A showstopping French onion soup with a twist – a soft pull-apart bread of deeply caramelised onions, garlic, thyme is served with a bread bowl filled with soup and grilled gruyere, sharp cheddar and chives.
For the dough:
Warm milk in microwave till slightly warm, 27°C. Pour milk, yeast, sugar in bowl, leave for 10 minutes. See foam at top. Add melted butter, salt, bread flour. Gradually add liquid to dry ingredients dough hook mixer on medium speed, for 6 minutes until it forms ball, scrape down sides as you go, place dough into greased bowl for 1 hour with glad wrap. Punch down the dough cut into 4 equal pieces.
Lightly flour bench, roll ¼ of dough in circle (place plate over and cut to get perfect circle).
Place filling on top, stopping 1cm from the edge, add another circle of dough, then filling, etc. until top layer complete. Filling: thyme, garlic, chives, cheese, caramelised onion.
Place in fridge 15 minutes to firm up, ensure enough flour for dough to be workable.
Place 5cm wide round glass on top or lid.
Cut outside into 16 pieces’ equal.
Take two adjacent pieces twist away from each other twice and squeeze together, repeat.
Let dough rise.
Beat egg yolks, 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt, brush on bread and put in the oven at 205°C conventional for 15 minutes.
Place on baking rack to cool and crisp up.
For the light rye bread bowl:
Sift flours into a bowl, add salt, sugar, yeast.
Add olive oil and lukewarm water.
Dough hook knead attachment to knead dough 6 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Shape into round soup bowl, leave 1 hour to prove.
Knock back dough, shape into circular bowl shape, roll around with some pressure to ensure the bottom of bowl is smooth and will not have hole in bread bowl. Prove 1 hour.
Slash bread in shape of an onion.
Oven 200°C, place ice at bottom of oven, bake 30-40 minutes depending on size, internal temperature 90°C at least when ready.
For the French onion soup:
Fry of beef bones in hot oil till brown on all sides, then add cold water, simmer for 2 hours or more lid on (use a pressure cooker if you have one).
In a separate pan add brown onions to a thin layer of oil, add star anise med-high heat, 15 minutes cook till caramelised, stirring often.
Add butter, cook a further 15-30 minutes, remove star anise, remove, blend ½ of browned onions to a puree.
Keep other ½ in a pot, add white wine, reduce (20 minutes), add beef stock, reduce add Madeira, reduce, season: salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, more Madeira to taste. Place in a small copper saucepan to serve with lid.
Put mustard on top, chives/spring onion, cheese, grill till melted/golden.
Crispy onion, dehydrate thinly sliced brown onion low temp 100°C oven till crisp.
Place caramelised onion star on large board.
Place crisp onion in small saucepan.
Just prior to serving, heat soup and place cheese in soup bowl, grill cheese, add spring onion, then pour soup into bowl, place lid on the bowl, place in centre of the star, place extra soup in saucepan on board and serve.
*This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department.
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