A couple of weeks ago I had a really tasty onion loaf from a little bakery in Liverpool, called Artisane. The bread had a deep, satisfyingly savoury flavour and after devouring a large (obviously) slice, I knew I had to attempt to make my own version as soon as I got home. Judging by the hole-y crumb and delicious, intense flavour, the loaf I bought was probably naturally leavened, and made over a couple of days. I love those types of loaves, but they are often too hard and time consuming to re-create at home This recipe, however, is so quick and easy, and it still manages to deliver a rich, aromatic flavour and light texture.
Makes 1 medium loaf.
For the loaf:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast (or 14g fresh yeast)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan, on a high heat, until it starts to sizzle and then add the onions, dried basil and chilli flakes.
Turn the heat down to low and cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn soft and opaque.
When the onions are cooked, place them into a bowl and leave to one side to cool down.
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, remaining oil, cooled onions and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother and more elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until the mixture has doubled in size.
When the mixture has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and shape it into a sort of oval shape.
Place the loaf onto a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around 40 minutes, or until the dough has really puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, make a slash in the top with a sharp knife (for decoration) and then bake for around 25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the base makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
This loaf will keep well for 3 days, wrapped up and stored in a cool, dark place (like a bread bin or cupboard, not the fridge!).