The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Rye Onion Rolls - my take on Norm's well loved Onion Roll recipe

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Rye Onion Rolls - my take on Norm's well loved Onion Roll recipe

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

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Norm's Onon Roll is one of the most beloved recipes on TFL, as well documented here. It can also be found in "Inside the Jewish Bakery", a book well worth reading/owning. I have made this formula exactly as is before, however this time, I took the two things I like the best about this recipe and changed the rest:

1. The onion filling recipe using dried onion and poppy seeds is what makes this bread so tasty. I used the formula from the book:
dehydrated chopped onion, 45g
boiling water, 340g
oil, 14g
poppy seeds, 10g
salt, 4g
-mix boiling water and dried onion, soak for at least 30min
-drain and use paper towel to dry onion mixture well, reserve onion water for dough
-mix in oil, poppy seed, and salt. Cover, keep refridgerated for up to 2 weeks

2. The shaped rolls have to be "fully" proofed to keep the flat profile and the signature dent in the middle. By fully proofed, it means when I press the dough with my finger, it won't spring back at all, yet it won't collapse either.

Norm's original post and the recipe in his book use a lightly enriched sweet dough for this bread. I decided to use my own sourdough rye dough instead, making use onion water from the filling formula above.

Note: makes 7 rolls
Note: total flour is 270g
rye starter (100%), 11g
water, 19g
medium rye 35g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- Final Dough
bread flour, 189g
rye flour, 41g
egg, 32g
sugar, 19g
salt, 5g
onion water from filling, 57g
heavy cream, 116g
levain, all

1. Mix everything , knead until moderate level of gluten developement. A relatively thin windowpane can be stretched, but holes can appear.
2. Rise at room temp for 2 hours, punch down, put in fridge overnight.
3. Divide into 7 parts, round, rest for 1 hour.
4. Smooth side down, press into onion filling mixture, flatten into 1inch thick disks. Filling side up, put on baking sheet, cover.

5. Fully proof at room temperature. About 6.5hours at 72F. Press a hole in the middle, the dough should not spring back, nor should it collapse.

7. Bake at 400F for 15-20min.

Rye sourdough complements well with onion flavor. Crumb is fluffy and soft.

Thank you Norm for the inspiration!


Syd's picture

Great pictures txsfarmer!  The topping on those rolls looks most inviting.  Thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention.  I hadn't noticed it before.  Will have to try this.


txfarmer's picture

This is THE most loved recipe on TFL I think, not to be missed!

ehanner's picture

Hey txfarmer,

Those are enough to bring me up from my absence and make me drool. Great that you re-introduced them to the new crowd here.


txfarmer's picture

Hey stranger! Good to "see" you!

dabrownman's picture

Norm's take on Bialy's where the center was redistributed everywhere else?  They look delicious txfarmer and worth the 6.5 hr final proof wait .  The hardest part to learn is :  to poke and keep poking till it doesn't poke back - then bake.

Very nice roll.

txfarmer's picture

I think Bialy's dough is leaner than this, and the shape is slightly different. Norm has a different recipe for bialys in his book.

Janetcook's picture

Hi Txfarmer,

I just baked this loaf yesterday and I have also converted it to using sourdough rather than IY but hadn't thought of adding rye flour to the mix.  I am thinking that would complement the onions nicely so next time I will have to give it a go.

With the rolls I made yesterday I ended up making braided loaves - tucking the onion filling into the dough instead of pressing it onto the top....did this because the onions always fall off and I get afraid that one of our dogs will get sick from the onions that always seem to make it to my kitchen floor.  

Your rolls look very delicious and the crumb looks nice and open and soft despite the addition of the rye.

Thanks for the post and write up.

Take Care,



txfarmer's picture

It's a great idea to make these into braids!

Isand66's picture

Magnificiant looking rolls!

I made a similar sourdough version a while ago, but I like your idea of adding the rye flour and must try this myself when I return from my trip.

Thanks for sharing your recipe.



txfarmer's picture

Thanks Ian, I think rye and onion are a great match!

bayleafbaker's picture

The flour combination sounds lovely.

I have a question about the dehydrated onion. 45g is about 1/2 cup + 1T., correct? From web research, I gathered that 1/2 cup dehydrated onion = 2 cups minced fresh onion.
I don't have dehydrated onion on you think that mincing fresh onion and sauteing/caramelizing them a bit would work as a substitute?


Graham's picture

These look wonderful! Do you know if it doubles well? I make a lot of sourdough rye with onions and garlic. I can not wait to try these rolls.