I was looking for something bread-y to go with dinner tonight since we were having salads and I wanted some carbs to go along with it. I considered corn muffins or savory scones or even cheesy biscuits, but I wanted something at least a little healthier. My perfect side would have been a crusty french bread or baguette -- but I was working with a short deadline so most yeast breads were out. The baking bites website came through for me with a caramelized onion bread recipe that looked perfect. It was yeast bread, but a quick read through showed only 1 hour-long rising which would work fine for our schedule.
I should have read the recipe a bit closer... it actually called for 2 hour-long risings... one after the initial kneading, and another one before baking. oops... so we had bread after dinner instead of with it. no big loss and that means more for everyone at work tomorrow since we only had one slice to try it out. plus, an even better benefit -- the whole house smelled like bread baking for the rest of the night.
Chris and I had the bread fresh from the oven so the crust and crumb might be a bit different tomorrow after sitting all night -- but fresh from the oven it was nearly perfect. A nice crust that crumbles and cracks as you bite into it, and a chewy middle. There is a nice underlying onion flavor for the whole bread, and pockets of fresh cracked pepper that pop through every now and again. It would have been perfect with that salad. *sigh* But, it was still good an hour after dinner...
Baking Bites baked her bread in a tube pan, which made a really attractive and slightly different looking loaf of bread. I don't have a tube pan, so I just free-formed a round of bread... mine looked kinda gimpy in comparison. Oh well, it's the taste that counts (that's what I keep telling myself anyway...)
Caramelized Onion Bread
1 1/2-2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water, warm (100-110F)
4-5 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp salt
In a medium sauce pan, cook onions and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining vegetable oil and continue to cook until onions are light golden, about 15 more minutes. Cool to room temperature, or just slightly warm.
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Stir to dissolve and let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Pour in remaining water, 3 cups bread flour and mix well. Add onions, pepper, salt and another cup of flour and stir again. If using the stand mixer, use a dough hook attachment. Add remaining flour gradually until dough comes together into an elastic ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise unil doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly grease a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable oil. Gently deflate risen dough on a lightly floured surface, press a hole in the center of it (like a giant donut) and place in tube pan. Let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
When bread is finished rising, bake for 45 minutes. An internal read thermometer will read about 200F when the bread is finished and the loaf will be a dark golden color.
Turn loaf out of pan onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature before slicing.
Makes 1 large loaf