Pull-apart cheesy onion bread

This is Week #15 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I'm not gonna lie. This challenge has been, well, challenging at times. (What did I expect, right?) Not only have I have stretched myself in terms of what I am comfortable creating in the kitchen, but it has also been challenging because of the weekly deadlines. I committed to posting a new recipe from this cookbook every Wednesday and I will absolutely fulfill that committment. Some weeks, though, life makes it a little more difficult to get that task accomplished. Especially when I have three other things I just have to make. This past week was one of those weeks. I hit rock bottom emotionally (goodness, I hope that was rock bottom) while dealing (or not dealing) with my son's upcoming surgery. I have been a bit of a mess, to put it delicately. I have made some positive changes since that point and I hope that things only get better from here.

So, strangely, this bread has special meaning. I put it together while my lowest low point was brewing inside of me. I'd like to think that its comfort (the smell, the taste) helped me to turn things around. Don't underestimate the power of food!

This is the most unique and tasty bread I have ever made. When it was finished, I saw it as a delicious work of art!

Assuming you are going to want to get started right away, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a metal loaf pan (9x4ish).

In a large skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter, while reserving 2 tablespoons for later.

Add to the skillet:

1 large onion, chopped

Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in:

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salt & pepper, to taste

Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, or until it is slightly cooled.

Place the mixture into a bowl and stir in:

3 oz. (1 cup) Gruyere cheese, coarsely shredded

Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the following ingredients until combined:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Add 1 stick of cubed butter to the combined mixture.

Pulse until the butter cubes are the size of small peas.


1 cup buttermilk

Pulse 5 or 6 times, or just until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2x24-inch rectangle. Spread the onion mixture on top of the bread.

Cut the dough crosswise into 10 equal pieces.

Stack 9 pieces onion side up and the tenth piece onion side down. This is where I started feeling like I was back in my college sculpture class, praying my creation would hold together.

Carefully, very very carefully, lay the stack in the prepared loaf pan and brush the top with the 2 tablespoons of reserved butter.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving. 

Thank you, cheesy onion bread, for providing a bit of comfort to this sad and weary mama. Here's to a better week ahead.. 

Click here for a printable recipe!