Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Herb Ciabatta - Bread Baker's Apprentice #10

Yes, you have seen this photo before, and you have seen this bread before.  But look real close at the photo... Do you see that bit of caramel colored stuff sticking out of the middle of the bread above the shrimp?  That is caramelized onions baked in the bread!  And I am continuing my week of posting the side dishes of shrimp week - week.  this counts.

MY MY MY, does this ever make a GREAT sandwich loaf of bread.  My favorite cookbook -"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread", in addition to the basic bread recipes has many alternate recipes using the basic and expanding on the original.  After the original recipe for Ciabatta bread, there are a couple pages of alternate breads you can make from the original formula.  Ciabatta with cheese or Wild Mushrooms were an option, but I wanted to try a sandwich made with the Caramelized Onions baked in the dough.  Would would sound better???

Another week spent in the Caribbean, it must be my day to post my bread baking adventures for the week. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. I am badly behind in posting my efforts from the book.  I am still playing catch up to reach my goal of a loaf a week, but all ran smooth with this effort...

You must read over yesterday's post (click HERE) to get the formula (recipe) for Ciabatta bread.  I am not going to repeat the recipe.  Right before the stretching and shaping stage, I divided the dough in half.  I used the first half to make a "plain" loaf of Ciabatta Bread (see yesterday's post).  I used the second half to make 2 smaller loafs perfect for sandwiches.... even more perfect when stuffed with caramelized onions.

So, I am going to assume you have read and understood yesterday's post.  Making this specialty loaf of Ciabatta Bread is simple... Caramelizing onions is simple.  Slice into rings, cut those rings in half.  In a sauté pan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onions.  It takes about 40 minutes for the onions to darken and sweeten.  Stir occasionally so that the bottoms do not burn.  When caramelized, remove from heat and set aside to cool down to room temperature.

During the shaping stage, sprinkle the onions onto the dough and fold as before.

I wish I had doubled the amount of onions.  the bread needed more for a dramatic look.  I only sliced one onion for the bread, should have done two, one for each loaf.

But, I didn't.  With "just" half an onion in each sandwich, there was plenty of sweetness added to the taste.  It just would have been more dramatic to have the bread stuffed with the sweet onions.

Bake the bread, same as yesterday.  Make your best sandwich stuffing, cause this bread deserves the best!

And here's the money shot, with the onions baked into the loaf.

And the payoff shot, with the sweetened Caramelized onions complimenting the spiciness of the shrimp remoulade worked GREAT.  Now I want to make the wild Mushroom Ciabatta bread... Loving this bread!

Once again, I am claiming - Victory is mine...

If I can do it, you can too...

BUY THIS BOOK!  The used price from Amazon just dropped a couple dollars... JUMP on the deal NOW...

The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information.  Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions.  And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy.  Follow the link  above and order TODAY!...



  1. Fresh baked bread and onions caramelizing. My two favorite aromas in one. It doesn't get better than that!

  2. Looks like a great book on making bread!

  3. I just cannot resist caramelised onions...yum

  4. Dave this looks wonderful! Caramelised onions are a favorite of mine. Will try this soon!

  5. Whoa I did NOT realize that the onions were baked into the bread. That just makes this BEYOND good!

  6. This looks wonderful! This is one delicious kicked-up sandwich.

  7. Nice addition of the onion, Dave. Creative touch.