The appropriate title of this bread should be: caramelized onion levain bread with whole-grain buckwheat, rye and wheat, which closely reflects its key characteristics. Yes, it is a long name. There is a lot going on with this bread. The taste of caramelized onions and the sweet earthy note of buckwheat give this bread a bold and exceptional balance of flavors, not to mention its dark and distinctive look. The recipe is adapted from the caramelized onion bread from Bien Cuit by Zachary Golper, Peter Kaminsky & Thomas Schauer.
The on-line baking group, Bread Baking Babes (BBB), is baking this bread this month. The host Tanna has selected this splendid recipe for the group. There are plenty to like about this bread. Can't wait to join in for the fun. This month also marks the 8th anniversary for BBB. Congratulations and please continue bringing us good bakes and recipes.
I wanted to stretch myself a little for an improved healthful and tasty version. These were the directions I wanted to explore:
- Reach for the sourdough starter (140 grams) that's just been fed, instead of using a preferment that will take time to develop. My wild yeast colony was lively and ready for work. This sourdough starter is an 100% hydration levain, built with all-purpose and whole-wheat flours in equal portions. The natural levain is expected to improve the keeping and eating quality in breads. (No sourdough starter. No problem. The rye preferment in the Bien Cuit's recipe is a good option.)
- Use a blend of whole-grain wheat and dark rye flours (25%) to make the finished bread more wholesome. Lower the percentage of white flour (the powdery white endosperm–almost entirely void of nutrition) to less than 60% of the total flour weight.
- Use buckwheat flour (15%), which has no gluten, to the highest amount feasible, to inject some bold flavors. In many ways, this bread reminded me of a similar sprouted buckwheat bread I posted earlier.
- Include a larger amount of caramelized onions (70 grams) to heighten the sweet note of the bread. I used a whole onion for the recipe.
- Try my hands on new scoring patterns I saw in Bien Cuit.
- Meanwhile, keep hydration at a manageable (74%) level.
|Delicious looking burnt crust|
I was prepared to start from scratch and do over.
After 12-hours of cold ferment, the loaves did not seem to be ready for the oven. (Didn't pass the dimple test.) I took them out of the fridge and let them sit on the counter for about two hours at room temperature. Next they went into the preheated Dutch ovens. Baking was the best part of the whole process; the aroma was amazing. The loaves turned out better than I've expected. It is one of the most full-flavor breads I've had for a long time. I can't stop eating it. Savory and sweet in the same bite, with an incredibly moist, tender and delicious interior. The crust was rich and dark. Bien cuit (well baked, but not overdone), indeed!
|Denser and darker crumb resulted from 40% non-white flour|