French Onion Bread

French Onion Bread

We’re flipping the script on your favorite onion soup with this French Onion Bread. This pillowy bread round combines sherry, thyme, and caramelized onions to impart the traditional French onion flavor while Gruyère brings cheesy decadence to the formula.

4.3 from 4 reviews
French Onion Bread
Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf
  • 4¼ cups (531 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 grams) water
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • Caramelized Onions (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (4 grams) fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups (250 grams) flour, sugar, yeast, and salt by hand.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, ½ cup (120 grams) water, butter, and sour cream over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and using the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed until combined. Add egg, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating until combined.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, smooth, and somewhat sticky dough forms and pulls away from bowl, 9 to 10 minutes. Add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
  6. Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 21×12-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, combine softened butter and thyme. Spread thyme butter onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle and spread Caramelized Onions onto butter. Sprinkle 6 ounces (170 grams) cheese onto onions.
  7. Starting with long side opposite border, roll dough into a log, pinching seam to seal. Place log seam side down, and cut in half lengthwise, leaving 1½ inches at one end. Turn halves cut sides up, and carefully twist dough pieces around each other; form into a circle. Place, cut sides up, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, about 30 minutes.
  8. Position one oven rack in center and one at top of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  9. Bake on center rack for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 2 ounces (57 grams) cheese on top, and bake until cheese is melted and golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 15 to 20 minutes more, placing a piece of foil on top rack of oven to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*We used Red Star Active Dry Yeast

4.3 from 4 reviews
Caramelized Onions
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds (908 grams) Vidalia onions, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (120 grams) dry sherry
  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes. Add salt, sugar, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high. Add sherry; cook until most of liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a glass bowl, and let cool to room temperature.


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  1. This was quite tasy and not terribly difficult, I will make it again. A few tips for others who try it: Make the caramelized onions first, then you can work on the dough while the onions simmer. Also put a tray under the bread pan. My loaf really ‘poofed’ over the sides of the pan. This could have been a ‘baking at altitude’ issue or that my dough rose too much while waiting for the onions to be ready, but just to be safe….Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I would like to see a video or better instructions how to shape the dough to make it look pretty like the picture

  3. I agree that I needed the 10″ pan but it seems to take much longer to get to the 190 temp.
    I calibrated both the oven and the thermometer. Anyone else find that?

  4. I also agree that a 10″ pan would work better, especially since the 9″ I had available was only 1 1/2″ tall. It also took a little longer for the center to reach 190. Though a little charred on the sides that overflowed, the flavor is still good!


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