How To Give Your Pull-Apart Bread A Savory French Onion Treatment

Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's French Onion Pull-Apart Bread recipe is a must-have appetizer for your next gathering or party. This savory pull-apart bread combines gooey, melted Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese with melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions to produce a French onion soup effect minus the soup. A pull-apart bread is a great choice for this appetizer as opposed to an actual soup or dip because of how unique it is.

"When I entertain, I love to put out a wide variety of appetizers, and this French onion pull-apart bread usually steals the show," says Hahn. "It makes a beautiful presentation, and when you pull it out of the oven, it always gets [praise]."

The base of this recipe is perfectly caramelized onions. Hahn explains that this step "takes patience" if you want to get the best results. Caramelizing onions is a technique that involves slowly cooking onions down in a pan. As the onions cook they release their natural sugars and develop a rich, brown color. Hahn estimates that caramelizing onions takes about an hour for this recipe, but depending on your stovetop it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. Keep an eye on the onions as you cook them, look for a deep golden brown color and mushy texture.  When caramelizing onions use a cast iron or stainless steel pan, these can withstand prolonged heat and evenly distribute it.

Assembling the pull-apart bread

In her recipe, Hahn explains you can use either a ciabatta or sourdough loaf depending on the occasion. 

"If you are serving a large crowd, pick a substantial loaf like a large ciabatta. If you [are having] a smaller gathering, a small, round sourdough works nice," Hahn shares. The magic of pull-apart bread is in the cross-diagonal cuts that create the perfect pattern to pull sections of the bread out. To get this desired effect Hahn uses a serrated blade. A serrated knife will have a row of sharp teeth on its edge instead of a continuous sharp edge. This prevents you from crushing the bread and offers more control of the cut. For more precise, sharp, cuts you might consider investing in a double-serrated knife. This doubles the amount of sawing power your knife has and helps keep your bread intact for stuffing.

As you stuff your bread, try to be intentional about how it's filled. Make sure you evenly and thoroughly distribute the onion and butter mixture. Double-check that each crevice has an ample amount of cheese. The stuffing gives the pull-apart bread its flavor, so now is the time to be generous with your filling. You may have to back in a few times to ensure you use all the filling but the end result will be worth it. In the end, you'll have a savory French onion taste in every single piece of your pull-apart bread.