Friday, August 12, 2011

Kaas - Uienbrood

I'm always amazed at how one bite of something, or sometimes even just the smell, can so easily transport me back ages in time.....As you know by now, the Dutch love their breads. You can get such an amazing variety at the bakeries, and even at the much more limited supermarkets, that it's hard to imagine life without bread. The smell and taste of today's bread immediately whisked me back to my early teens, back in Holland.

During my lunchtime in 7th grade, instead of eating at school, I'd ride my bike over to the local bakery and try some of their breads: one day I'd buy a baguette, another day I'd choose two or three different soft rolls.....but always something different. I loved the clean, fresh taste of baked bread and all the different flavors and options.

One of the more elaborate breads, taste-wise, was a kaas-uien brood, a cheese-onion bread. A lovely flat bread topped with slices of onion and cheese, baked in the oven to the point that the cheese would melt and the onion would be cooked......It was a rich bite, but not much beats a warm cheese/onion slice of bread on a cold wintery day! Somehow that bread always stuck by me and reminds me of that small bakery in Blerick. You will find this bread at almost any bakery or lunchroom in Holland.

Kaas-uien brood serves well as a snack, as a quick lunch item or as a flavorful side to a bowl of split-pea soup, brown bean soup or even a good old-fashioned tomato soup. You can make a big slab and cut it in squares or make smaller loaves so that every person has their own. The bread is good either cold or hot. 

Your choice of cheese is personal. For this version I used an American Cheddar, but you are welcome to use whichever cheese you prefer.

Kaas-Uien Brood
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm milk
Pinch of salt
1 medium sweet onion
2 cups of grated cheese

Place the flour in a bowl, add the yeast and the warm milk and knead quickly into a slightly sticky dough. Knead in the salt, cover and set aside to rise, until double its size. In the meantime, peel the onion, cut it in half and slice it into thin slices. 

Shape the dough into a log, cover and let it rise again, until about 2/3s of its former size. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough about 1/2 an inch high. Heat the oven to 375F.

Distribute the raw onion slices over the bread and cover with the cheese. Put the sheet to the side, let the dough rise one last time, until it's nice and puffy, then place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes or until the cheese is melted and has a nice golden hue to it.

Remove the bread from the sheet, and let it rest for five minutes before cutting in to it. Serve in small squares as a snack during a gezellige avond with friends, or serve for lunch or dinner with a side salad.


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