I love bread. I love making it, I love eating it. I also love cider. And cheese. And onions. So the next logical step was clearly to combine all three into a heady mix of cidery cheesey oniony bready joy. So I did. And what joy it is! Perfect for plonking in the middle of the table for lunch and letting everyone pile in and rip it to pieces. Or just scoffing yourself curled up on the sofa. Your choice really.
This is effectively like a savoury batch of Chelsea Buns – swirls of bread with the filling splurging out all over the place – and it’s pretty simple to do, if not a tad messy at times. The cider adds a wonderful flavour to the loaf and really compliments the cheese and onion filling wonderfully. If you like you can do the second prove in the fridge overnight to really let the bread develop a full flavour but it’s not essential. However if you do this, I’d advise proving the finished loaf on a sheet of non-stick baking parchment as it will stick fast otherwise…
Makes one loaf
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 300ml dry cider
- 7g sachet dried fast-action yeast
- 10g salt
- 1 dessert spoon caster sugar
- 1 dessert spoon olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
- 200g grated strong cheddar (you may not need all of it)
- A few sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Olive oil (for frying)
- Place the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and pour in the cider – it will fizz and foam as you mix it in – and add the dessert spoon of olive oil. Combine into a rough dough then turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky but don’t worry – it’s worth it.
- Shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl (coating the top of the dough with a bit more olive oil) and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or so or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, place a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and add a lug of olive oil (and a knob of butter if you like). When the oil is hot, add your sliced onions and soften gently for a few minutes then add the chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook on a low heat for a good 10-15 minutes to really soften and sweeten the onions – stirring often to prevent them catching. When they are done, remove and leave to cool.
- Once your dough has risen, tip out onto a work surface and flatten into a large rectangle – about 35cm by 20cm but it doesn’t have to be precise. The dough should be thin enough to roll up with all the filling and it may help to tack the long edge closest to you on to the work surface to help get a tighter roll.
- Spread the cooled onion mixture evenly over the dough followed by the grated cheese – make sure you keep some back for sprinkling over the top of the finished loaf – then roll the whole lot up tightly.
- Cut into 12-16 slices (this will depend on how long your rectangle is) and arrange each slice on a well-floured baking tray (or use non-stick baking parchment), spacing each one a centimetre or so apart. You want them to prove and bake into each other so a bit of space is important. If you are worried about everything unravelling just give each segment a squeeze and tuck – it doesn’t matter if it looks untidy!
- Cover with either a clean tea towel or some oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 30-45 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
- Pre-heat your oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5.
- Once your loaf has proved, uncover and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top then pop in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack before diving in and devouring.
NOTE : If you are proving overnight in the fridge, allow the bread to come back up to room temperature before baking