The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Onion Braid

Floydm's picture

Onion Braid

I based this on the Onion Twist Bread in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I reduced the amount of yeast and used a poolish, and went for a braid instead of a twisted and panned loaf, but otherwise it is basically the same.

Onion Braid

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter or shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1 3/8 ounce package of onion soup mix
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

The night before, in a bowl, mix together the poolish until it form a batter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.

The next morning, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, the sugar, the onion soup mix. Mix in the poolish, the milk, one of the eggs, the butter, and the Parmesan cheese with a wooden spoon. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time until a proper dough forms, one that is dry enough that you can hand knead it yet moist enough that it is still tacky to the touch.

Pour the dough out of the bowl onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic, and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it however you like. I tried a braid this time. I'm not good enough that I want to give directions on how to do it yet (for that please see your cookbook), but I will include the pictures my wife took of the process:

Cover the loaf with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap and allow it to double in size again, approximately 45 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat the oven (and baking stone, if you have one) to 450.

Just before baking, glaze the loaf with the egg wash. Put it into the hot oven. After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for another 15 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake until the loaf is done. Total baking time may vary based on shape. My loaf took about 45 minutes.

SourdoLady's picture

Yum! That looks really good. How did it taste? It almost looks as if you used whole wheat flour. Did the golden color come from the soup mix?

Floydm's picture

How did it taste?

It wasn't bad. Not as oniony than I had hoped, but less oniony than my wife feared. It smelled *wonderful*.

It almost looks as if you used whole wheat flour. Did the golden color come from the soup mix?

Yes, the color was from the soup.

Floydm's picture

Now that I've tried it, I should add that this bread makes excellent toast. :)

MickiColl's picture

Didn't the soup mix make it salty ? seems it would .. but it is beautiful, for sure

MickiColl's picture

How did you manage to get such a nice rise with all that salt (in the soup mix)

did it taste salty ?

Floydm's picture

Shrug.  It did fine.

I don't recall it tasting too salty.

Carol Hall's picture
Carol Hall

Can you bake this Onion bread by using 1/2 whole wheat flour?  What would be your recommendation?

JohnnyX's picture

Is the one egg listed for the egg wash, or does a egg also go into the dough?

Floydm's picture

One egg in dough, one egg for wash.

gregsgirl60's picture

I'm new here and fell in love with this Onion Braid the first time I visited this site.  I too, was a little confused about the egg, and decided that the egg was for the wash, my braid was raising when I came back on here and I worried that the missing egg would cause a problem with the taste or the texture? (As it baked, the smell was too scrumptious!)  Well the braid is done and it's wonderful.  My husband and I have devoured a huge portion of it already, some with butter and some with cream cheese.  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

Susan O. 


Lilly's picture


 I made a loaf of this yesterday (my first) and it turned out great.

 We ate it with garlic cream cheese which was delicious!

audra36274's picture

I am also new here, and this looks fantastic! I found this site scouring the web for a braid recipe to do for Easter next weekend. I found this and I can't wait till then! Maybe a few "practice loaves" would be in order! I finally got some plastic bakery style bags so that my friends I keep covering up with my bread baking obsession don't have to bring their own towel or whatever to cart all this home with them! My family loves home made bread, and it's a good thing. The bug hit me hard! I have joined and this site is in my favorites. Thanks for the new inspiration!

audra36274's picture

I couldn't wait and started this onion braid this morning. It looks so inspiring in your photo. I found out one thing about my self today....for a woman, I cannot braid worth a flip! I had to undo this loaf 3 times to get it right. The instructions are fine, I think I'm just a SPAZ! ANY WAY! It is in the oven and smelling TOO FINE! Also my little girl is happily playing with a small piece of the dough I saved out for her. The loaf will be fine with 17 inch ropes instead of 18's. I wish my mom had let me play in dough, so I let her. I hope the home made bread bug is contagious and my daughter and I can make bread together for years to come. Thanks for the inspiration, and the recipe for the tasty loaf!  Happy Baking!!


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I was having trouble visualizing this without movement. I went to You tube (isn't that a great tool, didn't even know what "You too" was until about 2 years ago) and found this:


I'm going to make this bread next week I think. I've always wanted to make a braided bread. This is too pretty to pass up and I love onion bread.

ehanner's picture

This look like it turned out well. Do you know what the internal temp was when it came out?

I have a similar recipe I have been wanting to try for onion rolls that doesn't have the egg wash. I think I'll try to do some fancy breads for next week also. Thanks for the nudge.


reasgt's picture

There is another onion loaf in Bernard Clayton's book that I have tried. Instead of the soup mix, you fill the ropes with an onion-butter-paprika-poppy seed mixture and then braid them. (Roll out a rectangle, put filling down, roll up into a rope.) Being onion-filled, it's quite deliciously aromatic baking and also makes outstanding toast. Highly recommended if you have his book. 2 loaves rarely last me 24 hours, alone.

EvaB's picture

I am frustrated with this site, love the bread and the blogs, but the pictures are hell, only half of them load, and then that half only half loads, no matter what I do. Not that I need the pictures to braid, but I would have loved to see the finished product, not the top 1/4 or so of the picture.

However that said, I will try the bread out, and it sounds wonderful, will also try the variation of filled braids that someone told about. That is for more time though, the onion soup would be quicker if you were working against time.

Dillbert's picture

TFL does not host graphics / aka pixs directly, so one can only post or include a link coded to 'automatically' display.

regrets, but that immediately invokes the reponse time of the pix host server to 'third party' requests.  "servers" sitting in a home basement generally are not "excessively swift" in responding. 

it's indeed an issue, but short of TFL paying mega-bucks for bandwidth & storage space to host pix, not the fault of the site proper.

to wit, I've about given up on a fascinating site that is apparently hosted on a desktop pc.  the time to load, refresh, display, query, etc., is frsutrating to the point of making the site essentially worthless.  I just don't have the time for a four-five minute time lag for each message to load to my screen.....

Floydm's picture

Are you two both posting about the photos in this thread?  All of the photos in this thread are hosted on the TFL server.  The server is in a data center, not a garage.  I've hit this thread from multiple computers and my phone and never had a problem with the images not loading.

When I find old threads with missing images those are typically images people posted elsewhere and then removed.  I can't scrub every old post and remove broken images, and if folks feel like removing their old photos from their Flickr account or whereever they have them they have every right to do so.

EvaB's picture

today the pictures were more than half there at first viewing, but it took 2 refresh tries to get the whole picture so to speak. Sometimes the pcitures are fully there and no problems, sometimes I click on a link in the new contents list and wind up with the page displayed as a partial post (no comments line at the bottom) and sometimes the whole post and comments are there but none of the headers and side bar are there. I have sattelite broadband the middle pick which is about 45KB per second, in comparison to my old supposed to be 28KB via phone line which was more like 1200 bits per second. I can download enormous 25 megabite programmes and updates in less than a minute when the net co-operates as it will go up to 145KB at times. So I don't think its my stuff, but think it looses itself someplace and thinks its sent or downloaded it. Usually a refresh works, but not always, one post I gave up on reading as it didn't make sense without the pictures and it wasn't an old post, because it was in the new content and I only pick the newest posts, if I read an old post I always look at the date first.

Having said that what's with the bottom post in this thread, the one about the TV on your computer. As far as I know this is spam, and I didn't think spamming was allowed, not that I think a person from this site is spamming, but obviously somehow a hijack has occured. Since the TV stuff has nothing to do with the thread.

dstroy's picture

Yes, EvaB - that was indeed a spammer. Spam happens all the time. We try to catch it and delete it when we can but realize we have to sleep sometimes too - that's where it's really helpful when you spot stuff like that, there is a built-in-tool that all community members can use which is that little link at the bottom of each post and comment that says "Flag as offensive" - when folks do that it'll throw that comment into the review cue and if several folks flag it the post will dissapear altogether - even if the moderators are not sitting online at that particular moment.

All the images load fine for me - if you can get to the website then the images, which are hosted on the same place, are something you can get to as well - so if a partial load is happening for you then it means that your ISP may be having some issues right now (in that a refresh will usually work, or in many browsers you can right-click the broken image and click View Image to force that image to load - but most likely whats going on is you have something like a partial connection where things are connecting but it's dropping packets along the way. It wouldnt matter whether the content was old or new either - it's all hosted on the same servers. I often run across a page where some but not all the pictures on a page will load even though they're all sitting in the same place when the connection itself is being wonky - but it's not the server where the site I'm trying to access is in those cases. You can also verify these things on websites with the web page:  I find that very handy sometimes when there are connection issues and I'm trying to figure out if it's something going on at the server where whatever site it is I'm having problems with or if it's just some general connection problem likely slowing things down on the side of my ISP.

pmccool's picture

The internet service provided at my house (an ADSL connection cheerfully described as "high-speed" by the provider) is somewhere between dismal and defunct.  Not sure if the differences are attributable to the phase of the moon or some other influence.  Anyway, pictures only occasionally load correctly when I'm surfing at home.  If I'm somewhere that has a decent connection, then I get to see the pictures.

So, to second Dorota's observation, crappy connection = crappy performance.  And (in my case) it affects a whole lot more than just pictures on TFL.

Amazing the things you can get homesick for.


EvaB's picture

will certainly check them out, and I know its probably a problem with the gateways or some other place the info has to pass through to get to me, I just don't understand why its ME! I am that one in one hundred or five hundred etc, that has things happen to them, I am the one that gets the things that are described by drs as being a one in one thousand chance etc, so I must also be the one in however many that has the crappy connections all the time.

I did get the pictures to load this time, and they are spectacular so while they were nicely loaded I did print off the recipe to add to my collection of must bake breads. I'm going to be busy this winter! But onion is one of my favourite foods (I sincerely believe that its a secret health food) so the braid is going to be a stand by for me. Love the onion buns too!

LindyD's picture

The images in this thread, as well as the others on this site, load within seconds for me. All of them, even when using two separate browsers opened to TFL at the same time.

Am guessing the two folks claiming the photos don't load may be having issues with their own hardware/ISPs/security software, or maybe even the browsers they are using.  

For what it's worth, I'm running a five-year old desktop and alternate between Chrome and Firefox on my home DSL connection.  

Heck, the photos even load quickly on my work computer, which is an ancient box using Windows 98 and an old version of Firefox.

The problem isn't here, that's for certain.

msbreadbaker's picture

DITTO for me, old computer, somewhat fast hookup, no problems with the pics. for those that had problems, they were pretty spectacular!

Jean P. (VA)

BerniePiel's picture

First, Floyd,  the onion braid looks scrumptious and can't wait to try it.  Thanks for the detail on the braiding technique.  Should be a snap to replicate.

As to the computers, I'm fast closing in on almost 3/4 of a year of daily viewing of TFL and I've never had an issue with loading photos, text, slow links or anythiing.  This has to be one of the best websites I've visited if not THE best since I've been using personal computers to surf the old "Well" back in the 80's or 90's.  Currently I use a MacBookPro or an I-Mac, but I've had plenty of time staring at HP's, Vaio's, and so many others I can't remember the names---but has been one of the most reliable things ever in my computing involvement.  Whatever you do, Floyd, keep on doing.  I've been wondering if you had a Cray sitting up on a hilltop in Santa Rosa witht the quality of what I've seen here.

Now, if I could just make bread as good as David or Sylvia or Shiao-Ping or or or.......{:-)

Bernie Piel

Floydm's picture

Thanks, Bernie.  I do what I can to keep the site running smoothly.  And, yes, I agree, it'd be great to catch up with their baking.

Sparkie's picture

I know I know I know , you do not have time, use dried onion flakes reconstituted with water, or onion powder in the flour (or both) of mince fresh and nukem (user the water they give off), or brown the mince in a little butter til they carmelize.


Onion soup mix can taste just like a rubber hose sometimes, even national brands can.


just a thought

andy20660's picture

I sell at three farmers markets each week and took six loaves of the onion braid with me today. They were straight from the oven and many commented on their wonderful smell. They all sold in under 5 minutes with requests for more. I am so pleased with this recipe.

Because whole wheat is in high demand where I sell, I made the recipe with a combination of whole wheat and a bit of unbleached bread flour. I also added minced roasted garlic to the dough and brushed the finished loaves with a bit of fresh garlic butter on top of the nice glossy egg wash finish. Fantastic!

Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

Floydm's picture

Yum, your variation sounds great.  Glad to hear it is working so well for you.

killpineapple's picture

had jus been making basic loafs and progressed to making the Cocodrillo Ciabatta last week.  came out great.  trying this onion braid today.

it was hard for me to figure out braiding with the pictures, but i found a video that helped explain 4-strand braiding.  take an end piece, and go over, under, then over the other strands.  repeat this with the same end.

JamieN's picture

Tried the onion loaf last night, stayed up until 11:00 to eat hot bread and it was well worth it!  My first try at braiding, I thought it'd be harder than it was, but even with a little mistake in the braid, no one cares because it was so good (and is gone by 10:00 am this morning by the way).  I've only made recipes found on this site and thanks to all the good ones, my family thinks I'm a natural!  Thank you! 

One question - how do you know when the bread is done?  Mine appeared to be longer and skinnier than Floydm's so I cooked it 5 minutes less, and it was indeed done.  I cut it open with bated breath worried that it might still be raw inside.  Is there an easy trick?

Carol Hall's picture
Carol Hall

Can you bake this onion bread using whole wheat flour?  What would be your suggestion? 

CathyP's picture

I made this loaf yesterday for our B&B guests.  I love bread and therefore I make fresh bread instead of toast for breakfasts.  Everyone loved it.  I certainly need more help in the braiding, but wonderful. 

I love your site and recipes.  Everything loads easily and the site is easy to navigate.  

I use your recipe for croissants (better than Julia's) and one day I will master those as well.  I thank you for posting and photographing your easy to follow recipes but mostly I thank you for sharing.  



Moggyk9's picture

I had to try it. I have the dough rising for its first rise now. Can't wait until its done. My first poolish - I had never even heard the word until I read this thread yesterday. Wish me luck. :)