Caramelized Onion and Bacon Sourdough

Ken Forkish has a Pain au Bacon that I used to make a few years ago. My daughter mentioned that I hadn’t made any in quite a while so it was time to revisit adding bacon to bread and adding caramelized onions for good measure.

The bacon was baked in the oven to make it easier since I was cooking 3 lbs of it! (4 batches of this recipe). 😳

As to the caramelized onions, I make a huge quantity in a crockpot and freeze them in ice cube trays. This comes in super handy since caramelizing onions is normally such a long process.


Makes 3 loaves


120 g crumbed bacon (~350 g raw)

85 g caramelized onions (or the equivalent of one large onion)


750 g strong bakers unbleached flour

200 g high extraction Red Fife flour (~250 g Red Fife berries)

100 g high extraction durum flour (~150 g durum berries)

50 g buckwheat flour (50 g buckwheat groats)

825 g filtered water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g plain yogurt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

Extra bran and AP flour to feed the Levain.

Early afternoon the day before:

  1. Cook the bacon until fairly crisp and crumble it. I cooked mine in the oven to make the process a bit easier. Crumble, cover and reserve.
  2. Thaw the caramelized onions if you have some frozen in advance. (Otherwise, slice one large onion and caramelize slowly on the stove with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a bit of butter as well as a pinch of salt.) Cover and reserve.
  3. Mill the buckwheat groats for the main dough and place in a tub.
  4. Mill the Red Fife and durum berries and sift to obtain the needed amount of high extraction flours. Place the required amounts in the tub with the buckwheat flour. Save the bran for feeding the levain. Reserve the leftover high extraction flour for feeding the Levain in the evening and the next day.
  5. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and set aside.
  6. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g bran. Let rise in a warm place.

The night before:

  1. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of durum/AP flour and let rise 4-5 hours in a warm spot.
  2. Two hours or so before the levain is ready, put 825 g filtered water in a stand mixer bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature.
  3. Remove the caramelized onions and bacon from the fridge and leave on the counter to come to room temperature.
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt and the levain to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 5 minutes.
  5. About half way through the final five minutes, add the caramelized onions and the crumbled bacon.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes at room temperature (73F).
  7. Do 4 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, then do two more sets on hourly intervals. Immediately after the last fold, place the dough in the fridge for 4-5 hours. I was gone for 5 hours. The dough rose ~75%.
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~810 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 60 minutes on the counter.
  9. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities or big bubbles. The dough was very poofy! Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.
  10. Sprinkle half rice/half AP flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl cover or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 8-9 hours.

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Then take the loaves out of the fridge. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside.
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 17 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.

I just had an idea for when I do this again. Perogy Sourdough! I just need to add some mashed potato and some old cheddar cheese, and there you go! Hum… This might happen sooner than later!

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Post Author: MNS Master