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Onion Bread

Miriam Kresh

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First time I've made onion bread. It was based on a long-rise recipe I've had around:

1 tsp. sugar

3 cups water

1/4 tsp. yeast

Mix the above.


1 cup rye flour

3 cups white flour (I used the local all-purpose flour from the Shteibel company)

Mix well and allow to ferment 2 hours.

Mix in 1 Tblsp. of salt. Add, by the cupful, 4-5 more cups of flour, kneading the while, till you have an elastic, but still somewhat sticky dough. Put the dough into an bowl oiled with olive oil, cover, and allow to ferment at least 8 hours or until very light.

Punch down. Chop 1 medium-sized onion very fine, and knead into the dough. Shape two loaves and allow them to rise for a second time for a last 45 minutes. Slash, paint with egg, and sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds over top. Preheat oven. Bake at 180 C. - 350 F. for 30 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around and turn the loaves upside to finish baking - another 20 minutes, it takes in my oven.

This turned out very well: a moist crumb, rather dense, very oniony.

So now I have a question: would it add anything to saute the onion before adding it to the dough? And, is it common to add onion before the second rising, or is adding it before the long rise better mojo?


Miriam Kresh


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I soften and somewhat caramelise the onion before adding it to the dough.

I knead it in at the end of mixing, otherwise it gets too broken up if added earlier,

I do not add it before the second rise, since I want to handle the dough as little as possible then so as not to de-gas it.

I like to add some rasins or sultanas as well.


Edited by jackal10 (log)
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would it add anything to saute the onion before adding it to the dough? And, is it common to add onion before the second rising, or is adding it before the long rise better mojo?

I have a rye loaf recipe that I sometimes add sauteed onions to. I let them get a little caramelized because I like the flavor it contributes.

I agree with jackal10. I add the onions at the end of my kneading, before fermentation. If you add them after fermentation and before you shape and proof, then you're losing a lot of the gas you just developed and you're going to have a denser crumb.

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True, I did have to knead quite a bit more firmly than usual after punching down in order to incorporate the onions. The crumb was dense, but the loaf did rise to a good size, and baked through well. I will try adding the onions after mixing, as suggested, and note the difference. I'm wondering if the taste of onion will be more, or less, or the same, if it's present during fermentation. Guess I'll find out.

Jackal's addition of raisins is to bring out the sweetness of the carmelized onions?... Something else worth trying, once I'm happy with the recipe above. As it stands, it makes a bread that tastes like a New York bialy, especially with a little butter smoothed over the slice. Something about that combination of onions and poppy seeds on a slightly sour base.

Cutting the onions didn't bother me at all, but when I started kneading them into the dough, their vapor was released intensely, and my eyes smarted and watered like crazy. I hadn't figured on that! Obviously if the onion is carmelized, that won't happen, but I do want a savory, rather than sweet flavor. To compare the flavors of the raw and the cooked, I'll carmelize some of the onion and make two loaves, one with the cooked and one with the raw onions.

The NY Times no-knead bread is probably a good candidate for onions, too. It seems to make great bread no matter how you vary it.


Miriam Kresh


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Hi Miriam,

I prefer the onions fried before mixing the dough. This is the recipe I use:

Deli bread

This is Saturday night, Sunday morning bread - only the slightest bit rye but perfect as the base for a salt-beef sandwich.

2 tsp easy-blend (or other) dry yeast

Extra flour and water for the yeast

A pinch of sugar

1 small onion, thinly sliced

6 tbsp sunflower oil

Approx 5 tbsp mashed potato

150ml warm water

300g strong white flour

100g rye flour

1½ tsp fine salt

2½ tsp caraway seeds

Mix the yeast with 50ml hand-hot water, a pinch of sugar and 2 tsp flour, stir well and leave for 30 minutes. Place the onion and oil in a pan and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring well. As soon as it's golden, pour into a sieve over a bowl, and cool. Combine the onions and oil with the potato, water and yeasty mix. Then pour this liquid in with the dry ingredients, mix to a dough and leave covered for 10 minutes.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 seconds, return to the bowl, cover, and chill for 12 hrs.

Next, knead it lightly and flatten on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle 20cm x 15cm, then roll it tightly. Drop it seam-side down into an oiled and floured loaf tin. Cover for 2-3 hrs until doubled in height. Preheat the oven to 210C/425F/gas mark 7. Flour the top, cut a slash in the centre, bake for 35 minutes, lower the heat to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

There is a picture of the loaf on my forum here:




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i have a no knead loaf of sourdough/light rye onion bread, with carraway seeds, on second rise at the moment. should be ready to bake about 6pm or so. i've had great success with the no knead bread and use my sourdough barm almost every time instead of yeast.

i do usually carmelize the onions first before adding to first mix of dough, but this time i decided to try grating the onions into the dough. i'll let you know how that turns out.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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And how did it turn out? Did the onion vapor rise up in a lethal cloud, as it did for me? :rolleyes: I'm sure the flavor was very good. I haven't done Dan's deli bread yet; the plan is to start it next week, when I'll have a free morning to work with the risen dough, and bake.

How much starter do you use for your no-knead loaf? I've done that twice, using I think 'way too much starter (1/2 cup).


Miriam Kresh


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