parmesan and onion knot loaf

Onion and Parmesan Knotted Loaf

parmesan and onion knot loaf

This should really be called the onion and parmesan 8 strand plait loaf but given our analytical brains couldn’t process Paul Hollywood’s instructions (no pictures) to make an 8 strand plait we kept on ending up with a messy knot. Giving up we shaped it some more and bunged it in a 2lb loaf tin.

Only as I shut the door of the oven did I click as to what the instructions were telling me. When it says, for example, 8 under 7 over 1 you must also go under 6,5,4,3 and 2. I didn’t and if you don’t you end up with a knot and lots of swearing.

8 strand plait bread instructions

I use onion flour from Claybrooke Mill which is a blend of strong white flour with dried onion flakes. It ‘s a fabulous flour to use along with their chilli flour that I used in the chilli and blue cheese cobs I made back in December.

Ignore the fact dried onion flakes look like toenail clippings; they work really well in bread. They give the flavour of onion to the bread without having to bite through hunks of onion pieces. It also sits with my belief that you are allowed short cuts in baking. Sometimes life’s too short to be faffing with an real hydrated onion.

The leftover bread made rather superb cheese on toast the following day.

Onion & Parmesan Knotted Loaf

  • 500g Onion flour mix (or 500g strong white flour and 30g dried onion flakes)
  • 10g salt
  • 5g fast action yeast
  • 25g grated parmesan (plus 1 tablespoon for coating)
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk, room temperature
  • 150ml warm water
  • olive oil (for oiling working surface)


  1. Put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. In a jug mix the milk and water together then pour in to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix together the ingredients until they are combined then turn out on to a oiled surface.
  4. Knead  for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and springy. Shape the dough in to a round.
  5. Put the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover in cling film then place in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size.
  6. Knock the dough back then allow to nearly double in size again.
  7. Turn the dough out and split in to eight peices. Roll each piece in to a long thin sausage shape.
  8. Follow the instructions here on how to plait it, or like me make a total hash of it.
  9. Place the plaited loaf a 2lb tin that is oiled and dusted with flour.
  10. Allow the loaf to rise uncovered until it has increased about 50% in size. When ready sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the loaf.
  11. Place a baking tray of boiling water at the bottom of your oven then place the bread tin on the shelf above.
  12. Bake at 240°c (or as hot as your oven goes) for 10 minutes then turn down the oven to 180°c and bake for a further 25-30 until the bread is baked. When ready the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base.
  13. Take the bread out of the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

cheese and onion knot loaf

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

14 thoughts on “Onion and Parmesan Knotted Loaf

  • Amy

    (March 25, 2013 - 8:12 am)

    That looks REALLY good! I also love the idea of flour with onion flakes already in it – whenever I’ve made onion favoured bread I’ve had to dice it, fry it and add it later. Like you said, it’s a lot of faff!

    And I know you said you figured it out now but I put photos of the planting process in this post:

    • Jules

      (March 25, 2013 - 8:45 am)

      The flavoured flours are really worth trying. Although I get my flavoured flours from a local mill I’ve noticed national brand Wright’s sell flavoured flours in most supermarkets. Yes you do end up paying a bit more per kg than conventional bread flour, but it is sometimes worth it.

      • Amy

        (March 25, 2013 - 12:31 pm)

        I’ve just realised I wrote “planting” process, not plaiting. Very sorry. Shouldn’t type on my phone when I’ve just woken up and have bleary eyes.

        • Jules

          (March 25, 2013 - 1:35 pm)

          Don’t worry I didn’t notice. Sign I should probably be wearing my glasses!

  • laura@howtocookgoodfood

    (March 25, 2013 - 10:43 am)

    I love a good cheese & onion loaf and I do like the sound of this flour with the onion already in it. I have never attempted an 8 plait loaf, 3 is my max so far. You look like you did a good job, although if you had to follow the instructions with no pictures, that is not ideal. I would also have improvised!

    • Jules

      (March 25, 2013 - 11:08 am)

      I’m determined to give the plaiting another go soon.


    (March 25, 2013 - 10:59 am)

    I KNOW I’d get in a real tangle with an 8 strand plait. I almost feel I could do it better if it was behind my head as I can plait my own hair but not anyone elses! It still looks lovely though. I didn’t even know onion flour existed. I can imagine what it tastes like though. Must get hold of some, although it might give George a shock when he toasts it and puts Nutella on it. Love the light you’ve captured on the loaf in your photos.

    • Jules

      (March 25, 2013 - 11:10 am)

      Thank you. I’m taking full advantage of the great light the snow produces. Claybrooke Mill sell at lots of local Farmer’s Markets along with Farm Shops. It’s worth looking out for Thier chilli flour has a powerful kick to it.

  • thelittleloaf

    (March 25, 2013 - 1:31 pm)

    Despite your mention of toenail clippings I still love the sound of those onion flakes!
    The plait sounds like a complete nightmare, did you get the recipe from How to Bake? I really want to try making one but imagine my first attempt may turn out a complete mess!

    • Jules

      (March 25, 2013 - 1:34 pm)

      My copy of How to Bake is in storage to had to rely on googled instructions. As you can see I wrote them out in an attempt to make more sense of them, but still failed.

  • Tom Franklin

    (March 25, 2013 - 3:53 pm)

    This looks great, nice touch with the onion flakes, another tip I’ve picked up today. Thanks for sharing, Jules

  • Dolly Bakes

    (March 27, 2013 - 10:24 pm)

    Craving… Argh!!!!!

  • Caroline Taylor (@AllThatImEating)

    (March 28, 2013 - 1:18 pm)

    Lol I don’t think they look too much like toenail clippings! Love the sound of this bread.

  • Charlotte @charlottekdiary

    (March 29, 2013 - 3:10 pm)

    This looks amazing Jules – I will be trying this very soon!

Say hello!