425F  for 30 – 40 minutes or until a baking thermometer reaches 205- 210F. I used a baking stone to give the bread extra bottom heat.

Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

 

 

I will post a crumb shot later when the bread is sliced.

The aroma of this bread is awesome, as you could imagine!

Crumb shot:

 

 

 

10 Responses to 'Caramelized Onion Cheese Loaf'

  1. kollin says:

    Droooooool :D

  2. Tinaskingdom says:

    This is next!

  3. Martina says:

    It´s amazing! I must give a try to it – as a gift for my friend´s nameday. I´ll just add a little bacon, since she is carnivorous… Your breads are so inspiring. Thank you very much, your posts have significantly improved my loaves .

  4. Liz says:

    This bread looks absolutely delicious. I really like your method of mixing the dough chunks and filling and putting them in a dough ‘skin’, it would help prevent any pesky burnt bits.

  5. Sarah says:

    Great technique Teresa! Looks delicious and I think I could smell it all the way over on the east coast!

  6. tonyk says:

    i am assuming that you invert the loaf before baking such that the pinched top is now the bottom of the bread — it looks so good — thanks for your help —

    TONYK

  7. tonyk says:

    I MADE THIS BREAD TODAY AND I AM SO HAPPY I DID — IT IS FABULOUS — SUCH GREAT FLAVORS — THANKS FOR THE FORMULA AS I WILL USE IT MANY TIME IN THE FUTURE —

    TONK

  8. tonyk says:

    BEING A CHEAPSKATE I WONDER WHAT I COULD REPLACE THE CONDENSED MILK WITH AS I HAVE TO OPEN A BIG CAN OF THE MILK AND USE ONLY 56 GRAMS AND THE OTHER IS WASTED — WOULD WHOLE MILK WORK AS WELL??? — AS ALWAYS I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU ADVICE —

    TONYK

    • northwestsourdough says:

      Yes, you can use plain milk, but the creamier the better. I open a can of evaporated (not condensed) milk and then cover it and use it often in my other baking, so it isn’t a waste for me.

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