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Onion bread


Onions and its cousins are flavours that compliment breads really well, especially in a chewy wholemeal loaf, so I asked Vanessa to see if she could combine some of our excellent Mulino Murino “Macina” flour with onions for a bread that can demand centre stage of a meal.

The trick of this loaf is the combination of sweet wholemeal and really soft caramelised red onions - you can use any onions but red ones are much sweeter. I wanted an extra dimension to this onion bread, something that lies underneath the sweetness – a deeper flavour that would resonate to provide the base that gives this onion bread gravitas. So I opted for caraway which provides an aromatic top note and also smoked garlic which is optional but gives a lovely nutty dimension. I have found it in my local delicatessen and also at a farmers’ market. Try this bread with English pears, salty butter and walnuts. Patrick would tell you that it with a lovely glass of English ale.

Exceptionally delicious onion loaf

Onions are at their best in late summer. I’ve used red onions in this recipe, but white or even spring onions would work too. I love how sweet they become when they are really soft and combined with smoked garlic and caraway seeds this is a wonderful combination. Part of the joy of baking your own bread is being able to use flavoursome flours and ferment your bread - slowly. I’ve used wholemeal Italian flour in this recipe for its texture and flavour, along with fresh yeast. If you are in a hurry you can always used ordinary strong white flour and fast acting yeast (just use half the weight). It is still lovely bread, but in this instance I want exceptional bread.

Place the oil and your onions into in a frying pan and gently cook until they are really soft. After ten minutes of cooking, once the onions have begun to soften, add the sliced garlic. Add the caraway seeds 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Set to one side to cool.

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the water. Cold water is fine – this prove doesn’t need to be jump-started with warm water – as I want this to be a slower prove, which makes for better, more flavoursome bread. Mix the dough well until all the flour is incorporated.

Leave for 10 minutes and then turn onto a lightly oiled work surface and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rest for an hour or more, until it has approximately doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and very gently stretch the dough slightly so you roughly have a 25x25cm square, about 2.5cm thickness, a dough scraper will help to do this.

Spread the cooled onion mixture over the surface and gently pull the corners of the dough over the onions to enclose the onions with the dough then turn the dough over so that the seam is underneath, shape into a boule.

Dust the base of the cloche with semolina and place the loaf onto the base. Brush the surface of the loaf with milk and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Using a lame, gently and clearly make a cut across the top of loaf about 1cm deep.

Cover with the lid of the cloche and cook for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 180C and cook for a further 30-35 minutes until firm and sounds hollow when the base is tapped.

Remove from the oven and the cloche and cool the loaf on a wire rack.

Makes: One large (1kg) loaf

Ingredients:

60g olive oil, plus extra for greasing 3 red onions, peeled and sliced 3 cloves smoked garlic, sliced (optional) 2 tbsp caraway seeds x, plus extra to decorate 500g Mulino Murino Macina flour, plus extra for dusting 10g sea salt 15g fresh yeast 350g cold water Semolina for dusting A little milk to glaze

Equipment:

Large heavy based saucepan Large mixing bowl La Cloche Dough scraper Grignette / lame

La Cloche Baking Dome

Make fantastic bread in your oven every time with a La Cloche. Ensure perfect golden, crackly crust and moist, evenly baked bread with this amazing product, based on 1000s of years of bread baking traditions.

Mulino Murino Macina Wholemeal flour

The Mulino Marino wholemeal flour, organic and stone-ground.

Caraway Seeds

Organic caraway seeds have the classic warming aromas of caraway - warm, earthy, bittersweet with hints of anise and fennel, 50g packed in a glass jar.

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