I brought this to knit night for the San Antonio Fiber Junkies and everyone seemed to like it. There wasn't much to bring back home, so it couldn't have been too bad. Monday I woke up to several requests for me to share the recipe. I have been saying for a long time that I would share this recipe on the blog, and so now I shall. :)
* Scant 1 cup margarine/butter
* 5-6 onions
* 4 tsp. salt
* 2 packages quick-rise yeast
* 8-9 cups flour
* 2 cups milk
* 1/3 cup honey
* 4 eggs
1. Chop up all but one onion (if you have 5 onions, chop only 4), into diced-sized pieces. I use my food processor for this step so I don't wind up crying (too much) and so I can get it done faster, and at a size I like.
2. Melt 3-4 Tbs. margarine/butter in a large skillet. Brown onions in the butter on med-low heat. I really like to have them caramelized and golden. This smell... is heaven. Honestly if you don't melt right there on your kitchen floor at this point, then you probably shouldn't make this bread. It is SO SO SO SO good.
3. While the onions are browning, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, and salt.
4. Also while the onions are browning, place 2 cups milk, 1/3 cup honey, and around 1/2 cup butter on low heat in a sauce pan. You don't want it to boil or even simmer... just warm up until its around 130*. The butter may not melt all the way but when you see it start to separate and dissolve into the milk it should be right around the right temperature. The whole reason you don't want to heat it up too much is that you don' t want to kill the little yeasty particles in the flour mixture when you add it in, in a few minutes. So... no overheating. SAVE THE YEASTIES!
5. At that point, you will want to start slowly pouring it in and mixing with the flour mixture. Once it is well combined, mix in 3 eggs and 2 cups flour, stirring well between each addition. Stir. Add. Stir. Add. Stir. You get the point.
6. Stir in onions. Try not to drool in the batter.
7. As much as possible, stir in around 3-4 cups flour. Honestly, at this point, as my arm is about to fall off, I always want to look at whoever writes bread recipes and say "Really? How in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do you expect me to get MORE flour into this thing?" So... I'm adding in a disclosure. Once you can no longer stir it in, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work the rest of the flour in through kneading. I promise it works. I swear it. And if it doesn't, you can just leave it behind on your counter, and I won't tell a soul.
8. Now... Knead about 5-10 minutes, adding flour as needed to create a soft, elastic dough. More arms falling off. I know. But just try to think of putting all of your love for your family (or the hate you have for that evil shopper that stole your parking place at the mall last week) and get all that energy out. Whatever works.
8. Spray a bowl with non-stick spray and place dough in bowl. Turn dough so that the "grease" from the spray is on the top as well. Allow dough to rise 30-45 minutes in a warm place, or until doubled. (This means the yeasties are doing their work. It is perfectly fine to name them and praise them. I find they like this.)
9. Once dough is done rising, punch down dough. Oh come on... you know you love this part. Who doesn't like to punch baked goods? I mean really.
10. On a lightly floured surface, separate the dough into two pieces (I prefer the judo chop method), and then twist them together. It should look like a little doughy-candy-cane (without the pretty colors) when you're done.
11. Spray dish/pan with non-stick spray, and preheat oven to 350* F.
12. Place dough in pan. A large bundt pan works best. I can't find mine since the move so I use this honkin' ceramic dish. If you're doing what I did, fold the twisted dough into a circular shape and place in baking dish. If you don't have a LARGE baking dish/pan, you will want to separate this out into two loaves and place them in smaller bundt cake pans or large bread pans. I know it doesn't look like a ton of dough at this point, but you have to trust me. This is like the bread that took over Manhattan. It grows. And it just keeps growing.
13. Bake bread for 45 min at 350*. At this point, your house will smell like absolute BLISS. There is NOTHING better than the smell of onions and bread cooking. Zomg.
14. While bread is baking, slice the last onion in thin, long slices. Saute' onions in about 2 Tbs. butter until caramelized and lightly browned. More onion crack goodness. *Swoon.*
15. After the 45 minutes of baking, remove bread from oven, and generously brush on 1 beaten egg. This acts as a glaze to help it have a pretty brown shine, and also acts as a glue for the onions...
16. Put the caramelized onions on top of the bread, and then put it back in to bake an additional 20 minutes or so. If you are baking it in one huge ceramic dish like me (instead of a bundt pan, cook it an additional 15-20 min). Nomnomnom!
17. Bread is done when it sounds "hollow" when you tap it, and the onions on top are well browned. It looks like something that belongs in a really expensive bakery, where they charge like $40 a slice. You can officially feel proud now.
The bread should separate easily from the pan - just carefully turn it upside down and jiggle just a bit (be sure to have a plate under it to catch the onions and sprinkle what few fell, back on top).
If you make this, prepare for everyone to ask you to make it often... and you can honestly tell them that you slaved on it all day. It is one of those labor of love recipes, but you can really taste it. YUM.