Think onion bhajis in a bread, with a chilli kick, and that will give you the idea behind what I think is a wonderful tear-and-share bread.
I adore bread. So much. Maybe even too much…….Good bread is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures and I cannot think of a week when I have not made at least a couple of batches of bread!
The bread uses a lot of onions which get fried gently with the spices, taking on their flavour.
I sometimes purée the onion mixure and work this into the dough but I often like to keep the onions as they are once cooked so you have pieces visible in the dough. You then get lovely bursts of spiced onion in each bite.
I have used just a few spices here – cumin and coriander mainly, which I love – but you can instead use garam masala. The garam masala, a mixture of several spices, brings a flavours to the bread, but you will still have a gorgeous flavour.
I like to sprinkle the risen dough with caraway seeds, but poppy seeds, fennel seeds or cumin seeds work very well too.
Spiced onion & chilli bread – makes two loaves
- 3 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1-2 chillis of choice (red, green, mild, hot….), roughly chopped
- about 60g unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin powder*
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder*
- 600g strong plain bread flour
- 100g gram flour**
- 7g sachet easy-blend/instant yeast
- 14g fine sea salt
- 350ml cool water
- 100ml natural yoghurt
- 1 egg, beaten with about half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
- caraway, poppy or cumin seeds to top
*you can instead use 2 tablespoons garam masala powder in places of the cumin and coriander
**you can use 700g strong plain flour if you don’t have gram flour
(1) Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and garlic. Fry gently for about 10 minutes over a medium-low heat, trying not to let them take on too much colour.
(2) Reduce the heat and stir in the chilli and the spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions are very soft. Leave to cool fully.
(3) Mix the flours and yeast together. Add the salt, the cooled spiced onion mixture, the yoghurt and enough of the water mix to form a soft dough.
(4) Knead for 15 minutes or so until the dough is elastic. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or pop into a plastic bag. Leave to prove until doubled in size: I tend to do this in the fridge for a slower rise (and better flavour) but you can pop it into a warm cupboard.
(5) Turn out onto a slightly floured surface and shape as desired, popping the dough into well-floured bannetons, oiled loaf tins or baguette trays…….
For these, I split the dough into 8 equal pieces and rolled each to a ball. I then popped them into a large deep cake tin (about 9″ diameter, well oiled), as below.
(5) Cover and prove until doubled in size. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds.
(6) Bake in an oven preheated to 220C(fan) for about 30-40 minutes, turning the oven down to 200C after 10 minutes. The top should be deeply golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove carefully to a cooling rack.