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An artisan caramelized onion yeast bread.
- 2 cups warm water - divided use
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast - divided use
3 1/4 cups bread flour - divided use
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rings
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- This bread requires advance planning and
preparation. Letting the sponge (bread starter) sit overnight
enhances the bread's flavor (due to the longer fermentation process).
- Preparing the sponge:
Place 1/2 cup water (105°F to 115°F / 40°C to 45°C)
in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon yeast over the water and
let sit for 3 to 4 minutes, or until foamy. Mix in 1 cup of the
bread flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight in
a cool, dry spot.
- Caramelizing the onions:
The onions can be prepared the day before. Heat oil in a large
skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently,
for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden brown. Sprinkle
with brown sugar and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
Onions should be dark brown, soft and sweet. Remove from heat
and cool. Refrigerate until ready to make bread.
- Preparing the dough:
Place 1 cup water (105°F to 115°F / 40°C to 45°C)
in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of
yeast and let sit until foamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sponge,
remaining 2 1/4 cups bread flour, whole-wheat flour, salt and
pepper. With the dough attachment for an electric mixer, mix
dough for 2 minutes. Alternatively, beat vigorously with a wooden
spoon for 8 to 10 minutes. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Add reserved caramelized onions and resume
mixing for 12 to 14 minutes, or until dough is silky and elastic
and pulls away from sides of bowl. The dough should be very wet
and sticky, but still elastic. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled
bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm
place for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
- Turn a baking sheet upside down and sprinkle
with flour and cornmeal; set aside. Turn dough onto a well-floured
surface, handling it gently to preserve as much volume as possible,
and cut into 2 equal pieces. Gently pull and stretch each piece
of dough into a flat round, about 1 1/4-inches thick. Transfer
to prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place
for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
Place baking stone on the middle rack in oven to preheat.
- Right before placing loaves in oven, quickly
spritz water on oven walls with spray bottle. Immediately slide
loaves onto hot stone. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until bread
browns. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 2 loaves.
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