Dutch Cheese and Onion Bread (Kaas–Uienbrood)


Bar Walkers cheese & onion crisps (chips), the combination of cheese and onion does not conjure up good food memories for me. All I can remember is cheese and onion pies, pasties or rolls tasted like sick. When I say sick, I mean the taste you get in your mouth after you’ve been sick. What the heck they put in them savory pastries is beyond me, but they were absolutely vile. Because of this, I have avoided combining onions with cheese with anything, that was until we made some flat bread topped with goat cheese and caramelized onions for a catering event – man, that was so very yum (and didn’t taste like sick!)

Moving on from this, I was browsing Nicole’s website, The Dutch Table one lunch, and was drooling over her recipe for kaas – uienbrood (cheese and onion bread). Since I’ve known J, I’ve been interested in Dutch cuisine and trying to recreate what he may have eaten when he was younger. This was a recipe that had to be tried and tested!

Although this bread is traditionally baked in a square/rectangular pan, I decided to go free-form and make it into a round flat bread. I didn’t have the heart to make the bread with 100 % white plain (all-purpose) flour, so made it with half plain and half wholemeal (wholewheat). I like to eat cheese with flavor, so I used a Kerrygold vintage Cheddar. I also reduced the amount of cheese by 25%, because it looked like _A_LOT_ of cheese. The trick is to make sure that the cheese is all melted and the onions are cooked right through. To avoid any rawness of the onions, make sure you slice them as thin as possible, mine were close to or less than 1 mm (1/32 inch) thick.

The smells emanating from the oven when this baby was baking was fabulous. When the bread was baked, J commented said “the ones I’m used to are rectangular, not round, but I’m sure it tastes good”.  He was right; it did taste good, pretty darn good.  The bread was about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and soft, yet chewy with the topping that complemented everything really well.

Be warned: This bread is ultra-moreish (addicting), and one slice is not enough! We finished the whole thing at lunch, just the two of us!


DUTCH CHEESE AND ONION BREAD (KAAS-UIENBROOD)

Makes 1 x 23 cm (9 inch) round flat bread

Adapted from The Dutch Table – Kaas – Uienbrood


Ingredients

For the bread

  • ½ tablespoon dried active baking yeast
  • 240 ml (1 c milk)
  • 375 g (2 ½ c) plain (all-purpose) flour*
  • 1 pinch salt

For the topping

  • 1 small sweet onion (about 100 g, 3.5 oz) finely sliced
  • 150 g (1 ½ c) grated cheese**
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • smoked paprika for serving (optional)

* can be substituted for half plain (all-purpose) and wholemeal (wholewheat) flour

** for a stronger flavor use a mature cheese, such a vintage/aged Cheddar


Method

1. In a stand mixer, mix together the milk and yeast, then stir in the salt.

2. Add the flour, and with the dough hook attachment, mix until the dough comes together. You may need to add a splash of water to get the dough to come together, depending on the age of your flour.

3. Once the dough has come together, knead using the dough hook for 10 minutes on medium speed. The resulting dough should be soft, elastic and lightly tacky, but not sticky.

4. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and allow to prove until 2/3 its original size, around 1 hour. Alternatively place the bowl into the refrigerator for an overnight cold prove. If doing a cold prove, remember to take the dough out of the refrigerator 1 hour before proceeding to the next step.

5. Punch the dough down and roll into a 24 cm (9 inch) or slightly bigger circle directly onto a piece of parchment paper.

6.  Transfer the rolled dough and parchment paper onto a baking tray (sheet/pan) and let prove for 30 minutes.

7. Meanwhile preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).

8. Scatter onions and cheese evenly over the surface of the dough, season with black pepper, and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.

9. To get a browner/golden finish, grill (broil) the bread for about 2-3 minutes under high heat.

10. Transfer the bread and parchment onto a wire rack and let sit for 5 minutes. This step is important: the cheese needs to congeal a little before slicing, otherwise it will slide off the bread when you slice.

11. Slice into squares, dust with smoked paprika if using, and serve warm. Enjoy!

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