Onion bread with rosemary and speck
An easy bread dough that anyone could attempt. Try with a glass of chianti and some taleggio cheese.
Photo: Marina Oliphant
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- 4 large brown onions, cut into medium-thick rings
- 50g speck (smoked pork belly), chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- flaked salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 packet active dried yeast
- 200-250ml lukewarm milk
- 375g flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp sour cream
Cook the onions and speck with the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a low heat until just soft. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Dissolve the yeast, stirring it into about 150ml of the warm milk. Allow to stand in a warm place without a draught for 10 minutes or until it has foamed and risen.
Preheat oven to 220C.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. Add the activated yeast, most of the remaining milk (you may or may not need it, depending on the flour - some absorb more liquid than others) and the olive oil. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the mixture comes together as a dough. If you feel it is still a little dry, add the remaining milk, or if it is sticking to your hands, add a little flour as you knead.
Turn dough on to floured bench and knead for 10 minutes until it feels soft and very smooth. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour in a warm area without a draught.
Punch down, then roll out to 1cm thickness and place on a greased oven tray (I use one about 40cm by 28cm with a small lip, but a smaller tray will also do). Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest again for 45 minutes.
When this time has lapsed, spread the onions and speck on the bread and sprinkle with a little pepper and the rosemary sprigs. Beat the egg and sour cream together with a tablespoon of water and pour over the onions. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked underneath.
Best served that day (it's particularly good while still warm).