Tuesday, February 20, 2018

All The Alliums

All The Alliums

When your boyfriend says: babe, I think this is my absolute favorite bread. It's so good, even the dog loves it.

The dog.

Anyway. It's springtime! So, spring onions and green garlic. Let me clarify: it's springtime in L.A. It turns out that we decided not to invite winter to the party of seasons this year. A consensus was taken and we all said NEIN! So, green garlic in February and piles of purple spring onions with bright green tails.

When this bread bakes, the house fills up with the most luscious, savory, oniony perfume. It's like all the good things in life rolled into an ambrosial aroma.

I made a bunch of these crazy things. The first two rounds were amazing. Super soft, aromatic crumb and golden crust! But the very center collapsed a bit, and I was after a boule, not a focaccia, silly thing, so I scaled back on the allium a bit and got/maintained lovely oven spring. The first loaves were scattered with some allium strands that I had roasted as the oven was preheating, hence the lovely maintained color.

Belle of the ball...

I left the second round 'plain', so you could see what it looks like 'unadorned'. Beautiful just the same, but sort of a show stopper when you go the extra mile, don't you think?

Cindarella before the shoe

The thing about this bread is that it's a little tricky to make, from dough through the bake. DO NOT be tempted to add any more of the sweated allium mixture than what is called for here. It is already on the brink of 'could be too wet', and don't increase hydration of the dough at dough makeup. 325g IS low, yes, but all of the allium makes up for that hydration when you add it later.

Sweated allium

Also, don't skip the step in lining the bowl with paper towels to absorb some moisture that sweeps out of the dough (you'll see what I mean in the directions). Be mindful during the bake. You really have to toggle the heat when baking up this thing. Be sure that you meet the bake time recommended, and your boule will reach at least, dare I say, 218 degrees. This is a very wet dough, and you need the time and the higher internal temp to ensure that it's cooked through.

As long as you heed all the weirdy-pants advice, you will be on your way to springtime happiness!

Oh, and you have to trust me on this, but don't leave off the allium tangle atop the dough. I know it appears burned, but trust me, it tastes like toasty leeks. Kind of like a garlic/onion bagel. I mean, do what you want. You could leave them off and it would be fine. But I like the toasty tangle. We killed these loaves. So good. Soooo, sooo good...

The texture of today's bread is cloud-soft. It's almost like a focaccia. It's the kind of loaf you would see at a farmer's market. You get one, it's amazing, you dream about next Sunday when you can get another. I am a fan of leeks in bread as witnessed here and here.

I know, I know. It sounds flippin' weird, all that allium, and that crazy tangle atop. But MAN ALIVE! is this bread awesome. If you don't believe me, ask my bf's dog, and he'll tell you a thing or two about what's good.

To the staff of life!


* I use Great River Milling Co. hard red wheat for the whole wheat in this bread, and I feed my starter home milled Great River Milling Co. Rye. See the link below for the wheat that I buy...


Two days before you plan to make your levain, throw your starter into overdrive by feeding it three times each day for two full days. On the third day, build your levain:

12g 100% dark rye, 100% hydration starter
75g h2o
75g home milled hard red whole wheat flour

Mine fermented for about 7 hours


All of the levain
- 325g h2o
- 425g Giusto's Artisan flour
- 75g home milled hard red whole wheat flour (I use Great River Milling Co. hard red wheat)
- 274g mixed allium, weighed before cooking. Here is my breakdown:
   -75g green garlic
   -74g spring onion
   -125g leeks
- 10g kosher salt
- 9g extra virgin olive oil, I use California Olive Ranch
- A tangle of alliums to spread over your linen (I'm sorry, I didn't weigh what I used...), cut into batons

When the levain is at its peak, mix it with the flours and h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 1.5 hours, but you can autolyse for 1 hour with fine results (in this case, though, your remaining bulk fermentation will be 4 hours, as we always want 5 hours for bulk). At this time, slice up your alliums and sweat until very soft. Take it low and slow. Set aside to thoroughly cool. If you haven't done this in time to be cool enough to add to your bread, spread the allium mixture on a plate and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. This is what I usually do.

After the autolyse, squish the salt into the dough so that it is thoroughly incorporated, then fold in the allium mixture. Now begin your 3.5-hour bulk fermentation. Here you will perform a series of turns until the dough really starts to expand. You will intuitively know that this is the time to stop your turns. But for this dough, I folded 30 minutes after I added the salt and allium mixture, then 30 minutes later, then 30 minutes after that. I left it alone after that.

Now let the dough ferment for the remainder of the bulk.

After the bulk fermentation, scrape the dough onto a worktable that you have dusted with brown rice flour, gather it into a loose round and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Before you get your dough into its bowl, line it with 4 layers of paper towels to absorb the moisture that will seep from the dough. Set aside. Spread a thin layer of rice flour over your linen cloth, then spread the allium batons over this.

After the dough has rested, shape it into a taut boule, by pulling in the sides, and pop it onto the awaiting cloth (SMOOTH SIDE UP) that has been dusted with the rice flour and scattered with the allium match sticks. You want it smooth side up because you will not be scoring this loaf. On bake day, the loaf will burst open naturally at the folds.

Pop it into the bowl that has been lined with paper towels and get it into the fridge. Ferment 18 hours.


One hour before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, installed with a baking stone and both halves of your combo cooker. If you plan to scatter the loaves with more allium strands, now is the time to roast them. Just slice a bit of whatever you have into matchsticks, toss in olive oil and a pinch of salt, spread out on a sheet tray and pop in the oven to roast. Set aside when done...

After the hour preheat, remove the dough bowl from the fridge, place a piece of parchment over the mouth of it, then a pizza peel on top of this, now flip the whole thing over so that the dough ends up on top of the parchment and peel. Remove the linen and the paper towels if they have tumbled out.

Slide the dough into the shallow end of the combo cooker. Cover with the fat end and steam the loaf at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Now turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15. After the steam, remove the lid, nestle the pan holding the bread over the mouth of the combo cooker lid. This provides a buffer from the oven floor so you NEVER get burnt bread bottoms. Lower the temp to 450 and bake for another 15 minutes. Rotate the pan, and lower the oven to 400, bake for another 18 minutes. Rotate the pan again, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for a final 12 minutes for a total of 1 hour 15 minutes of baking (the last 12 minutes of the bake is the time to scatter the loaves with the allium you roasted earlier if you are using them).

Take the internal temp to at least 218 degrees. It would not be a mistake to bake for a total of 1 hour 20 minutes to ensure thorough baking. In this case, bake for an additional 5 minutes at 375. Don't worry about burning the bread. At this low temp, it will bake out but won't burn.

Allow to cool for at least two hours before slicing.

All the alliums, unembellished

Green garlic

 Sliced allium



 Final fermentation SMOOTH SIDE UP, resting on allium bed; 
notice the paper towel layers beneath the linen...




The crumb



  1. Even though I have a Raisin, orange and fennel loaf on the go; I just want to make this instead!

    For the Alliums, are you just taking the green shoots from leaks, onions and maybe a garlic?

    Not sure where I would get garlic stems from a grocer, maybe a farmers market.

    1. Hey argh128... make both! Use all of the leek and spring onions. The garlic I used is 'green garlic', so, you can use the whole thing from root to end. Green garlic is young garlic that has not been formed into cloves yet. Yes, you get them at the farmer's market :)

    2. I made the allium loaf today; the airiness and wetness of the dough did not disappoint. I was not personally a fan of the raw alliums layed on top during the final raise. I may have used to much leak, but I find myself picking the crisped greens off the slice and devouring the insides!

    3. hey! ah, so you see what i meant about the wetness of the dough. its a strange thing. i want to make a loaf without the layer of leeks that it rests in to see if that moisture is from those leeks, or inside the dough. leave those leeks off! i know, im sure people think im crazy to post a bread with burned leeks. :) i really like them. but ive made leek bread without that layer and it's lovely all the same. im so glad you tried it. now you have a new bread. just leave off that layer of raw leeks!

    4. (i find that by the time i slice the bread, only a little of the leeks are left on the outside of the loaf, so you get a little of the toasty leek flavor rather than a mouthful of burned leeks😳)

  2. did a few things a bit different; I didn’t use the paper towel basket, just plopped the dough into the bed of leaks/onions inside my dusted bannaton.

    I did liberally add flour during the shaping process.

    I found the dough very wet to work with, but didn’t present like a wet dough (lots of large holes) after the bake.

    1. argh128. So, the water in the banneton is from the dough itself, not the bed of raw leeks. I made a super hydrated loaf this week, and it really sopped up the linen. I've also made this a few times without the bed of leeks and it's fantastic. So... as far as the holes, I find that any time I add things to bread it closes the crumb even if the hydration is high. Part of this could be because I've never soaked nuts before just recently, so that pulls some water out of the dough, part of it could be that the 'thing' that I add to the dough obstructs the gluten strands. Makes total sense. Those big holes are from the gluten's ability to stretch unobstructed. If you have a leek in there, or a piece of bacon, well, there goes that extension. I find that I make this bread most often these days for the BF. For shaping, it didnt pose issues for me. Just the usual amount of rice flour down, dough on top, pull in sides, flip over onto clean part of counter, twist twist twist, pop into awaiting banneton. What shaping technique do you use out of curiosity??


Hey. So, I answer all of my comments, but it may take me a few days to get to it. Go ahead and leave a comment or ask a question and I will respond the best I can!