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

Printable Recipe

  • 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 five to six hours. Fold the dough four times over the 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.

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/218C  for 30 – 40 minutes or until a baking thermometer reaches 205+F/96+C. I used a baking stone to give the bread extra bottom heat.

Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

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

Crumb shot:

Happy Baking Everyone! Teresa

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