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Onion and Thyme Bread

This is a bread that I have been making for a few years now and have arrived at this recipe by experimentation. The quantities of onion and thyme seem to work OK but can be varied to suit personal taste. For some reason unknown to me, I find this bread does actually keep fresh for a day or two longer than a basic bread, although the aroma of the onions and thyme make it so appetising to me that it rarely has chance to go stale.

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400g strong white flour
100g Spelt flour
(or just 500g of strong white flour)
1.5 tsp dried yeast activated in 100ml warm water and 1tsp sugar (This is more yeast than I would normally use for this amount of flour, and it is to offset the effect of the oil in the onion mixture on the fermentation)
3 medium sized onions, halved and finely sliced (don't worry if it looks a lot)
7g fresh thyme leaves, chopped (again, don't worry if this looks a lot)
10g salt (I use coarse French grey sea salt, finely crushed)
Olive oil for frying
Water (the actual amount needed will depend on the wetness of the onion mixture, so follow the comments in the method)


Fry the onions and thyme in a pan until soft, by which time they will have reduced in volume by about 50%. Leave to cool.

Mix the flour(s) salt and yeast in a mixing bowl with about 100ml of water. Add the cooled onion mixture and mix well, gradually adding more water as necessary until a dryish dough is formed that is just possible to knead by hand.

Tip the contents of the bowl on to a work surface and knead for about 15 minutes. You will find that the dough will become wetter and stickier as you knead. This is because the kneading process will liberate water from the onion mixture. So sprinkle on a little more flour and continue to knead, adding flour as necessary as you go until you have a smooth elastic dough.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
Tip out the dough and press lightly to form a rough disc about 20mm thick. Choose a point on the perimeter and lift the outer edge and fold into the centre and press down firmly. Continue working around the perimeter twice until you have a roughly hemispherical shape. Place upside down in a well floured proving basket and leave to prove for about an hour or until the volume is just under doubled.

Tip the dough, rounded side up onto a floured peel. Put a few cuts into the top surface with a sharp knife (Stanley Knife blades work well).

Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. Turn the oven down if it browns too much.

Added by: Peter Foster

Tags: Bread White Savouries

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