Marcus Row’s Bread with Red Onion & Dark Wheat Beer

Marcus is a baking chum who has been to several of the Bethesdabakin’ weekends.

Back in 2011 he came up to do a two-day microbakery course and he brought this fabulous recipe with him to be the weekly Special for my customers. I shouldn’t have let him do it because a dough with an overnight sponge totally upsets my baking routine. But I’m just a bit glad I did. Reader, I stole the formula.

So, on Day 1, peel the onions, slice thinly and gently sauté in butter and oil until soft. Pour in the beer and simmer briefly, then cool. (Marcus wants you to use dark wheat beer but (1) I rarely see it, and (2) I don’t think my palate is as finely attuned as his is.)

Stir in the starter and the flour and leave overnight.

In the morning stir the water into the sponge, then the two flours and the salt.

I hardly ever take notes because I always think I’ll remember so I’m constantly having to reinventing the method. This time I kneaded the dough in my usual way – ten kneads, five minutes rest, repeated three times. Folded the dough after half an hour. Shaped the dough after an hour. Proved for 3½ hours.

Baked in the Pico, 250C top, 220C bottom, 15 minutes steam, 50 minutes total. If I was baking in my old Turbofan I would have done a straight 50 minutes at 210C. Steam, wot steam …

Below, two photos from 10 years ago – 2K crumb and nestling amongst the primroses:

Exceptional bread.