Zwiebelbrot (onion bread) is sold in many German bakeries. It’s usually made from wheat flour, rye flour, and roasted onions. When I was a child we would sometimes have this bread for a typical German “Abendbrot” (dinner, or literally translated: evening bread). As a lot of German families consider lunch to be the most important meal of the day, dinner is sandwich time, with bread as the most important food item. On special occasions our family would also have fresh bread rolls from the bakery next door. As Wikipedia suggests, Germany and Austria seem to be the mecca of bread rolls, and it’s true, every bakery carries a huge variety of these “little breads” [Brötchen] as they are called in German. Personally, I really love a slice from a fresh love of bread, but even more, I love a fresh bread roll.
These onion rolls combine the full flavour of onion bread with the specialness of bread rolls.
These savoury bread rolls contain fried onions and fresh sprouts, which makes them aromatic, hearty and healthy at the same time. Not only are they a nice “Abendbrot” item, the also go well with salads and can be topped with hummus or your favourite spread to accompany a light lunch. Or you can have them for breakfast, served with tofu scramble.
Adapted from this recipe for “Zwiebelbrot” (onion bread)
For twelve rolls:
2 cups white flour
1 1/4 cups dark rye flour
1.5 oz fresh yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast)
3/4 cup warm water
1 t sugar
2 t salt
1 t sesame oil or other vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup mixed sprouts (I used 1/3 lentil 2/3 radish)
1/2 cup water mixed with 1 t baking soda for brushing.
For this recipe, I used a fresh yeast cake.
Yeast cakes are much more common in German baking than is active dry yeast. If you can’t find fresh yeast, use active dry yeast instead.
Mix flours in a bowl. Add warm water and sugar. Crumble yeast into the water.
Cover your bowl and let the yeast proof in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Add the salt, mix everything, form into a ball, transfer to floured working surface, and knead for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl again, cover and let rise for 2 hours. (The long rising time is necessary because of the rye flour, which slows down the rising process.) Meanwhile heat a pan, add oil, and fry onions until browned. When the rising time is over, transfer the dough to the floured working surface, punch it down and mix with onions and sprouts. Knead until everything is well combined.
Divide dough into twelve pieces and form into rolls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Mix one cup water with one teaspoon of baking soda. (This solution is usually used to cook soft pretzels to give them the brown colour and salty taste.) Preheat yor oven to 400 ° F.
Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Brush with baking soda solution for a second time. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve on the same day and freeze remaining rolls to keep them fresh.