Bread is best when newly baked. I never really appreciated crusty bread until I learned to bake and realized how much I had been missing. Rustic and comforting, and the experience is, well, something I can only describe as quaint.
The first time I baked onion bread, I used all-purpose flour, and I shaped the dough into buns. They were gone so fast I didn’t have a chance to take photos.
The second time, it was a free-form bread and the dough was half whole wheat flour and half bread flour. The bread was much too dense. One slice and I was full. But I so loved the crusty exterior and the soft interior.
Yesterday, I baked onion bread for the third time. I used whole wheat flour, bread flour and all-purpose flour in equal amounts. And I baked the bread in a loaf pan. It was perfect.
And, for the first time, I was able to use a cheaper brand of yeast successfully. Eagle instant dry yeast.
- 1-1/2 tsps. of instant dry yeast
1 c. of milk
1/4 c. of vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
1 c. of all-purpose flour
1 c. of bread flour
1 c. of whole wheat flour
1/3 c. of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
1 c. of finely chopped onion
1/2 c. of finely chopped onion leaves
Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil.
Scald the milk. Pour into a mixing bowl. When it has cooled to lukewarm, sprinkle the yeast over it. After 10 minutes (my instant dry yeast did not bubble but it made the dough rise fantastically anyway), pour in the oil, add the sugar and salt, and half of the three flours. Mix (I used my hand). The mixture will be sticky.
Toss the onions with the rest of the flours. Add to the bowl. Mix.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes. You may have to dust the dough with more flour several times (I used all-purpose flour for dusting) because the moisture in the onions will initially make the dough more sticky than usual.
Form the dough into a ball. Place in the oiled bowl, turning it around to coat every part of the surface. Cover tightly (cling wrap is useful) and leave to rise for at least an hour and a half. I let my dough rise for three hours because I was working and forgot all about it. After three hours, the dough had tripled in size.
Punch the risen dough and knead lightly for a couple of minutes. Dust the outside with flour. Put in a loaf pan (if your loaf pan is not non-stick, you may have to lightly grease and flour it first) then leave to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, the aroma of the onions will make you salivate. Turn out the baked bread onto a rack. Cool for a couple of minutes. Slice and enjoy. With butter (oh my goodness, the sight of butter melting in newly baked bread is really out of this world) or with soup or with whatever you like to enjoy your bread with.
Cooking time (duration): 4 to 5 hours, including rising time of the dough
Number of servings (yield): 1 12-inch loaf
Meal type: breakfast