Red Onion Rolls

Red onion rolls - rolls

We’ve actually managed to grow some decent sized red onions this year for once – the first time for a few years. It’s frustrating as I love red onions and they are supposed to be easy to grow, but each year I end up with onions that are only a little larger than the sets I planted many months before. Not good… This year was their last chance. Whilst my garlic crop has done well I have only a handful of onions to show for my troubles and given how easy they are to buy I’ve decided that enough is enough. Next year I’ll give the area over to strawberries instead and hope for better luck.

Red onion rolls - roux
In celebration of my meagre harvest I decided to make red onion bread. This is another Dan Lepard recipe from Short and Sweet and it starts with the creation of a red onion roux. The onions are sweated in lots of butter until soft and flour is added to create a thick roux. Finally a good splash of red vinegar is used to help retain their colour. You can’t taste it at all in the finished bread so don’t be tempted to miss it out.

Red onion rolls - post rise

I forgot to add the olives until after the roux had cooled but that didn’t seem to matter. And I added black olives rather than green as that was what I had in the fridge. I found the mixture hard to knead. It is the wettest dough I’ve dealt with in a while, nearly as bad as ciabatta, and it took a lot of will power not to add extra flour. Eventually it came together and after about an hour it had risen considerably to form something that looked worryingly like spotted dick.

Red onion rolls - pre proof
Having found the kneading bad, it didn’t get any better with the shaping. As with the semolina buns I made earlier, these were rolled and then cut into rectangles. But it had lost none of its super stickiness and despite a generous coating of semolina, I had a devil of a job trying to get the dough to separate at all, let alone neatly. As you can see from these photos I ended up with a few odd shapes!

Red onion rolls - rolls 1

They continued to rise well and by the time I popped them into the oven, they were considerably larger. By the time they came out of the oven, they were plump and golden with a texture not unlike ciabatta which is not surprising given how wet the dough was.

These are definitely bread rolls to eat warm from the oven with a delicious smell and flavour. I thought that they were much nicer warm so if you have to keep them longer I recommend popping them back into a warm oven for about 15 mins to crisp up again. But no matter how tasty they were, it’s still not enough to motivate me to attempt growing onions again. Next time I make this it will be onions from the local shop…


9 thoughts on “Red Onion Rolls

  1. I had a disaster with garlic this year, and not to bad with my onions. Having a mixer makes it loads easier to knead sticky doughs. You need to impress this upon LSH.

  2. They look tasty! Dealing with sticky dough, various thoughts, one is to use the small kneads method that Dan writes about in his Handmade Loaf book, not sure if he describes it in Short and Sweet, and the other is either to use a light oil on your fingers, board and dough scraper to work with the dough and magically it stops sticking so badly. Some people recommend using water which I haven’t tried. And of course a mixer would be fab! I wish I had some of your red onion rolls here today…

    • Is that the 10s knead, 10 min rest? I do a version of that usually often crossed with Richard Bertinet’s method depending on how wet/ responsive it is. This was certainly one of the stickiest I’ve made, even after it had rested. I might try your tip on using oil next time to see I can keep it under control a bit more! PS I’ve discovered that the Great Austrailian Bake Off is on You Tube – it’s tiding me through til the GB version starts this week. It even has the same music!

      • Yes, except I tend now just to mix, leave, and do a couple of stretch and folds, spread out through the first proving period, it seems to work for most breads, if they need some extra handling it becomes apparent after an hour or so – but I am mixing with a stand mixer mostly these days. Dan lets you use oil I don’t think RB does and I am useless at the slap and pick up method he does with such grace and style, just can’t do it! I am sure I heard him say ‘no oil!’ somewhere once upon a time. Just enough to stop it sticking is what you are after,( too much and it becomes harder to shape the dough as it stops it sticking of course). I do the first part with oil and then I shape with light dustings of flour, if that makes sense? I have watched 3 of GABO so far, I am a huge Dan fan! We all have our favourites. Hope you are having a good weekend !

      • Thanks for the advice – next time I’ll give that approach a go. Negotiations on a stand mixer are ongoing but LSH has said that I can have one if he can get a larger telly! I think this may be a sacrifice worth making as I’m not sure I could go through another season of GBBO staring at all those lovely pastel coloured mixers! 😦

      • Can you appeal to his love of the technical and gadgety. Or appeal to LSH as a meat lover. You can get an attachment for our mixer for making sausages. This is what sold it to my other half. … we never got the attachment though.

      • These are all good ideas. I’m hoping the lure of a larger telly will do the trick but if not I may try some of these out. Any more suggestions for the “Get the Monday Baker a Kitchenaid” campaign gratefully received….

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