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Cheese and Onion Flatbreads

a good way to use up some odds & ends of  cheeses that get a little hard for eating plain; the grated cheese dissolves into the bread giving it a tender richness

makes a dozen or so rounds

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped, about 1 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups warm water
1 teaspoons yeast

3 ounces sharp cheddar or firm cheese of your choice, coarsely grated

700 grams flour
    either 5 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour or whole wheat flour
    700 grams hard white wheat

Mill together with the wheat or crush together in a mortar
        1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
        1/4 teaspoon celery seed
        1 tablespoon cumin seed
        1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

Semolina to sprinkle on baking sheets (optional)

Olive oil to brush or spray on top

Saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent and soft, but stop before it begins to brown.  Set aside to cool.  This is a lot of oil for the amount of onion, but it's not a lot for the amount of bread you make, so use the full amount.

By hand or mixer:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. 

Stir together the dry ingredients.  Mix in the water and yeast, and knead lightly for a few minutes.  Add the grated cheese and the onion/oil mixture and knead until smooth. 

By food processor:
With the metal blade NOT the dough blade, mix the flour, salt, spices, and yeast (instant yeast for this technique).  Add 2C cold water all at once (the processor will heat it up as it mixes), while processing, and continue all until the dough comes together in a ball.  Stop and let the flour hydrate for 10-15 minutes. 

Add the grated cheese,  and process about 30 seconds.  Add the onion/oil mixture and process again about 15 seconds.  The dough should be soft & bouncy; you may need to adjust with a little extra flour or water to finish the dough. 

Either way:
Let rise until double in bulk, punch down, and let rise once more.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the dough finishes the second rise.  Shape the dough into a dozen small rounds, and let them relax, a few minutes before rolling or stretching them out into 6 inch flat loaves.  Spray or brush with more olive oil.  Let rise on semolina-sprinkled baking sheets while the oven preheats to 425 degrees. 

Just before baking, press some dimples into the dough with your fingers or prick with a docker if you have one (this is to keep them flat and avoid pita-type pockets).  Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown and rich smelling. 

This is a very flexible recipe, and works fine with straight warm rises, or retarded in the refrigerator overnight at any stage. 

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