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This nutty, savoury bread is perfect on it’s own, simply slathered with butter. Alternatively, it makes a great sandwich, packing a punch of flavour. Using a casserole mimics a baker’s oven, trapping in the steam during cooking which allows you to get a really good crust on the bread.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes + 1 hour rising + 30 minutes proving + 1 hour cooling
Cooking Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Tip the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the warm water, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix briefly in the bowl until the dough comes together.
Tip out on a lightly floured worksurface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel or shower cap and leave in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the onions, with a pinch of salt, over a medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden and caramelized. Add a splash of water if the onions start to darken too much during cooking. They should be very soft when pressed with the back of a spoon or spatula.
Stir the sugar and vinegar into the onions, with some seasoning, and cook for a few more minutes until the liquid evaporates and the onions look sticky. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Once the dough has proved, knock back the dough in the bowl, transfer to a lightly floured worktop and press out lightly. Scatter over the cheese, caramelised onions and walnuts. Knead briefly in incorporate the flavourings into the dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, and add to a proving basket, or a mixing bowl lined with a floured tea towel. Cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 240C, 220C fan/gas 9. Put a lidded casserole that the bread will fit comfortably in, into the middle of the oven. Heat for 30 minutes while the bread is proving.
Carefully remove the casserole from the oven and transfer the bread to the dish. Flip the dough so the rounded bottom becomes the top. Score a line through the bread to allow for expanding.
Add the lid, and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp-topped. Flip out onto a cooling rack – the base should sound hollow when tapped. Cool to just warm or room temperature to serve.
TIP swap the flour for strong white bread flour if you prefer.
500g (plus more to dust) Moulsham Strong Malted Seeded Bread Flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
7g sachet fast action yeast
250-300ml warm water
4 tbsp (plus more for greasing) olive oil
1 red onion (finely sliced)
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50g stilton or other blue cheese (crumbled)
50g walnut pieces
You’ll also need
Proving basket or mixing bowl
Large lidded casserole dish or Dutch oven
Shower cap or tea towel