I have thought a lot about my father recently, as I had the good fortune to come upon a gift of old family photos generously given to me by my aunt Jean. Amongst the photos were some of my father, Abraham Mordecai 'Patty' Testa, during WWII when he was stationed in France with the US Army. I had heard a bit here and there of his army days, seen photos and met men who became his buddies during the war and lifelong friends afterward, but never had I seen pictures of him when he was in the thick of things in Europe. It was an uncanny revelation to see him so young and robust, away from home heroically putting himself in danger, forging bonds that can only come out of such a difficult time.
Although my father died when I was a little girl, I still have absolutely clear memories of him. He was a generous man who loved life, loved his family, loved simple pleasures. One such pleasure was freshly baked bread. I accompanied him countless times to the local bakery to get some of his favorites early in the morning, right when they were fresh, still warm from the oven. These Fragrant Onion Rolls, light yeast rolls filled with slivered onions, are reminiscent of the kind he and I would gobble down on the steps of the bakery, he with a steamy cup of black coffee and I with a chilled egg cream. We would laugh, talk about life, nourish ourselves. These rolls are now a favorite of my family. My husband and I enjoy them for lunch with a bit of cheese and fresh veggies, our kids prefer them as burger buns. Immensely versatile, these rolls will be a family favorite for this generation and others that will follow.
I hope you are enjoying summer, creating loving family memories.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
FRAGRANT ONION ROLLS
Yield: 10 Rolls
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
- 1 ¾ cups bread flour
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 2 t. rapid yeast
- ½ cups dried onion flakes
- 1 large bowl (for rising phase, if using)
- Oil for bowl
- 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- If you are making the dough with a bread machine, place all the ingredients (except the onion flakes) in the bowl of the machine according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Set on the ‘dough’ cycle. Allow dough to complete its cycle.If you are making the dough by hand, sift all the dried ingredients (except the dried onion flakes) in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the water. Mix with a wooden spoon. Once the water is fully incorporated, turned the dough out on a lightly floured cutting board or other clean surface. Knead by hand 5 to 10 minutes.
- Lightly coat a large baking bowl with olive oil. Place the prepared dough in the bowl, turning it once so the dough is covered with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and set in a warm place. Allow to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
- Turn the dough out on a clean work surface or cutting board. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
- Flatten one ball with the palm of your hand. Cover with a about 1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes. Fold the dough on itself, creating a pocket to hold the dried onion flakes. Shape into a ball again. Place on the parchment lined baking sheets.
- Repeat with all ten balls. Set aside to allow the balls to double in size. This should take 35 to 45 minutes.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. (If you have a convection oven, set it to convection.)
- Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each roll with butter. Sprinkle each roll with remaining dried onion flakes.
- Place in oven and bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.