Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BBA Challenge Bread #43—Roasted Onion & Asiago Miche


Pop the champagne. I did it. I baked EVERY bread in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Sure, it took almost a year longer than I thought it would but here I am.

Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche
Otherwise known as The Final Bread. This bread was a spectacular end to a 22-month long journey of awesomeness.

I'm officially done baking my way through Peter Reinhart's award winning book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, along with a number of other amateur bakers. (I'm not sure how many are still with us. Many have finished - and some are just starting). Want to learn more about it? Check out the following links:

Technically, I finished with the challenge about 4 weeks ago, but am now getting around to writing it up. I'll probably write a final-final post about the challenge, so for now, let's just talk about this lovely beast:


Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche. Let me tell you, the is one of the best smelling - and tasting - formulas in the book. AH-mazing. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll begin at the beginning.

As with the Potato, Cheddar & Chive Torpedoes, this formula is meant to be a mixed method of wild and commercial yeast, and like the PCCT, I opted to use a poolish in place of the wild yeast starter seeing as I no longer have one. I mixed that up 2 days before I wanted to bake the bread (this is a 3-day job).

The next day was most of the heavy lifting. I roasted the onions (a little TOO much)...


Shredded a pile of cheese (oh, yeah)...

BBA43-grated cheese-OH

Shaved a pile of cheese (oooooh, yeaaahh)...

BBA43-shaved cheese

And got to mixin'. This bread calls for scallions but I completely spaced that and decided to use my Penzeys dried shallots instead.
freeze dried shallots

I mixed the poolish, flour, yeast, water, a bit of olive oil, that big ole pile of shredded cheese, along with the shallots and dried chives. I attempted to take a picture of the windowpane - which I really almost kind of achieved - but it's tough with just one hand.

After it was all mixed and at the right consistency I let it ferment about 2-3 hours. I have a new favorite place to proof my dough. I usually nuke a mug of water in the microwave until very hot then pop the dough in with the steaming mug, but Dwight installed these under the counter lights and they get... toasty. I just slide the bowl right under one of the lights and it warms it up nicely. 
new proofing method

After fermenting, it gets shaped, covered and goes in the fridge overnight to let the flavors develop even more.


After I pulled the pan out of the fridge the next day, I realized the the original pan I had the bread on was going to be too small, so I moved it to my half sheet pan and let it sit at room temperature about 2 hours.


Then you're supposed to brush the top with olive oil (missed that step) dimple the dough, sprinkle on the cheese then the onions and let it rest about 20 minutes. But I didn't quite do that. I'd seen some of the other bakers' breads and noticed that the onions were, shall we say, well done. So I hedged my bets and put half of the onions under the cheese and half on top. And as you saw, I decided to shave the cheese instead of shred. Don't know why - just felt like it, I suppose.





And I forgot to let it rest. I just popped it into the oven after topping. Oops. *note to self: read ALL instructions*

I hearth-baked the bread as required and let me just tell you how amazing my house smelled right then. Asiago and parmesan (I used half and half) permeated the air. It was intoxicating. 



Alas, the onions did burn. Charcoal bits of yuck on the top. It's the only flaw I can see in the formula, and in my opinion, a pretty big one. Either the onions should go on raw and roast as the bread bakes, or they need to stay safely nestled under a big pile of cheese. 

I just pulled off the charred bits and dove right in. Oh, so good. I should note that due to the size of the original formula, I chose to halve it as Dwight and I were getting ready to try a new diet literally the next day. A "no bread" diet. I know, the horror. So I wrapped up the bread nice and tight and put it in the feezer to enjoy at a later date. Fortunately the diet allowed us to have one "cheat" day a week, so I broke out the bread each weekend. 

We had friends over one evening and I turned it into cheesy garlic bread to go with lasagna.  Holy WOW, this makes the best garlic bread. And, I can tell you from experience, that this bread freezes nicely. It was drier, but still delicious and is worth popping in the toaster for a warm up and light toasting before eating. Excellent!

So there you have it. The very last bread. Hard to believe, isn't it?! Thank you to all that have followed along the way. Here, have a big slice of bread...



  1. Yay!! Congratulations! *gasp* no bread diet?!? I don't know if I could do that....I wish you the best of luck!

  2. Frieda - Thanks! Don't worry - I only did that diet for a month because my husband asked me to. I can consume whole grains (& bread!) once more - hooray! :)

  3. Congratulations, Kelly!!! What's coming now?

  4. Wow, that makes me want to skip forward and bake it right now!!! Congrats on finishing the book, I have been enjoying reading the blogs from your group. It has helped with my own journey through the book!

  5. Congratulations!! Both for finishing the challenge AND for making it four weeks with no bread ;-)

  6. Congratulations on finishing the Challenge!!! That last loaf looks gorgeous...aren't those two fun breads to end on? Glad you're off the no-bread diet...not sure I could do that! =)

  7. Thanks, everyone! I'm not sure what's next - still thinking about that. :)

  8. That looks fabulous! I have sworn I'd pick up the BBA challenges where I left off and still haven't. So maybe just maybe, after seeing this today, I'll get back to it (more than a year later!)


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