Jewish Bread Recipes
Parisian Pletzel or Zemmel Recipe
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Parisian Pletzel or Zemmel - pareve

This Parisian version of a Bialystoker tsibele (onion) pletzel, also called onion zemmel, onion pampalik, or onion board, is very similar to an Italian focaccia. Try this flat bread sprinkled with rosemary, and you will see how very close it is.

1 cup lukewarm water
1 scant tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 scant tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Kosher salt

Mix the water with the yeast in a large glass bowl. Add 4 cups of the flour, the eggs, 1/4 cup of the oil, the sugar, and the salt to the yeast mixture. Stir well, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Let the dough rise, covered with a towel, for 1 hour in a greased bowl. You can also leave the dough in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease 2 cookie sheets.

Divide the dough into 8 balls and roll or flatten them into rounds about 5 inches in diameter. Place 4 pletzel on each cookie sheet and gently press down the centers. Brush with water and sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons diced onions leaving a 1/2-inch border. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over the onions and sprinkle with the poppy seeds and some kosher salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Bake the pletzels for 20 minutes, switching from top to middle rack after 10 minutes, or do them in 2 shifts on the middle rack. Then stick them under the broiler for 1 minute, keeping a sharp eye on them, to brown the onions. If you don't have a broiler, raise the heat to 550 and put each sheet on the top rack for 2 minutes or so.

Makes 8.

Source: "The Jewish Holiday Baker" by Joan Nathan

 

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