This caramelised onion and sage fougasse, or 'stuffing bread' as it's more commonly know in our house, is amazing! The recipe is taken from John Whaite's cookbook, and was originally for caramelised onion and rosemary, but this works even better!
1 red onion
Butter for frying
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp caster sugar
500g white bread flour
7g fast action yeast
2tbp finely chopped sage leaves
350ml room temperature water
Wholemeal bread flour for dusting
Finely slice the onion and fry over a high heat in the butter. Once the butter is melted, turn down to a low-medium heat and cover the pan with a lid. Allow the onion to cook gently for 15 minutes, then stir in the vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes, this time with the lid off. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and chopped sage. Add the water in thirds and bring the dough into a sticky mass using your hand.
Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a well dusted worktop and knead for 10 minutes. Now add the cooled onions and knead for a further 5 minutes or so, until the onion is spread evenly throughout the dough. This bit can be a bit messy and it looks like the onion is just sitting on the surface, but it will mix in if you knead it for long enough. Place the dough in a clean, floured bowl, cover and leave to rise for an hour.
Dust a tray with flour and the worktop again too. Gently tip the risen dough out onto the worktop and cut the ball into quarters, so they resemble rounded triangles.
Take one portion of the dough and, using a sharp knife, cut a line in the middle from the tip of each triangle to the flat edge. You need to cut right through the depth of the dough, but not to each end, because you do not want to cut the dough in half: there needs to be 2cm of dough uncut at either end of the line. Then, on either side of that line, at a 45 degree angle, cut three smaller lines in the same way. Stretch the dough slightly so the holes open up. Hopefully the photo above should give you an idea of what it should look like. Repeat this with the other three pieces of dough. Place on the floured tray and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 230c and place your baking sheets in to heat up. Once they're hot, slide the breads from the tray onto the baking sheets in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then immediately remove the bread from the baking trays and place on a wire rack. Enjoy!