I made this satisfying cheese and onion loaf a few months back before starting the blog, and this time I’m revisiting it with a mix of whole wheat and white flour for a brown bread hybrid that is more accessible than full-on whole wheat bread to the uninitiated. It’s dense, but not too dense, and a little Dijon mustard in the dough really brings out the flavor of the cheese and onions. I adapted the recipe from one on BBC Good Food – man, do I love that site! Do yourself a favor and poke around there if you’re not familiar with it, there’s something for absolutely everyone.
Also, on the theme of great British things, if you’re reading this baking blog but you’ve never watched The Great British Baking Show you’re missing out on some of the greatest TV ever made. The word I use to describe it to people is “lovely” – the people, the judging, and the food are across the board lovely in themselves and to each other. Three seasons are on Netflix, and I’ve gotten several friends who aren’t even into baking into it and they loved it without fail. Plug complete, on to the recipe!
- 250g whole wheat flour
- 250g white bread flour
- 7g/2 tsp Quick dried yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 300ml hand warm water
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 75g of finely grated Gruyere (or cheese of choice), separated into 50g and 25g
- 1 egg, beaten
- Mix your the brown flour with the white, then add the yeast and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and mustard and rub them into the flour. Make a dip in the center of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm (not so hot you can’t touch it comfortably) water. Mix with your hands until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. (Add a little more water or flour if needed.)
- With the dough hook, knead with your standing mixer on low speed for 5-8 minutes. (If you don’t have a mixer, put the dough on a very lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking.)
- Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy. Timing will depend on the warmth of the room.
4. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the olive oil until very lightly caramelized, then leave to cool.
5. Add the cooled onions and 50g of cheese to the dough and mix it in with your hands. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins.
6. Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 balls. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins. Shape by flattening each ball into an 18cm round, put each on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make 6 deepish cuts with a sharp knife to mark each round into 6 wedges. Cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for 40-45 mins, or until doubled in size. Finish by brushing with beaten egg and scatter over the rest of the grated cheese.
7. Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat the oven to 450F/230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, and carefully pour about 250ml of cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 425F/220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the loaf if should be firm and sound hollow. Enjoy!
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