Cheese & onion bread
- Preparation and cooking time
- You'll have a baked loaf in 2 ½ - 3 hrs
- Makes 2
For the brown loaf
For the flavouring
- STEP 1
Mix your choice of brown flour with the white, the yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the flour. Stir in the seeds if using. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm (cool rather than hot) water, with a round-bladed knife. Then mix in enough of the remaining water and a bit more if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl and until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.
- STEP 2
Put the dough on to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy. Timing will depend on the warmth of the room.
- STEP 3
Knock back the dough by lightly kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so too much handling now will lose the dough’s lightness. Shape into a ball. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins.
- STEP 4
Fry the onion in the olive oil until very lightly caramelised, then leave to cool. Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 balls. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins. Shape by flattening each ball into an 18cm round, put each on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Make 6 deepish cuts with a sharp knife to mark each round into 6 wedges. Cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for 40-45 mins, or until doubled in size. Finish by brushing with beaten egg, scatter over the onion, then the grated cheese.
- STEP 5
Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden. If the onion is getting too brown, lay a piece of parchment over the top. Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the loaf if should be firm and sound hollow.