I love to bake. I really do. There is something satisfying about the process of making a mixture with friendly microorganisms, kneading the daylights out of it, and watching it grow. During the colder months, when the days are short and it seems like there’s nothing to do, making a loaf of bread can really brighten my day. The end product is delicious, too. :)
This recipe was a first-time effort for me, and I’m remarkably pleased with the results. The onion flavor is present without being overpowering, and the texture of the bread is just right – not too light, not too dense. The yield is also substantial: 2 good-sized long loaves. This would be a wonderful bread to serve with almost any meal… especially French onion soup.
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups warm water, divided
- 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 egg white
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.
In a medium pot, combine the onion soup mix and the remaining 2 cups of water over medium heat.
Simmer the onion soup mixture, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove the onion soup mixture from the heat, and pour into a large bowl.
Add the sugar, salt, Parmesan, and shortening, mix well, and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Add the yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour, and mix well.
Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour to make a stiff dough (use more or less if needed).
Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease all sides.
Cover and let the dough rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough, divide it in half, and shape into 2 long loaves.
Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, and make diagonal gashes with a sharp knife along the top of the loaves, approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover the loaves and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
In a small bowl, mix the egg white and a small amount of water.
Bake for 20 minutes, brush the loaves with the egg white mixture, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until done.
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