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Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

I found this recipe in the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook for 2010.  I could not resist trying it tonight just because it looked so fun to make, and I love the mixture of Gruyere cheese and onion.

This bread is similar to monkey bread in the way it pulls apart at the seams.  It really was a lot fun to make, and also easy.  I didn't get a photo of the most interesting part, the stacking of the pieces of dough and onion/cheese mixture into a huge tower; I didn't have any free hands! But I will try to describe it here.  The bread was super tasty; a very powerful flavor of onion and Gruyere.  It paired great with a bowl of tomato bisque and a glass of California Chardonnay.   I definitely recommend this recipe and will certainly make again.

I love Food and Wine magazine and just got the 2010 Annual Cookbook in the mail.  This week I plan to try several of the recipes:  Beef Stroganoff, Carrot Soup, BLT Salad, and a Tomato Tartlet.  I can't wait.  I also want to try to find a way to use the rest of the quart of buttermilk from this recipe :).  Maybe some ranch dressing....

I am ready to get back in the swing of things.  I was on vacation last week to do some spring cleaning, to complete my taxes, and to hang out with the kids a bit.  This week will be more back to the normal routine.  Have a great week Foodie fans.


Foodie Mama

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread (courtesy of Food and Wine 2010 -  Annual Cookbook)

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1 stick cut into cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped (I used a food processor to really mince it up because of the onion haters in the household)
1 T poppy seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 oz Gruyere cheese, coarsely shredded (approx 1 C)
2 C all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 C buttermilk

Finished Product (photo from Food and Wine)

  1. Preheat overn to 425 degrees F.  Butter a 9x4 1/2 metal loaf pan.  In a large skillet, melt the 1/2 stick of uncubed butter; pour 2 T of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve.  Add the chopped onion into the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes (see fig 1).  Stir in the poppy seeds and season with salt and pepper.  Scrape the onion mixture into a bowl and refigerate for 5 minutes, until slightly cooled.  Stir in the Gruyere cheese.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the 2 C flour with the baking powder, baking soda and a t of salt.  Add the stick of cubed butter and pulse until the butter cubes are the size of peas.  Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough formes. (see fig 2)
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface and knead 2-3 times.  Pat or roll the dough into a 2x24 inch rectangle.  Spread the onion and cheese mixture on top of the bread.  (see fig 3) Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Stack the pieces on top of one another, onion side up, with the top piece being onion side down.  Carefully lay the tower into the loaf pan and brush the top with the reserved melted butter. 
  4. Bake the loaf on the center oven rack for about 30 minutes (I had to cook it almost 40 mins), until it is golden and risen.  (see fig 4) Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from loaf pan and serving. 
Fig 1:  Cooking down the onion
Fig 2:  Mixing the dough
Fig 3:  Creating the loaf
Fig 4:  Just out of the oven