Caramelized Onion and Garlic Bread Rolls

DSC08246 Despite all my fights with the French language, I occasionally stumble upon the coolest words. Such as allécher : a verb meaning “to make one’s mouth water.” That’s right, there’s a verb for that.

There’s a lot of baking and cooking going on in my house at the moment. I’d love to call this a burst of inspiration but it’s more like last minute panic. Saturday I begin my first internship in the pastry kitchen of one of my favorite restaurants in Toulon. While my temporary boss was reading over the contract, I perused the menu to see what I might be working on – namely the dessert section – and had a moment of panic. What am I doing? This is sheer craziness. I’ve never even made a meringue (mostly because I don’t like them) and now I’m going to be making pineapple crèmes and choux pastries? Can’t I just make a chocolate chip cookie?

Like the United States, Saturday is often one of the busiest days for a restaurant. When I called my husband to tell him when I was starting he laughed and said “He’s not letting you off easy. Saturday will be an interesting day for you.”


So it’s into the lion’s den I go. And at a full tilt run. There will be no sneaking in around the back way for me.

I know that I promised you recipes such as carrot muffins and lamb stew and I have a recipe for chocolate and olive oil sablés on my mind too, but that’s being put on hold while I whisk egg whites and sugar in a frenzy.

On the other hand, these babies are lacking in all that makes the art of pastry what it is.


You were expecting meringues? Maybe next week.

Sprint2theTable happened to mention seed bagels with onions and garlic and the mere thought made my mouth water. Il alléche!. And the next thing I knew I was making bread.


Instead of big sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which annoy me in bread, I used my favorite multi-grain flour which has little seeds mixed into it. I use it in everything, including cakes and cookies. It gives a nice crunch and a dash of salty seed flavor.


Caramelized onions and a whole lot of garlic.


Fresh, homemade bread. Flour all over your kitchen, and consequently, all over your cats’ paws.


What’s not to love?


Brushing the tops of the rolls with olive oil also adds just a tiny extra savor, as well as ensuring a nice brown crust, sealing in some of the moisture.


I couldn’t wait to get these out of the oven. It was even harder to wait until my husband came home so that we could enjoy them together – I’m nice that way. The garlic and onions perfumed the house and made my stomach rumble though it was only 4:30 in the afternoon.

DSC08254When I finally tasted them it was with a bit of goat cheese and a 2005 Châteauneuf. The sharp tang of garlic, the sweet onions infused into the flour so that you could just taste the flavors in every bite. The goat cheese (Selles-sur-Cher, if you’re a cheese connoisseur) was an excellent addition with its slightly nutty creaminess.

Craving satisfied, mouth water mopped up. And the next day’s dinner planned: bread rolls, cheese, and wine.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Bread Rolls
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
Sweet, tangy bread rolls.
  • 1 ½ small yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup water, divided by tbsp
  • 340 g multi seed or multi grain flour*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 255 g lukewarm water (about 1 ¼ cup)
  • 1 package of yeast, about 12 grams
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  1. Begin with the onions. In a medium sized frying pan heat a little bit of oil. Just a little to get things going. Once hot add the onion and sautee until fragrant, about a minute. Lower heat and add the sugar and about a tablespoon of the water. Stir gently and let simmer for about 45 minutes until the onions are lightly brown, soft, and sweet. Add more water only if needed ie: the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. In a smaller bowl combine the water and the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast/water gets a little foamy. Meanwhile, mince your garlic. Add the garlic and onions to the flour and gently, gently stir just to get everything evenly mixed and coated. Add the water/yeast and olive oil. Mix with a flat wooden or plastic spoon until the dough comes together then, knead by hand for about 5 minutes or until the dough starts to toughen. Let sit for 10 minutes and then knead for one minute more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Preheat oven to 250°C/480°F. Place your baking sheet near the bottom of the oven.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, dump out your dough and gently separate and shape into even boules. I had 7, you could easily do more or less or just bake as a whole loaf.
  5. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Brush with olive oil. Just before putting the dough into the oven, throw a little bit of cool water on the bottom to create some steam. Yes it makes a mess, but it also sets a nice crust on to the bread. Careful of your face. Lower oven temperature to 220°C/425°F and bake 20 minutes.
*any type of bread flour will do if seeds are a no-no.

About Holly

I love food and wine.
Recipes , , , , , ,


  1. This looks incredible; I love caramelized onions; I just made a caramelized onion pizza for dinner last night. I can’t wait to give these rolls a try!

  2. Good luck! I’m sure you will be amazing and anything they give you. :)

    These look delicious! I’m irrationally terrified of working with yeast. Need to get past that. I also need to become French so I can have dinners of fresh bread, cheese, and wine. Those are the 3 main food groups, no?

    • Yeah, I think those three would just about cover it.

      Yeast is tricky. For some reason everything I made in the north never rose, but here I have no problem… same bowls, same yeast, same flour… it was weird.

  3. Sweet lord those look amazing. Great description too — I honestly feel like I can taste them. But I can’t because you are in France and I am here decidedly not cooking those because of my lack of skill and time. Perhaps I will need to make a stop at a bakery on the way home today….hmmm….

    • I love making bread for people so if I’m ever in the States again I’ll make you some. Though I agree time and some practice beforehand are a must.

      There’s nothing better than fresh bread for dinner!

Leave a Reply