Cheese and Onion Bread

This is a recipe by Ruth Clemens, from the Pink Whisk. I got to know Ruth from the Great British Bake Off, which I loved watching. They are now doing a second series and for a split second I thought about applying to partake but then I thought I am nowhere near as good as any of the great bakers who featured in the last series so I left it!

The Cheese and Onion Bread is really easy to make and while it takes a while (the dough needs to rise and then rise again) it is totally worth doing!

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced
25g butter (1 knob)
450g strong white plain flour
200g mature cheese, grated
1tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp fast acting dried yeast
200ml milk
100ml water
25g butter, melted
Cayenne pepper

Sautee the chopped onion gently in a pan with the butter until soft. Place the cooked onion in a bowl to cool to room temperature. Grate the cheese and split in half. To a large bowl add the flour, salt, and sugar.

Measure out the liquids, it needs to be tepid so if you use milk straight from the fridge top up with water from a boiled kettle. In a small bowl place the dried yeast, add a couple of tablespoons of liquid from the jug and mix them together. This gets the yeast activated. To the flour mixture add 100g of the cheese and the cooled onion. Give it a good stir. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid and the yeast. The easiest way to work it all together and forming a rough dough is by using your hands. Of course, you can use a machine as well but I haven’t got one (yet).

Knead the dough for a few minutes. You shouldn’t need any extra flour on the work surface, the dough may seem a little sticky to begin with but as you work it together it will stop sticking to you and form a smooth dough. After kneading the dough will be much smoother and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. It will need to be somewhere fairly warm otherwise it will take longer than an hour.
After it has doubled in size tip the dough out onto your work surface and knock it back. A quick pummel with your fists and fingers does the job nicely and you will feel the air puff out of it. Knead the bread for a couple of minutes. Then split the dough into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Take a square shallow baking tray, approx 9″ square is ideal, and grease well. Place all the balls of dough into the tray.

Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again somewhere warm for an hour or until the balls are nice and puffed up. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Melt 25g of butter and brush liberally over the dough.

Sprinkle with the remaining 100g of grated cheese and sprinkle some cayenne pepper over it.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until beautifully golden brown and cooked through.

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