Potato Bread with Roasted Onions

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

By Adding Richly Roasted Onions to the preceding formula for Roasted Potato Bread, the result is a bread that is sweet from the full cooking of the onions, and rich in flavor from both the onions and the olive oil in which they are coated.

The bread is handled in the same manner as Roasted Potato Bread, with a couple of adjustments. First, thinly slice the onions, toss them in the minimum amount of olive oil needed to coat them thoroughly, place in a baking pan with aluminum foil or a lid on top, and place them in a 350° to 400°F oven. Stir occasionally, and roast them until they are wilted and brown. They will be fragrant and sweet. Allow them to cool before adding to the bread dough (this step is best done a day ahead). One small note: The hydration in the present bread is 60 percent, while in the preceding one it is 61 percent. The onions and the oil in which they are roasted compensate for the slight reduction of overall water in the dough.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 30%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 17 lb 8.5 kg 1 lb 11.2 oz 85 %
Whole-Wheat Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz 15 %
Water 12 lb 6 kg 1 lb 3.2 oz 60 %
Salt .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz 2.4 %
Yeast .25 lb fresh .125 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.25 %
Onions, Roasted 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz 30 %
Olive Oil, As Needed
Potatoes, Roasted 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz 25 %
Total Yield 43.73 lb 21.865 kg 4 lb 3 oz 218.65 %

Pâte Fermentée

Bread Flour 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 3.9 lb 1.95 kg 6.2 oz (¾ cup) 65 %
Salt .12 lb .06 kg .2 oz (1 tsp) 2 %
Yeast .012 lb fresh .006 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 10.032 lb 5.016 kg 1 lb

Final Dough

Bread Flour 11 lb 5.5 kg 1 lb 1.6 oz (4 cups)
Whole-Wheat Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz (1 cup)
Water 8.1 lb 4.05 kg 13 oz (1⅝ cups)
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .238 lb fresh .119 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Onions, Roasted (See HeadNote) 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups)
Potatoes, Roasted 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1 cup)
Pâte fermentée 10.032 lb 5.016 kg 1 lb (all of above)
Total 43.73 lb 21.865 kg 4 lb 3 oz


  1. Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. Alternatively, remove a portion from a previous mix for use as pâte fermentée. In this case, refer to “Preparing the Pre-Ferment,”, for correct handling of the pre-ferment.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients except the pâte fermentée and onions to the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. The dough should feel slightly stiff, but since the potatoes hold a fair amount of moisture, which they will eventually contribute to the dough, be careful not to add much extra water as the dough mixes. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 to 3½ minutes. The dough should be supple and the gluten moderately developed. Finally, add the onions and mix on first speed until they are evenly incorporated. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 1½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough after 45 minutes of bulk fermentation.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves, place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic. A nice effect for potato bread is to shape it in the fendu style, by pressing deeply into the dough with a rolling pin to bisect it. Proof these loaves top side down. The bread can also be baked in loaf pans.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 1¼ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: Transfer the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Slash the desired scoring pattern with a blade; fendu-style loaves do not require slashing. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake at 450°F. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes will bring a great deal of color to the bread, so if the loaves are darkening too quickly, lower the oven temperature by 10° or 20°F. A comparatively long bake is necessary due to the moisture in the potatoes.