Monday, June 8, 2015

Sourdough onion rolls and pocket breads

Our friend Johnny brought over movies and food, and he put me in charge of bread for hot links (and, for me, chicken). I decided to make onion sourdough buns. They came out really well!

Onions on the inside and outside of this sourdough roll

I made the usual Josey Baker sourdough recipe, but I when I combined all the ingredients, I added 2/3 cup of chopped, cooked yellow onion. (Nathan had chopped a big onion for me and cooked it in some olive oil until it was soft. The onion cooked way down; that 2/3 cup might have been as much as 1-1/2 cups.) The remainder of the onion went into the refrigerator, waiting to go on top of the buns.

Sourdough with cooked onions, just after mixing
  • Started waking up the sourdough Thursday night. The last refresh was Friday night. Saturday at 2:45 pm I mixed the dough.
  • I stretched the dough at 3:34, 4, 4:20, and 4:40.
  • By 6:10 the dough looked like it had grown by almost 50%, so I put it in the refrigerator.
  • At 6:30 I read that you should punch down the dough when it's first refrigerated, so I took it back out and gently tried to squeeze out the bubbles. Afterward, it appeared to be just a bit bigger than when it started out.
Sunday morning I took out the dough, cut it into 6 pieces, and shaped it like half-length baguettes. Here are some of the sites I looked at for inspiration.
At 11:45 I finished shaping the buns. The first and last (top right and bottom left) were different. The first I shaped poorly. The last I brushed with water instead of olive oil before putting the onions on it.

Ready to rise

At 2:10 I put the buns in the oven, on parchment paper on the pre-heated baking stone. I put a pan of hot water beneath them, and nothing over them (I didn't have pans that would fit on top of them). At 2:35 Nathan spun the buns 180 degrees and removed the parchment paper. At 2:40 they were suddenly looking very baked, so we took them out.

Fresh out of the oven

They might not look like much, but they were good! Tasty, just the right size and consistency to stand up to hot links without being hard to chew. The amount of onion, the degree to which it was cooked, and the taste were great. Yay!

Hot link in a bun

I couldn't tell any difference between the oil-brushed buns and the water-brushed one, or the "well-shaped" buns and the one I thought I'd bungled. I did realize that with 1 teaspoon of salt, each of the 6 buns had as much as 400 mg sodium, which is very high for me. So next time:
  • I'll just use water to attach the onions. 
  • I won't stress about shaping the buns perfectly.
  • I'll make a couple of smaller buns.
Next, I tried making pocket bread, Josey Baker's name for muffin-sized pieces of sourdough bread with add-ins. Meh.

Pocket breads filling up the bread box

I used great ingredients—Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, plus some Belgian chocolate wafers to add up to over 1 cup. We just weren't crazy about the results.
  • Sourdough plus chocolate are just OK together. I'd rather have chocolate with a less flavorful bread. Sourdough goes with savory ingredients, as far as I'm concerned—or perhaps with lots more sweet ingredients.
  • 1 cup of chocolate pieces was not enough to get a piece of chocolate in every bite.
  • The peanut butter got lost.
The resulting dough was supposed to be 12 muffins' worth, but it filled 12 muffin cups plus a little loaf pan. 

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