Introduction: Onion Cheese Bread With Salt Crust

This is a tried and true recipe! I created it  while working as a chef at a private club and it then became popular with the public when I was working at Mecklenberg Gardens restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. While it is simple to make, it packs a lot of flavor. I tried to document the process with as many photos as possible.

The salt crust brings out the flavor of the sourdough like bread and the pinwheel of melted cheese. This bread freezes great and a few seconds in a microwave makes it taste like it is right out of the oven. 

Be forewarned... it is addictive!

Step 1: The Ingredients and Equipment

1 1/4 Cups 2% Milk
1/3 oz Dry Yeast
3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Dehydrated Chopped Onions
2 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons melted Butter or Margarine
4 Cups Bread Flour
1Cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
Non-Stick Cooking Spray

4 cup microwave safe measuring cup
Kitchen Scale ( in ounce measurements)
Kitchen mixer
Metal bowl that can hold mixer bowl
Sheet Pan
Wire Cooling rack
Rolling pin
Kitchen Brush
Plastic Wrap

Step 2: It's Alive! Activating the Yeast.

Warm the Milk in the microwave to lukewarm (under 110°F).
Put the Dry Yeast and the Sugar in the bowl of the mixer.
Add the warm Milk to the bowl and whisk together with the Sugar and Yeast .
Let this stand at room temperature for 10 minutes till the top of the milk is covered with foam.
The foaming indicates that the yeast is multiplying and will allow your bread to rise properly.

Step 3: Adding the Dry Ingredients

To the milk mixture in the mixer bowl add :

- 2 cups of Bread Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons melted Butter or Margarine
- 1/4 cup chopped dehydrated onion
- 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

Once this is added, beginning mixing everything together with a paddle attachment.

Once everything is well combined, start adding the remaining 2 cups of  Bread Flour till it is all incorporated.

Step 4: Proofing the Dough.

After mixing is complete, flour your hands and remove the dough from the bowl and paddle.
The flour keeps the dough from sticking to you hands.
Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it.
Spray the inside of the bowl with Non-stick Cooking Spray and put the ball of dough in it.
Cover the bowl with clear film.

Place the covered mixing bowl into the other mixing bowl that is half full of lukewarm water.
This will speed up the proofing process.
Allow the dough to rise till double in size.

Step 5: Time to Roll It Up!

Punch your fist into the middle of the risen dough, then remove from the mixing bowl.
Shape the dough into a flattened ball shape.
Place the dough on a generously floured surface.
Coat a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough into a slightly oval square.

Sprinkle all of the Shredded Cheddar onto the dough as shown.
Fold a long edge slightly over the cheese.
Then fold the short sides into the center as shown.

Then roll up completely like a Jelly Roll.

Step 6: Tray the Dough and 2nd Proof

Place the rolled up dough on a ungreased cookie sheet.
Loosely cover it with plastic wrap and left it sit in a warm place for another hour.

Dough will almost double in size.

Step 7: Adding the Salt Crust

Combine an egg with a few tablespoons of water in a measuring cup.
Mix in 1 tablespoon of salt and mix.
The egg will break down from the salt and will be very fluid.

Brush the egg mixture onto the proofed dough.

Sprinkle salt on top of the egg wash.

Bake the loaf in a preheated 425°F oven for 25-30 minutes or till golden brown.
Depending on your oven, turning the pan halfway through baking will help with even browning.

Step 8: Cool and Enjoy!

When the loaf is golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
The bread needs a little time to cool to allow the cheese to firm up a bit, although if you like it gooey and melty like pizza, dig in.

This bread freezes really well and can be reheated in the microwave.

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