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Monday, January 17, 2011

On a Roll: 60-Minute Onion Rolls

Fresh onion rolls, no problem. These onion rolls are light, tender, and perfect for sandwiches.

Sliced bread is very nice, but sometimes it's more special to have sandwiches on a roll.  Here's a recipe for a dozen warm, delicious onion rolls that you can have ready by lunchtime.

There are several advantages to making your own onion rolls.  First, convenience.  Using basic ingredients, you can have these rolls any time.  If you don't live in the city, sourcing good onion rolls can be, well, difficult. Next, cost: I estimate the cost of a batch of these onion rolls at about $1.70 US total, or under $.15 each.  Finally, taste: there is nothing like a fresh, ever-so-slightly sweet onion roll to put around your ham and cheese.  They pack well, freeze well, and travel well.  Why not try them?

 This recipe, once again, uses Sourdough Starter to add depth and character to the flavor.  It does make a difference, because the starter is an aged dough with great mellowness and elasticity.  I encourage you to make a starter, so that your breads really have that "wow" factor! 

60-Minute Onion Rolls


1 medium onion, quartered and sliced 4mm thick
1 Tablespoon olive oil

roll dry ingredients:
2 3/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

roll wet ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 stick unsalted butter (2 oz)
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/3 cup Thick Sourdough Starter (optional but Highly Recommended)

1 teaspoon poppy seeds
olive oil to brush on
1 egg for egg wash

To make 12 onion rolls


  1. Ahead of time if possible:  Prepare the onions.
    Toss sliced onion with the olive oil, place in nonreactive pan and roast at 375F for 20-25 minutes.  The onion should be slightly dried, a bit brown on some edges.  Remove from oven and set aside.

  2. While the onion is cooking, make the dough:  In the electric mixer bowl with dough hook attached, combine dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Add the wet ingredients and mix for one minute to combine, and then for an additional 6 minutes on medium.  (You may add up to 1/4 cup more flour if necessary if the dough is too sticky). The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic, and should intermittently clear the sides of the bowl near the end of the cycle.

    Then mix in the poppy seeds and cooled onion mixture, until just combined.

  3. Allow to rise in warm spot for 20 minutes, until almost doubled.
  4. Form:  Divide the dough into 12 portions with a dough scraper or spatula.  Stretch each portion into a rope about 10" long.  Brush with olive oil lightly, then wind around your fingers, ending in a knot with the end sticking out the top.  Don't worry about getting this exactly right; after rising, all the rolls will look delicious!  Place 3" apart on two baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

  5. Allow to rise in warm (90F) spot for 20 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the egg with one teaspoon water, whisk together. Brush the risen rolls gently with this egg wash. Notice how the rolls are now much closer together.

  6. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until golden brown and done through.  Cool on rack.

  7. Split and serve!


  1. I love onions..thanks for sharing such a beautiful recipe.

  2. These look incredible!
    I'm going to try making them this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Thanks @Tanvi and @rollingpinsandneedles! I think you will like the rolls. Regards, Sue

  4. These look fantastic! Oh man a warm melty ham & cheese on one of these bad boys would be absolutely divine.

  5. these were delicious. made them for dinner. without the starter. making some starter tonight so i can make these rolls again. thanks! heidi

  6. Thanks @darcyeats and @heidi! Glad you liked the rolls, and yes you should make the starter. I'm working on a post right now about making a starter... will post later tonight I hope. --Sue

  7. beautiful, gorgeous photos, as always. x shayma

  8. I made these yesterday and they were wonderful! I think my husband has found a way to incorporate these into every meal.

  9. Thank you TwoBoys and shayma! TwoBoys, so glad you liked the rolls; it's nice to know how to make them, isn't it? You can change them up by adding sundried tomatoes or rosemary instead of/in addition to the onions... Regards, Sue

  10. Great roll...love that they are relatively quick and use up some starter! Make excellent sandwich/hamburger rolls. Thanks for sharing.


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