This savory, cheesy onion loaf is made by layering yeasty bread dough and caramelized onions with shredded Gruyere and fresh herbs. Once baked, it pulls apart easily into individual slices, so it’s easy to serve and share — and the flavors are just right for a fall feast.
Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Pull-Apart Bread
For the dough:
½ cup milk, 105 to 110ºF
½ cup plus 2 Tbs. water, 105 to 110ºF
1 ½ tsp. dry active yeast
3 cups Williams-Sonoma Family Farms Country French Organic Flour
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbs. melted butter, for brushing
For the filling:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. coarse ground brown mustard seeds
3 Tbs. melted butter
Combine milk and water in a bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and let yeast bloom, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir to combine.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, blend flour, salt and sugar on low speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add yeast mixture, then add butter. Increase speed to medium-low and continue kneading an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic and shouldn’t be sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Lightly brush the inside of a 9-inch by 5-inch stoneware loaf pan with melted butter.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a medium nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine the gruyere, thyme, and mustard seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Punch down the dough, turn out onto a lightly floured working surface and roll out into a 16×10-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 Tbs. of the melted butter. Using a pastry scraper or pastry wheel, cut the dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 8 even sections. Top each piece of dough evenly with caramelized onions, followed by the cheese mixture. Stack 4 of the topped dough pieces on top of one another, turn the stack sideways and place in the pan so the cheese mixture faces the short end of the pan and the long cut edges of the strips face up. Repeat with the remaining dough, onions, and cheese mixture, lightly pressing the strips into each other. It will be a tight fit.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise 30 minutes. Brush the top of the loaf with the remaining 1 Tbs. melted butter.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the plastic and transfer to the oven. Bake until the top is golden and the interior temperature is 190ºF, about 40 minutes, tenting the top of the bread loosely with foil if it begins to brown too quickly. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes, then turn loaf out onto the rack to cool 20 minutes longer before serving. Serve warm. Makes one 9-inch by 5-inch loaf.