Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Bread


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

Submitted by Kendall Vanderslice of Cambridge. She gets her copy of Edible Boston at Sofra Bakery, where she works.
"I am a student at Boston University’s Gastronomy Program and a baker at Sofra Bakery in Cambridge. This bread was loosely based off a couple of different recipes we’ve used at Sofra. For Thanksgiving, Sofra did a stuffed and braided brioche loaf, which was my inspiration for the shape of this bread. I have always love caramelized onions and roasted garlic, which both go so well with goat cheese. A nice variation would be to add crisped bacon to the filling."

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 eggs
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup sugar
½ cup soft unsalted butter, in small pieces
3 large onions
3 garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
12 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
¼ stick butter, melted and browned
coarse sea salt, for serving

Heat milk until it is warm to the touch and pour into the bowl of a standing mixer, then whisk in the yeast and eggs. Add flour, salt, sugar, and butter, and knead with the dough hook attachment on medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easily pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a towel. Allow it to rise in a warm location until doubled in size, 1–1 ½ hours. Punch and flip the dough and allow a second rise, doubling in size again.

While the bread rises, make the filling. Slice onions in half from root to stem, then slice lengthwise creating crescent shaped slivers. Heat olive oil in a skillet, then add onions and garlic and a hefty pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and allow the onions and garlic to cook until soft and caramelized, stirring often, around 30 minutes.

Allow caramelized onions to cool completely. Remove garlic cloves and puree until smooth, then mix in garlic and goat cheese.

Once the dough has finished its second rise, roll it out to a 10 x 12-inch rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet and arrange it horizontally in front of you. Spread the filling down the center of the dough, leaving 4 inches bare on each side. From the edge, cut 1½ inch strips inwards towards the filling, about 6 on each side.

Starting on the left side, take turns stretching and crossing each strip diagonally down to the strip below, creating a braid that holds the filling in place. Pull the final strip across the bottom, locking the filling inside.

Preheat the oven to 350° while allowing the bread one final rise, about 30 minutes. Brush dough with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, brush with melted browned butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool, then slice and serve.

This story appeared in the Spring 2015 issue.