Onion-Stuffed Herb Bread


Makes 1 Huge Loaf
Stolen from: The Kitchen Bible
Originally from August 2013 on my old blog

Okay, I just have to say this. I don’t think I would be able to live without bread. Everyone loves bread. It’s such a simple food, but, it just makes you feel good. I don’t care if it’s fluffed-up, defrosted Wonderbread in a ham sandwich, or a warm baguette fresh out of the oven, topped with butter… all bread is just good.

But this, this is bread and beyond. This is bread that’s crusty and crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. But that’s not what makes it bread and beyond. It’s the caramelized onion filling, complex and interesting, with rosemary, cracked black pepper, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, that makes this really special.

I say this a lot, but making homemade bread has a bad rap. All it really is, is mixing some stuff, letting it rise, shaping, letting it rise again, and baking. This bread, on the other hand, is a little more difficult, and I wouldn’t suggest it for first-timers. But the taste definitely pays off!


For the bread:
~4 cup bread flour, plus more for sprinkling and dusting
~1 teaspoon instant yeast (see the second picture; not active dry yeast, INSTANT yeast)
~1/3 cup plus ½ teaspoon olive oil
~1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon whole rosemary leaves (Dried was all I had, but use fresh if you can)
~1 ¼ teaspoon salt
~1 large egg, beaten, for glazing

For the filling:
~2 tablespoons olive oil
~2 onions, thinly sliced (Whatever onion you can get your hands on. I had a yellow onion and a red onion in the fridge, so I just used those).
~½ teaspoon salt
~½ teaspoon coarsely crushed peppercorns
~3 tablespoons light brown sugar
~1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
~1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

Stir 1 2/3 cups of the flour, the yeast, and 1 ¼ cups tepid water together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour in a slightly warm place, until bubbling a little. Stir in 1/3 cup oil, the salt and rosemary, and enough flour (you may not have to use all the remaining 2 1/3 cups) to make a sticky dough. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Knead on a floured work surface for about 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour, to double.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar and rosemary, and let cook for another 2 minutes. Let cool.

Lightly flour a large baking sheet. Knead the dough on a work surface (not the baking sheet). Press into a 15 by 13 inch rectangle (it is really hard to get it to those exact dimensions. Just get it as close as you can). Spread with the onions, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Fold the short (vertical) sides of the rectangle in. Take the top horizontal edge and fold it in halfway, then do the same to the bottom side, overlapping a little, so they meet in the center (like folding by thirds). Pinch the seams closed, hen transfer to the baking sheet, seam-side down. Shape into an oblong shape with pointed ends (I couldn’t really do that, the dough was really delicate and the filling was starting to pop out; I just made it look as pretty as I could). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, until puffed up a little.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg (not too much!) and sprinkle lightly with flour. Cut 3 slashes into the top of the loaf. Toss the rosemary leaves with the ½ teaspoon of oil and sprinkle over the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for 20 minutes more, until deep golden (watch it; the baking time depends on how thick or thin you made your rectangle originally).

Happy dining!!


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