This was going to be a post about bread. More specifically, this bread:
It’s a super-fluffy, high-fiber, slightly sourdough whole wheat bread I made because, to be honest, we were out of bread, and I was bored and cold on this weekend morning. Don’t worry, I’ll still share the recipe.
While the bread was rising and baking, I got to thinking about what to put on it. Sure, I could make a sandwich, melt some cheese on it, or use some of the cinnamon butter from a couple weeks ago. Which got me thinking… that cinnamon butter was really delicious, but it’s kind of a “uni-tasker”. It’s sweet, and sometimes I (believe it or not) don’t want sweet. And then I noticed the Vidalia onions I had in our veggie basket.
At this point, the bread was still rising. I could still, potentially, make it onion bread if I wanted to. But I wanted Adam to eat it too and he has this “thing” against most onions. And then, like a cheesy montage from a silly comedy, memories started popping in my head: the honey butter my mom used to buy for us; the cinnamon butter in our fridge; the pesto butter from our favorite Italian restaurant; the cheddar butter from the BBQ place… the one thing in common? Butter.
And so, this was born:
Caramelized onion butter. Sweet European butter mixed with onions that cooked on the stove top for almost an hour.
Putting that butter on this bread became an afternoon snack, dinner, and a late night snack. Even Adam, the self-proclaimed onion hater, said “Ok, this onion butter is CRAZY!” The cute yellow polka dot mini casserole, I think, made it that much better.
I expected it to be “good”. I didn’t expect it to be THIS good.
Slightly Sourdough Wheat Bread
Ingredients (12 hefty slices)
for the starter
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup white all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
for the bread dough
- 3 cups whole wheat flour (a brand like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
for the starter
Pour the water into a glass bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and then mix in the white flour until there are no lumps. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit on the counter for three hours, up to overnight.
for the bread
Transfer the starter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in one cup of the wheat flour and knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes. (This helps to develop gluten, a good thing!)
Then, add the remaining water, oil, and flour. Knead a few minutes, then add salt. Knead for 15 minutes with the dough hook, or until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1.5 hours.
Punch down the dough, then form into a loaf (I chose round, you could use a loaf pan if desired.) Allow to rest about 30 minutes while the oven pre-heats to 375°F, with a pizza stone if available.
Transfer the bread to the stone, make two slits in the top, brush with egg wash, (1 egg, 2 Tbsp water) and place a pie plate with 5-6 ice cubes on the bottom rack of the oven.
Bake 40 minutes, or until the crust is shiny and dark brown.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
Caramelized Onion Butter
- 2 sweet onions, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 sticks good butter, softened
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add the onions, sprinkle them with the salt. Allow to cook until translucent and slightly brown, and then sprinkle with the sugar.
Keep cooking until the onions are brown and aromatic. Allow to cool.
Transfer the onions to a food processor, then process until a coarse paste forms.
Add the softened butter to the food processor, then process until the onions are evenly distributed. Transfer the butter to your container of choice, or create a log in waxed paper.
Enjoy, but avoid eating with a spoon. It is still butter!