Monday, January 11, 2010

Onion Lover's Bread

This month's Bread Baking Day is hosted by my friend Jamie at Life's a Feast and she is throwing herself a party! Bring breads to my birthday party she says. Okay, will do!
To kick things off, Jamie made a stuffed focaccia that looked totally delicious and I couldn't get the idea of a stuffed bread out of my head. There's a reason they call us bread-heads you know..
So I went to my trusty Bernard Clayton bread book and found this totally delicious Onion Lover's Bread. The recipe makes two moderate sized braided loaves, and each strand is actually a tube of delicious stuffing of onions, paprika, garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and poppy seeds. The flavour is out of this world, nestled nicely in a soft, rich dough. This is the best bread I have had in a long time.
The recipe is long, I recommend reading it over a few times to understand the gist of it. It is so worth it though. The two of us ate one loaf the first night. Mostly me.
I dressed mine up further by adding an egg wash and poppy seeds to the top. I think it is a great addition to the loaf and dresses it up nicely.

Onion Lover's Bread
Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

Ingredients
Dough:
1 pkg instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten

Filling:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp each grated Parmesan cheese and poppy seeds
1 tsp each garlic salt and paprika

To make the dough, in a large mixing or mixer bowl, stir the yeast and 2 cups flour together. In a saucepan heat the water, sugar, salt, dry milk, and butter (about 125F). When the butter is quite soft, but not necessarily melted, add the egg and pour all the liquid into the flour. Blend with a wooden spoon or mixer at low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes with the mixer flat beater, or wooden spoon, if preferred.

Stop the mixer, attach the dough hook, and add flour, 1/4 cups at a time, to make a soft dough that forms a ball around the hook as it revolves and cleans the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rise before kneading.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until light and doubled in volume, 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and set aside until ready to form the braids.

Knock down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. The dough may be sticky because it is so soft. However, toss or throw the dough down hard against the work surface until it becomes elastic and is no longer sticky. Small sprinkles of flour will also help. If using a mixer, add flour, if necessary, to form a soft, elastic ball around the dough hook as it revolves. It will clean the sides of the bowl. Knead for 10 minutes.

Allow the dough to relax for 5 minutes and then roll the dough into a 12"x18" rectangle. Cut into six 9"x4" strips.
Carefully spread the filling on the pieces, leaving a 1/2" margin about the edge. This permits a good bond that will hold and not open when the braids rise.
Roll each piece from the long side. Stop the roll 1" from the edge. Lift the edge up to the roll and pinch together. Don't roll to the edge, for this will push the filling onto the clear margin and make it difficult to get a firm seal.
Lift the rolls onto the baking sheet and braid 3 rolls together, pinching the ends together tightly.

Cover with a length of wax paper and leave to rise at room temperature until the braids have doubled in bulk, 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F, 20 minutes before baking.

Bake on the middle shelf of the moderate oven. When the loaves are a golden brown and tapping the bottom crust yeilds a hard, hollow sound, they are done. 30+ minutes. (He says 40 but just over 30 was good for mine)

Carefully cool on racks.

I did an egg wash on mine and sprinkled on some more poppy seeds for a nice look.

This Onion Lover's Bread has been Yeastspotted!