Fall has finally hit us. Here in the Netherlands, that mostly means rain, rain, rain. Seriously, we Dutchies inhabit a rainy little piece of Earth. Which, come to think of it, makes it even weirder that the Dutch go everywhere by bike. I can’t remember how many times I arrived at school, at a friend’s house or home dripping wet with rain water. It always makes for such a classy entrance…
Luckily I now have a car… I guess you just come to a point in your life when you don’t want to have to use the hand dryer in the ladies bathroom to dry your soaking wet clothes anymore…
Sadly, the fact that both the Rocking Rebel and myself have a car doesn’t mean we never come home soaking wet with rain. You see, we usually don’t have the good sense to carry an umbrella with us… Typical… However, a good old soak does let us know that it’s soup weather though…
And soup means bread. Great bread. Bread that will knock your socks off. This bread! A simple no-knead bread with a filling of sweet, caramelized onions! Perfect on a rainy day. It kind of reminds me of onion soup, which makes it even more perfect for soup weather.
To make it, first cook up some onions! I used three, but you can use more if you like.
Cut the onions into thin slices and throw them in a skillet with a little oil and a sprinkling of sugar. The sugar helps with the whole caramelization process…
Cook the onions until they’re nice and a deep, dark golden.
This can take forever, but be patient… This bread is worth it!
Leave the onions to cool to room temperature, then throw them in a big bowl.
Add flour, yeast, salt and water and stir to a sticky, sticky, STICKY dough…
Really, this stuff gets everywhere…
Once sticky, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to sit on the countertop for 18-24 hours. Which give you plenty of time to enjoy the fact that you don’t have to knead this dough…
After the dough has magically turned into a big bowl of bubbles, cover your countertop with baking parchment, dust the parchment with flour and plop the dough on top.
Like I said: this dough gets everywhere! The parchment kinda keeps your countertop clean, so you don’t have to chisel forgotten, but hardened bits of bread dough off of it an hour later…
Anyway, dust with more flour…
… knock the dough down…
(Or lightly press it down, like I did. Depending on your stress level…)
… then fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times…
… and shape it into a little ball by tucking the sides of the dough underneath its center!
Place the dough back into the bowl and leave to rise for another two hours.
Then bake it up in a Dutch oven, until it’s gorgeous, golden and perfect!
Just look at that filling!
This bread is great with almost everything! I’ve had it with cheese, cured meat, peach jam, pumpkin soup and lentil curry! But like all bread, it’s best served on its own. In big chunks. Still slightly warm from the oven.
- 3 large onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 500g (or 4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon active-dry yeast
- 360ml (or 1½ cups) water
- all-purpose flour for dusting
- semolina flour for dusting
- First, peel the onions and cut them into thin slices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then add the onions. Stir to coat the onions with the oil, then sprinkle in the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have turned a deep golden brown. This takes about 30 minutes. Transfer the onions to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cooled onions, flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and, using one hand, roughly mix most of the water into the dry ingredients. Add the remaining water to fully absorb the dry ingredients. The resulting dough should be very wet and sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to sit on the countertop at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours. Once the dough has risen dramatically and the surface of the dough looks nice and bubbly, place a sheet of baking parchment on your countertop and dust it generously with all-purpose flour. 'Pour' the dough, which is very wet and glutenous, onto the floured surface, scraping the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Dust the top of the dough with some more flour and gently, press, lift and fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times.
- Dust the bowl with some more flour and form the dough into a ball shape by tucking the sides of the dough underneath. Put the dough ball back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap again, and leave to rise for another two hours.
- NOTE: don't leave it to rest longer than two hours, or the dough will become too wet to easily lift out of the bowl once you're ready to bake it. It will still taste delicious though, so don't worry about it if you've somehow didn't manage to get it in the oven in time!
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 230°C or 450°F (standard oven setting). Place a lidded Dutch oven or heavy cast iron pot in the oven as it heats up to get it piping hot.
- Once the dough has risen and the oven and the pot are hot, take the pot out of the oven, take the lid off and sprinkle some semolina flour in the pot. This will prevent the dough from sticking. Dust your hands with some all-purpose flour and carefully place the dough into the pot. Put the lid back on and place the pot back in the oven.
- After 30 minutes of baking, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Take the pot out of the oven, then take the bread out of the pot and leave to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before cutting into it.