The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Norm's Onion Rolls

Elagins's picture

Norm's Onion Rolls

So, here they are ... a bit too spherical, IMO, but the taste is absolutely right on the mark. The dough was gorgeous: silky, taut, very very gluten-rich. The trick is in the shaping: I wanted them flatter and bigger in diameter, but they came out softball-shaped. Maybe I ought to press them flatter before I mash them into the onion, or perhaps use a mini rolling pin on them to get them thin enough.

Anyway, here they are. At least if I close my eyes, I'm back in Brooklyn. Thanks, Norm.


Norm's Onion RollsNorm's Onion RollsNorm's Onion Rolls

ehanner's picture

No Pix?

Elagins's picture

I still haven't quite gotten the hang of uploading. I think I've got this right now.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Stan. 

I had totally forgotten about these onion rolls, having not had one in .... decades ..., until I saw your photo! 

I gotta make 'em! 

Thanks to you and Norm.


Elagins's picture

OK, so here's the recipe if you don't want to look it up elsewhere:

1/4 c. dehydrated onion flakes
1T poppyseeds
1/4t salt
1T oil

Soak the onion flakes in boiling water until they're fully hydrated, then drain and add other ingredients; set aside until you need them. (BTW, according to Norm, you can also use this same topping for bialys).

32oz bread or first-clear flour (I used bread flour)
16oz water
1.5oz beaten egg
1.5 oz sugar
0.5 oz malt syrup/powder
1.5 oz vegetable oil
0.6oz salt
0.3oz active dry yeast (or equivalent cake/instant yeast)

1. Mix the water/malt/yeast and egg/oil separately; blend dry flour and sugar in mixer or by hand;

2. Add the liquids to the flour/sugar and hydrate well. This is a very stiff dough that will work either your back or your KitchenAid very hard.

3. Knead for about 10 min until the dough is very smooth and elastic, then set aside and let rise until doubled in bulk.

4. Turn dough, which will be incredibly silky, onto a dry board (no additional flour) and punch down, shape into 3-4 oz boules and let rest, covered, for at least 20 min.

5. Norm suggests spreading the topping onto the work surface and then pressing the boules flat into discs about 1/4"-1/2" thick. I tried that and it didn't work so well: my rolls blew up in the oven like balloons. I don't know whether it was because of how I flattened them or whether the heat 450 was too high. I think next time I'm going to roll them with a small rolling pin and then press them into the topping.

6. Preheat the oven to 425-450 (I think lower heat might work better) Cover the rolls and let fully proof until about doubled in size; bake on parchment with a light spritz of water into the oven until they're nice and brown -- 10-15 minutes.

Let me know how this works out for you all, and again, thanks Norm!

nbicomputers's picture

here's a real baker s tip

save the onion water and use some of it in your rye sour  or rye bread final dough and some of the onion mix  in the final dough for onion rye

we do not throw out anything

nbicomputers's picture

looking at your post i woukd say that you did great with them 

i know there not as flat or as big as you wanted

maybe try 3 oz next time with the small rolling pin

i allways smashed them down real hard

also try a little more rest before flatening them

these also take full proof less than full proof could make them blow up.

ether way from the pic i would say about a pound of butter is required 

remember butter before before we were told how bad it was and that other stuff was only used by the people that did not have enough money for butter and not because it was bad for you

also you made twice the amount of the mix i posted but the 2x mix you posted is missing 1/2 oz of oil and added more malt (A lot more malt)

i woke up this morning with a sty in my left eye so typeing this is not easy

 below is a link to the other thread so everyone can compair the two

I am very glad the taste is the one you remember

i wiill be hanging out in the advanced section sinse as it seems i have been bad and put in the corner (electroictly speaking)

Elagins's picture

That's because I put in a whole egg, which was about 2 oz instead of the 1.5 oz of egg you suggested (doubled from 3/4). If I were to use your exact amount of egg, I would have increased the oil. As for the malt, yes I did: I mis-read my handwriting from .25 oz as .75 oz, so I doubled it. Next time I'll cut it back down.


PS: did you get my email?

nbicomputers's picture

yes i did will reply

Elagins's picture

These are what I remember from my childhood in Brooklyn.

What I did differently this time:

- 3.5 oz rolls instead of 3oz;
- really flattened them vigorously to around 1/4" and ground them into the topping;
- let them proof fully -- about 90 minutes;
- pressed my finger into the center just before I put them in the oven; and
- baked for 18min at 430 degrees.

This is the real deal!!!! Thanks again, Norm.


Norm's Onion Rolls - Take 2

Norm's Onion Rolls - Take 2

dmsnyder's picture


Those look absolutely delicious! 

I'm going to have to make me some. 


Elagins's picture

Dave they're a wonderful trip down memory lane. Enjoy!!


Sparkie's picture

Hi all,

 I made two batches and they were well recieved by all who tried them. They puff beautifully.  To me they need 1/2 tspn of salt per volume measured cup of flour or two teaspoons per pound of flour.  I am NOT  a salt maven and sometimes fergit to use it when cooking. Except when baking I usually remember.

I did the chunk of dough cuppped hand thing like it is a computer mouse, then flaten them to thew prescribed 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. I USED A SINGLE JUMBO EGG IN THE 16 ounce batch then 2 extra larges, (what i have on hand), in the 32 ounce batch.

 The first batch burned more then I liked at 450 (I tried for more even browning , that was a mistake) This batch I turned down my oven to 425 and sprayed them on the pans as they proofed, then did the spritz in the oven forthe first 5 minutes as per instructions. Much better, and with a double batch I think I made 18 total, so they are big enough to make sandwichs with.

there was aperson who wanted the kaiser type rolls with poppy's (I believe that was on this site), if you lose the egg, I believe this recipe will do it.  I may add butter and an extra egg to the recipe (remove some water), and a scouche more sugar. leaning to brioche, but, where I bought my versions of these rolls there were two kind, this and a more brioche(ie) tasting one.  Definitely sweeter then these .

I also think a few spoons of sourdough mother would make them nicer, but, perhaps I am guilding the lilly. Since I get these at Bagel stores that are Kosher, I think they are just left over Challah dough made to rolls, and they are definetly sweeter., weather poppied or onioned.


These would make awesome hamburger buns, or for sliced steak sandwiches, and they would stand up to mustard, au jui, (I am already drooling), ketchup or mango sauce.  I used tons of cornmeal on the bottom, I made little tennis balls then flattened them out pounding them in the cornmeal, then flipped them and slathered on the onions.  The bottom crust was perfection in gluten. Toasted and cream cheesed or toasted with a round egg, and slice of cheese and slab 'o' ham they are better then an egg Mac Muffin  for special breakfasts. (I have egg rings, and if you make them say 14 to the pound recipe, they are perfect sized.


I have malt syrup meant for mixing with milk(no chocolate), the brand is foxes I believe, and diastatic malt. I assume you want to use the sweet malt, non?My malt syrup is old and I think if I continue to bake I will pick up a pound or two of Pure malt powder, (health food store usually have both kinds).

Thanks for someone requesting this and Norm for putting it up on the board. I can take a pick of some of them tommorrow if the kids don't eat'em all by time I get up.


yam's picture

I baked these recently and I met with success.  I managed to slightly overbake them at 450 degrees for 15 minutes in a convection oven, so I caution folks to look at them about the 11-12 minute mark.  Also, I don't think that there is enough topping for the batch I made (3 oz rolls with a yield of 16).  I was running out by the end.

But for a first try, these were awesome!  My house smelled terrific for days.  I have an idea to sell unbaked rolls to people trying to sell their house as a way to make an impression...

Thank you Norm and Stan