Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve sometimes found it hard to keep up the positivity and creativity during lockdown. It’s one of the reasons I’m going back to some old-favourite recipes such as these cheese and onion wholemeal buns. I think it’s a combination of cooking comfort food that I know will make me happy and that I’m not experimenting with. It’s just a good, solid recipe that I know works and is very tasty.
I do lie awake at nights thinking of cool and original things to cook and share on the blog but I’ve kind of run out of ideas right now and after much ruminating I decided not to worry about it. So here’s a recipe for some divinely delightful wholemeal rolls with cheese and caramelised onions. I’m using half wholemeal and half white flour as the nuttiness of the wholemeal is great here but you wouldn’t want it to dominate. A good strong cheddar works nicely although vintage gouda would also be lovely. One final note, I like the fact that the onion gets burnt on top because I love that charcoal crunch and heady hit it gives but if you’re not a fan, don’t put any onion on top of the buns and just put the whole lot into the dough when you mix it in.
I baked mine in my shallow cast iron casserole dish lined with some baking paper but a large cake tin would work or if you’re not bothered about creating the flower cluster then a regular baking tray is just fine.
- 250g strong white bread flour
- 250g wholemeal bread flour
- 350ml water (it’s quite a wet dough, so don’t be troubled by the stickiness!)
- 1 teaspoon fast action dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- olive oil for kneading and shaping
- 2 large white onions – halved from root to tip and then thinly sliced.
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary and oregano
- 50g cheddar – finely grated
- 25g sunflower seeds (or your favourite seeds)
Start with the bread by combining all the ingredients in a bowl until they come together into a shaggy mess, then knead on an oiled work surface for 10 mins until the dough becomes soft and pliable. It’s a very wet dough so I just bung it all in my trust smeg stand mixer and knead for 10 mins.
Oil a large bowl, place the kneaded dough into it, cover with clingfilm and set aside for at least 2 hours to rise.
Meanwhile, warm some oil and a little butter in a large pan and sauté the onions for 10 minutes until they are soft. Stir in some fresh herbs, seasoning and a pinch of sugar, then let them sauté for at least 30 minutes, stirring regularly to pick up the golden bits off the bottom of the pan. it should take roughly 30 mins on a medium heat for them to caramelise to a rich golden colour – set aside until cool
Once the dough has more than doubled in side, leave it in the bowl and knock it back by punching it. Sprinkle the onions, grated cheddar and any nuts or seeds you want to use onto the top and then start to fold the dough over itself.
Transfer the dough to an oiled surface and continue to fold it in on itself. It will be an absolute mess and all the bits will fall out but just tuck them back in. Try and form it into a tidy-ish ball and then divide into 7 equal parts. (I don’t worry about them being perfectly the same weight but feel free to weigh them.)
Make them into rough balls and place them into your tin or dish in a flower pattern with one in the middle and the rest around the outside. Sprinkle the tops with more nuts and any leftover onions and set aside with a tea towel on top for 30 mins whilst you pre-heat your oven to 220C
Bake for 40 mins but check after 30 mins as the tops will burn.
Set aside to cool for at least 20 mins before tearing apart
Eat and of course enjoy!