When do I add my mix-ins?


The recipe I've been following calls for a bulk fermentation overnight at room temperature. I thought I would get a little creative (inspired by a post on here) and add carmelized onions and shredded cheddar to my loaf this time. However, I have no idea when to mix them in. Will they go bad or ruin my bread sitting in the dough so long at warm-ish temperatures? Do I do it before kneading or just try to fold it in after?


I did try it... I left my plain dough out overnight and kind of kneaded the extras in this morning, but it did seem like too much handling right before shaping, and the cheese kind of ripped into my dough a bit. We'll see how they turn out. I guess next time I will have to work on Dom's timetables and try the stretch and fold stuff. But I still don't know when I'd add in my extras. Thanks!

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OneLove 2011 July 8

If I add funstuff in, it's usually the next day when I do the second kneading...close to the end of kneading, that is. Then I let it sit for a little bit to rise again and stick it into the awaiting oven. It works super duper for me this way. Maybe mixing it in prior to fermentation would work and maybe you'd discover something really interesting! Here's to experimentation and curiosity.  

hitz333 2011 July 8

Thank you OneLove... it did seem like the mix-ins messed up my dough a bit, but maybe with practice I could figure a gentler way of working it in. The loaves came out lovely, at least for my horrible shaping and slashing. That carmelized onion sure made things smell good in here! I also did a black pepper and parmesan loaf and I'm quite happy with the flavors of both.


Hoping others jump on with their methods. I'm quite inspired to do this again!

virtuousbread.com's picture
virtuousbread.com 2011 July 8

Hi there


how fun that you are getting groovy with your dough.  The first and most important thing to remember is that you cannot put anything into the dough when you are refreshing it because you need to keep a pure dough to use "the next time".  I am sure you thought of that though...Keep the starter "pure".


certainly if you add the mix ins when you are doing a pre dough you will get a stronger tasting dough and, depending what you add (fruit, for example) you may get quite a lot of fermentation going on which will impact not only acidty and flavour but also the "liquidity" of the dough so you will need to adjust the amount of water you finally add.


I am not a fan of adding mix ins at the early stage for a couple of reasons:


1.  I think it turns the whole thing into one great big new flavour as opposed to bread + other flavours

2.  Whatever you add at this stage will be, necessarily, kneaded and may well get crushed and/or smear in the dough when you knead.  I like my add ins to stay distinct and not get crushed in the dough but that is simply a personal choice

3.  So, I tend to prepare all the dough (whether or not I have a pre dough) and let it sit and rest for 30 minutes or so and then fold in the add ins gently.  The dough sort of rises around them anyway.  The only expception is when I add mashed potato because that becomes part of the dough.  Cubed potato, however, I add in after the 30 minutes to keep it somewhat distinct.


Just some thoughts!

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 July 8


Hello Hitz,

I found that incorporating things during the stretch and fold was an OK way to go - see my blog on fruit loaf.  I also used the method for cheese.  I imagine it would be fine for multi-grain as well though I haven't tried that yet.

After stretching the dough into a rectangle, I put part of the additives (about one third) in the middle third and fold one flap over.  Then more (another third part) on top of the folded flap and fold the second flap over.  Repeat for the lengthwise folds (one sixth each time - smaller area to spread on).  Make sure you seal the edges around the layers of additive at each stage.

Any escapees during the next folding, just put back into the folds.  By the third S&F all should be fine and it is pretty gentle so only the softest of additives would be damaged by the process.

Hope this helps,


hitz333 2011 July 9

Thanks very much for the comments and help!


Virtuousbread, what you describe is I guess what I was initially afraid of. I suppose the fermentation/alcohol/whatever will sort of "preserve" the additive, that is, prevent it from spoiling for a time, but I worry such an action would spoil the loaf as a whole. Like you, I want it to be bread + goodies, not a mish-mash of fermented onions and wheat, etc. So I will stick with adding them close to the end.


Both you and Farinam hit on a good reassurance, that given a small amount of time after adding them in, the dough will "accept" them.


And Farinam, your detailed explanation definitely helps! I will definitely try that. The one recipe I've been following just has a regular knead before a bulk proof, and then a quick knead before shaping, but I am experimenting with the stretch and fold technique following some formulas on here and I remember stretching and folding chocolate chips into a dough last summer with some success! And your fruit loaf... now I am dying to try a cinnamon-raisin sourdough. Your loaf looks so delicious!

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