Hey, if my waistline is going to keep expanding anyway, I may as well lean in every once in a while.
What better to indulge with than a slice of fluffy, cheesy, oniony bread… unnnnnff.
This is the kind of bread that is so good, it needs no accompaniment to be enjoyed. Sure, you can dip it in soup or make a sandwich out of it (I encourage both), but if you’re in a rush, it’s also good all on its lonesome. No butter required to make this slice sing! Gently crispy exterior, light, fluffy middle.
The onions in this recipe are properly caramelized- no short cuts this time. The results are easy, but time consuming, but I promise they are worth the effort. Sweet, flavourful, melt-in-your-mouth. I knead the caramelized onions directly into the dough in this recipe, so the entire loaf is lightly fragrant, without falling apart when it is sliced.
Cheese, of course, because in my humble opinion, cheese makes almost anything better. It doesn’t hurt that cheddar and onion is such a classic combination, you might say they pair together like… peanut butter and pickles. No? No one else really digs that combo? Fine. Peanut butter and jelly.
(But you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t try peanut butter and pickles on toast.)
In fact… oh my god. I just realized what soup would pair perfectly with this. This soup was MADE for this bread. Slow-Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Soup.
Wow. Just imagining that combo is making my mouth water. Like… I don’t want to call in sick to work today, but also… this seems like kind of a personal emergency? A food emergency?
Fine. I’ll go to work. But I really do need to make some of that soup- and soon- before I finish the rest of this bread. Otherwise, I’ll end up making the soup and having no bread left and then having to make more bread, and then make more soup and then… you know what? Nevermind. I’m totally okay with this neverending Slow-Roasted Soup and Cheddar Onion Bread scenario. It sounds amazing.
|Caramelized Onion Cheddar Bread|| || |
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1⅓ cup warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cups flour
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 tsp fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a medium frying pan and add sliced onions. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until softened and then reduce the heat to low or med-low (depending on how hot your element is) and cook for an additional 45 minutes, until sweet and golden. Yep. 45 minutes. We're not taking short-cuts with this one, we're actually 'caramelizing' these onions.
- In a large bowl, add yeast, sugar and warm water. Leave 3-4 minutes until foamy. Add milk, olive oil, salt, caramelized onions and 4 cups of flour and mix together until a dough forms. If the dough is a little sticky, continue to dust with the remaining cup of flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. I love using my stand mixer for this with the dough hook attached, but kneading by hand is just as effective (and a great arm workout).
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size. Depending on the warmth of the room, this could take anywhere from 1-2 hours. If you have time for a slow rise, place the dough in the fridge overnight.
- Punch down the risen dough, cut into two equal portions and roll each portion out into a large rectangle. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and thyme/rosemary, if using. Roll the rectangle up from the short edge creating a tight 'jelly roll'. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut eat jelly roll of dough in half lengthwise. Pinch the ends of each halved roll together and braid them, one over the other, finishing the other end by pinching that dough together. Lightly grease two loaf pans, or line them with parchment paper. Gently place one dough braid in each loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise a second time for approximately an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time so they cook evenly. If the bread is browning too fast, move it to a lower rack in the oven and cover the top with a piece of aluminium foil. Let the loaves cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.