I have been wanting to try this for ages! I remember the smell from my childhood when my mother came back from the bakers and we would have warm onion bread for sunday lunch. Wait, I don’t think she got the bread from the bakers but from a Cheese and Dairy truck that drove through our neighbourhoud on the weekend. I remember it being a huge truck you could enter and buy milk, eggs, cheese and this delicious bread. My memory might be mistaken, but not on that bread, which always tasted great! It’s almost weekend, so good enough of a reason to give this recipe a go! I always try to put some wholemeal flour in my bread, since I think it is healthier and better for you then only eating white bread. Some breads also call for a lot more salt then mine, but since the cheese is already quite salty, I consider 8 grams more then enough. We already eat enough salt as it is!
- 300 grams of wholemeal flour
- 200 grams of plain flour
- 8 grams of salt
- 12 grams of dried yeast
- 300 – 400 ml water
- a little olive oil
- 1 onion
- 100 grams of cheese (more or less) I used a matured Dutch famers Cheese. Other hard cheeses will do nicely too. Grated and/or cubed both works.
- A hand of fresh thyme
Start with sifting the flour together. I tried something new and I mixed the dried yeast with some water and let that stand for a few minutes. Then I mixed it in with the flour and added the salt. I just wanted to see if the proving process would turn out differently by solving the yeast in water but I noticed no big diffrence. If you want, you can just add it to the flour and then add the water. Just make you don’t let the dry yeast and salt touch until you add the water.
Do not add all the water at once. If the dough needs more, simply add a little more. The dough should be a little wet, but definitely not sticky or soggy. Start kneading the dough on your workbench. You can lightly oil your bench or sprinkle some flour on it. Work the dough for a minimum of five minutes. The dough should feel soft and be a little shiny and smooth now. Turn it into a ball with your hands and put it into a slightly oiled bowl. You can make a large cut in the dough, which can make it easier to incorporate the onion and cheese at a later stage. Cover with clingfilm and a clean, dry tea towel. Leave the dough to rise for at least 90 minutes, but two hours is definitely fine as well.
Take this time to thinly slice the onion, grate and cube the cheese, get some fresh thyme from your garden and relax with a cup of tea.
Once the dough has rise to almost twice the original size, take it out and use the cut you made earlier to incorporate the onion, thyme and cheese. Start kneading and incorporating. I actually found this quite hard because onions kept falling out. I just kept going and decided this was as good as it was going to get. Onions falling out would give it a nice, rustic look, or at least I hoped.
Now you can choose to divide the dough in two for the second rising. I found that it rose easier and, more importantly, baked faster and easier in the oven when I put in two small loaves instead of one big one.
Let your dough rise on an oven tray, covered again with some plastic and a tea towel. Turn on your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Once your dough has grown to almost double it’s size again, take off the plastic and tea towel and pop the tray in the oven. You can sprinkle it with a little leftover cheese if you like.
The time needed in the oven depends on the size. A big one will need 35-40 minutes, two smaller ones about 25 minutes. Check your bread on time, it might need a few minutes less (or more). Once you knock on your bread and it sounds hollow, it is done!
Let it cool on a rack or tuck in straight away. Bring out the butter and some more Dutch farmers cheese!
An extra note: If you do net let it cool on a rack, the bottom will get soft. It needs air to keep it’s crust crisp and fresh.
I do hope you will enjoy this bread as much as I did. The next day you can toast it for a minute, and eat it warm again.