Cheese and Onion Bread with Garlic and Rosemary
Inspired by warm days in the Mediterranean, Dominic Franks serves up a flavourful bread perfect for spring and summer.
This is a divine bread that to me, tastes of those balmy days on some Mediterranean island. The glorious caramelised onions – some of which have poked out of the dough and crisped to lip-cutting perfection in the oven – blend beautifully with the sweet garlic and pungent rosemary and the strong cheddar cheese brings the whole thing together.
Each slice has one or two little pockets of cheesy onion mix which makes it all extra special. Serve this toasted with butter and a runny poached egg or fresh and warm from the oven with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I’ve used my new favourite banana shallots which are a cross between a regular shallot and an onion, so they have the more intense oniony flavour and sweetness of a shallot with a more easy peel of an onion plus they look so cute. They caramelise really well (and quite a lot quicker than normal onions,) but also roast beautifully and hold their shape. My local Morrisons supermarket seems to have them on a regular basis so check in yours if you can’t find them anywhere else.
Start with the dough by placing the flour, yeast, salt and olive oil into a bowl. Add the water and bring together with a spatula or your hand. Once you’ve formed a relatively cohesive but messy ball, tip it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. This whole process can (and quite frankly should) be done in your stand mixer with a dough hook. Same timings on a very low speed.
Oil a bowl, place the kneaded dough into the bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Set aside for at least an hour or until the dough has risen and doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising, gently sauté the onions in a generous amount of butter and olive oil. Once they start to soften and colour add the minced garlic, rosemary and sugar, season well, stir together and turn the heat down and let them caramelise gently for about 15-20 min. Set aside to cool.
When the onions are completely cool, grate the cheese into them and mix them well together and set aside.
Prepare your baking tin by lining it well with baking parchment. I’m using my small round cast iron Le Creuset casserole pot for this but any bread baking vessel would work.
When the dough is risen, oil your work surface, tip the dough out onto it and punch the dough down with your fist. Punch it out a few more times and flatten it as you go, spreading it out. Tip the cheesy onion mix onto the dough and then begin to fold the dough up and over, blending dough and onion mix. It’s a slippery, messy process but you should eventually end up with a messy, cheesy, doughy ball of gloriousness. Place this into your baking dish and set aside for at least 30 min for its second rise.
Pre-heat your oven to 220C.
Bake in the oven at 220C for 20 min and then turn the oven down to 200 for a further 30 min until the bread is risen and gloriously golden – set aside on a wire rack to cool.
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