Friday, July 8, 2011

Potato Bread with Roasted Onions (Mellow Bakers: July)

I was really happy when I saw that for July we would be making a bread that revisited the roasted potato theme, one that I missed before I joined the group.  I figure I don't even have to go back and try the Roasted Potato Bread recipe, because this one is much better with roasted onions included.

I used the recommended Yukon gold potatoes for my potato and for the onion I chose to use a Vidalia.  I've been buying these at the farmer's market the past few weeks even though they are not grown local.  I figure they've got to be slightly fresher than the Vidalia's at the supermarket.  In case anyone's not familiar with these, they are a variety of sweet onion that is grown in a certain geographical production area defined by law in the state of Georgia.  Supposedly it is an unusually sweet variety of onion due to the low sulfur content of the soil in which it is grown in that part of Georgia.  Anyway they are super onions grilled, roasted whatever. 

I roasted my onions and potato the day before, as suggested.  I diced the potato up into maybe a half inch dice to roast and I sliced my onion thin to roast it.  After roasting they went into their own tupperware containers and sat in the fridge overnight and my pate fermentee sat on the counter overnight.

I was a little concerned about the water content of the onions the next morning, so I was skimpy on the water when adding it to the other ingredients, maybe leaving out a tablespoon or two.  The dough was stiff before adding the onions so I wasn't too worried at that point.  I think, on looking back now, that I should have put the onion on paper towels or something to try to absorb some of the excess moisture before putting them into the mixer bowl.  I did my kneading of all the other ingredients, and then put in the onions at the end to just incorporate.  Well, after adding the onion, the dough became a sloppy mess.  It wouldn't incorporate in the mixer even with adding a bit of flour.  I dumped the whole thing onto my silicone mat and painstakingly worked much more flour into the wet dough.  Ughh, it was a pain trying to work with the dough.  I finally quit adding more flour, because it seemed like a lot that I was adding.  I was hoping after fermentation that the dough would slurp up some of the excess moisture. 

After the 1 1/2 hours of bulk fermentation the dough seemed pretty slack and wasn't rising a whole lot so I folded it a second time and let it ferment an additional 30 minutes.

The dough was still pretty sticky, but I managed to shape it into a 1.5 lb boule and a mini-baguette.  I hadn't done the baguette shape in awhile and figured I better get some more practice.  The baguette shape sounds so simple and I can follow the pictures in the book, but it is so awkward to do when you actually go to do it yourself. 

Luckily, both the boule and baguette fit on my stone together.  I didn't get much oven spring from either loaf, but they looked pretty.  I took the baguette out of the oven after about 25 minutes and the boule after about 30 minutes.

The bread smelled up the house so wonderfully as it baked, especially the sweet onion scent.   Hubby was home early since they lost power at work and everyone was sent home.  After sitting upstairs the whole time it baked and smelling it, he began begging for some the minute I showed him the finished loaves.  I told him it must cool, and so he patiently waited a short time and then begged again.  I gave in and we tried a slice or two before dinner.  I quickly forgot my kneading/shaping frustrations, when I tried this bread.  It was soft, with a slightly chewy crust, and the sweetness from the onion permeated every bite.  It didn't even need butter; I just ate it plain.

We polished off the rest of the baguette for dinner with the Southwestern Chicken Black Bean Soup I made, and the leftover roasted potato got tossed into the soup, which made it even better.

We couldn't really see any of the onion or potato in the slices of the bread, maybe because I diced up the onion in small pieces before adding it to the dough, I'm not sure, but believe me you could taste the onion!
 This is such a wonderful bread that I know will get made again, especially during winter soup weather.  I am anxious to see how everyone else baking along with mellow bakers, does with this bread in July.


  1. Such lovely bread there, Mel!

    Glad to see it worked out in spite of the extra moisture; I'll be sure to attend to that when I make this one up. I'd expect a stay on paper towels should help wick out the excess moisture, as you suggest.

  2. I could almost see you struggling with the sticky, wet dough. The end result seemed to be worth the mess though. I'll bet that the onion and potatoe made a super good taste. Qudos (is that how you spell it?) to the baker.
    Love Dad

  3. Hi Mel - you're making me hungry reading your post, I would be sat there begging for bread too. I'm definitely going to make this one thanks to your enthusiasm. I shape and handle sticky doughs with a little bit of olive oil on my hands and on the worksurface and then they magically behave themselves (method suggested in The Hand Made Loaf by Dan Lepard) I use flour at the end to finish off the shaping and kind of coat them for sitting in their baskets or resting cloth. Give the oil method a try one time if you haven't yet (maybe you have?) and see if it works for you.