This is a rustic braided yeast bread (part levain, part commercial yeast) that is filled with a mix of caramelized onions and smoked bacon deglazed with white wine. It’s hearty, packed with flavour, and quite a treat for onion lovers. If you’re a vegetarian, leave out the smoked bacon, it tastes different though equally delicious served with a salad or soup. I have cut the braided loaf into two and baked them in loaf pans, but you can just bake the whole braided loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Braided Onion Bread with White Wine and Smoked Bacon
adapted from Brot-Bernd Armbrust
- Peel and cut the onions into rings. Cut the smoked bacon into small cubes. Heat the oil in a skillet and cook onion rings over medium heat until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add in diced smoked bacon and white wine. Cook the mixture until the liquid has almost evaporated. Leave it overnight in the fridge.
- Dissolve yeast with warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer, then stir in sourdough starter and white wine. Add in flours and salt. Mix for 4 minutes at slow speed, then increase the speed and mix 4 more minutes. Shape into a longish dough. Cover and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Prepare two loaf pans and line with baking papers.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface roll it out to a 50×35-cm rectangle. Spread the onion mixture lengthwise over 2/3 of the dough. Fold the dough into a three-layer, beginning at the un-filled third. Cut into 3 strips and braid. Slice the braided loaf from the center into half. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Place each into a loaf pan. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
- Fill a roasting pan with water and place it at the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Dust the loaves with a little bit flour. Bake the loaves in the center of the hot oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove the roasting pan with water after 15 minutes.