… as regular and observant readers of the blog will know, the lovely people at Homepride Flour have been providing me with their self-raising and plain flour for a few months now as i’m part of their Homepride Bakers community… I’ve been baking, using only this flour and i’m sure you’ll agree that the results speak for themselves. I’ll be totally honest with you and say that up until being part of this community I genuinely didn’t think twice about which brand of flour I purchased, normally going directly to the supermarket own brand and have never had an issue but I can see the difference in the Homepride flour – the fact that it’s pre-sieved is blatantly obvious the moment you touch it – but also the fact that it comes in the resealable boxes is handy beyond what I would have ever thought. I’ve always loved the brand and grew up with the bowler-hatted little icon Fred on TV adverts as a little boy. Mum even had a set of ceramic Fred flour jars that I believe she still has to this day. As well as the nostalgia and of course quality, to me the brand represents the best of British, particularly this year with the announcement that all their flour comes from 100% British wheat which of course if wonderful for our farmers.
Homepride also have another very exciting announcement to make, one which I have had the privilege of working on in secret with them for some time… this week they will launch their first ever Strong White Bread Flour! The flour is very good. I’ve been developing and testing recipes with it for the past couple of months and i’ve baked some exceptional loaves. I even completed a very interested taste test comparing three of the UK’s best-selling bread flours alongside this new flour and it faired very favourably. It comes in the traditional sealed, round edged box and completes the perfect set of flours for your larder. The flour will be sold exclusively in Tesco stores and online at tesco.com. I love that a brand as traditional as Homepride has recognised the growing trend in home bread baking and with the popularity in such shows as the Great British Bake-Off, has moved with the times to develop a new flour to meet the needs of the population. So often these retro brands sit in a world of nostalgia and don’t move to develop or change but thankfully wise little Fred is not so stubborn and continues to strive for quality.
as part of my recipe development for the launch of the new Homepride Strong Bread Flour I was asked bake a regular white loaf, which I will post the results of another time, along with something a little more complex, such as this divine ‘tear n share’ loaf. I adore caramelised onions and onion bread in general. There is nothing better than the glorious aroma of toasted onion bread and this tear and share loaf toasts beautifully and delivers that deeply rich scent very generously. This bread works well with a fondue or dips and so great for the forthcoming party season but also works well with a bowl of soup – a great sharing meal if you have friends popping by, simply bung a large bowl of soup on the table and this loaf and let them all tuck in… utterly heavenly.
- 500g Homepride Strong White Bread Flour
- 7g / 1 teaspoon / 1 sachet – fast action yeast
- 7g / 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 350ml luke warm water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large white onions – peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- a large nob of butter
- fresh rosemary and thyme
- 100g strong cheddar – finely grated
start with the onions – in a large pan, heat the olive oil and butter and throw in the onions and the sugar and stir around until all the onions are coated, then turn the heat down and let them gently sweat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the onions sticking
after 30 minutes, add the fresh herbs and plenty of salt and pepper and stir in. leave on the heat for another 30 minutes or until the onions are a dark golden brown and gloriously sticky and caramelised.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt with the water and stir together using a rubber spatula. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic (this process can be done really easily in a stand mixer with a dough hook, for 15 minutes)
Oil a large bowl, add the dough, cover tightly with cling film and set aside to prove for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Take a roasting tin (roughly 12inches x 8inches) and oil it very generously and set aside.
After your dough has had its first prove, liberally oil a large work surface and turn the dough out onto this. Using your oiled hands, spread the dough out to form a thin, rough rectangle, roughly 20 inches x 12 inches… the dough will be elastic and want to spring back (and the oiled surface won’t help) but leave it for a few minutes and then go back to it and gently tease it larger
Take your caramelised onion and tip it onto the dough rectangle and evenly spread it out covering the entire surface, then sprinkle on the grated cheese, followed by some more fresh herbs and salt and pepper
Carefully roll the long edge up the work surface, creating a long roll of dough and onions, then cut this into sections, each one roughly 3inches wide and place these into your oiled roasting tin until it’s full
Cover the tin with oiled cling film and set aside to prove for 30 minutes and turn your oven on and set to 200C
After 30 mins, remove the cling film and place the bread into the oven for 10 minutes on 200C and then a further 20 minutes on 180C
remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before eating.
eat and of course, enjoy!