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
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.
Source: "The Jewish Holiday Baker" by Joan Nathan