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Backstory"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?":Julia Child The breads are supposed to have a depression in the center and although I docked mine I clearly didn't dock enough as they puffed right up but they certainly don't taste like Kleenex so I consider them a success.
- 2 1/4 cups warm water (not more than 115 F)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- In a large glass bowl, whisk together the water, sugar and yeast and allow to stand about 5 minutes or until foamy.
- In a small saute pan over low heat, sweat 1/3 cup onion in shortening until it's soft and translucent. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour and onion mixture into the yeast mixture. Stir for about 3 minutes then cover tightly with cling film and let stand about 90 minutes or until doubled and bubbly.
- Sweat remaining onion in canola oil with poppy seeds over low heat until translucent, set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 500 F. Place an oven proof skillet in the bottom of the oven and your baking stone or pan in the center.
- When the sponge is ready, add salt and 2 cups bread flour and begin to knead the soft dough right in the bowl. Add as much flour as is needed to obtain a workable dough and knead until it's soft and pliable, about ten minutes total.
- Cover the bowl tightly with cling film and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 12 portions and shape each into a round about half an inch thick. Create a depression in the center and prick well with a fork.
- Divide the onion mixture evenly between the breads and prick the centers again before baking.
- Put ice cubes or cold water into the skillet and transfer the breads onto your stone or pan with a bit of cornmeal to prevent sticking.
- Bake ten minutes at 500 F, reduce temperature to 450 and bake a further 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.