Recipe: Crusty Cider & Onion Loaf

Crusty Cider & Onion Loaf

This is a sponsored post

Breadmaking is one of life’s simple pleasures that I don’t get around to nearly often enough.  The process is a brilliant combination of art and science – art in deciding on flavourings, toppings, loaf shape, and the skill of kneading and shaping.  But the science-y bit really brings out my inner geek…. yeast activation, gluten development, proving times and temperatures. 

Thermapen Bread BakingMy bread adventures have been totally transformed recently by the arrival of one of the slickest and niftiest gadgets in my kitchen, my SuperFast Thermapen thermometer, (yes, mine is a fabulous pink, but they do make lots of other colours if pink is not your thing!!).

At first I used my Thermapen for all the obvious things you might need a kitchen thermometer for – finding the setting point of jam, tempering chocolate, checking pies and pastries were cooked through or frozen food had fully defrosted.  But then I had a revelation when I realised this could solve all my baking woes too.

DSC_0138I’ve had more than my fair share of breadmaking disasters – usually in one of two categories: either the bread that never rises, despite hours and hours and hours of proving, or bread so undercooked it is still dense and doughy in the middle, and there’s no way of knowing until you slice it and its too late.

All that has now changed.  I use my Thermapen at two very crucial points in the process:

  1. Checking the temperature of the water/liquid when first adding it to the dough – it must be warm enough to bring the yeast to life, but if it is too warm it will kill the yeast.  The ‘safe’ range is 41°C – 46°C – that’s really very specific, and if you guess wrong without a thermometer, your beloved bread might well end up ruined before you’ve started.
  2. DSC_0147Deciding when to remove bread from the oven – another crucial moment as a minute too long can leave it dry and overcooked, and a minute too soon leaves it claggy and doughy.  The solution? Stick in your Thermapen, and check the temperature right in the middle of the loaf.  The probe is long and super-sharp so there’s no danger of ruining your beautiful crust, but the moment the middle of the loaf reaches 88°C – 93°C it is ready and can come out of the oven.

A super-accurate thermometer like this really has revolutionised my baking – it takes all the guesswork out of the science-y bits of breadmaking, and hasn’t let me down yet.  I also now use it to check cakes are cooked through – so much more accurate (and less destructive) than sticking in a knife, not a soggy bottom in sight!

Your Thermapen comes with a really handy little laminated ‘cheat sheet’ booklet of ideal temperatures for all sorts of baking, thawing, roasting, boiling, preserving, confectionery, sugar syrup and chocolate temperatures – I keep mine tucked in the cupboard next to the hob so it is always near to hand when I need it.

For your chance to win a SuperFast Thermapen Digital Kitchen Thermometer (RRP £50.00), see the giveaway at the end of this post.  Good luck!

Crusty Cider & Onion Loaf

Here’s my recipe for this beautifully crusty Cider & Onion Loaf.  The scrumpy cider gives a lovely tang to the flavour, almost a sourdough-like taste, and the pre-cooked onions add a lovely sweetness – you can chop them very finely so they disappear into the dough like I did, or leave them a bit chunkier if you prefer to have some oniony chunks in the crumb.

I boiled off some of the alcohol from the cider, as I was worried about the alcohol killing the yeast, but I’ve since found some bread recipes using ales and ciders straight from the bottle, so might give that a try sometime too.

4.62 from 26 votes
Crusty Cider & Onion Loaf
Crusty Cider & Onion Loaf
Prep Time
1 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
2 hr 15 mins
Course: Bread
Servings: 1 loaf
Author: Kate Ford | The Veg Space
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250 ml dry cider
  • 300 g strong white flour
  • 200 g wholemeal flour
  • 7 g sachet instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 40 ml olive oil
  1. Gently fry the onion in a little cooking spray or oil for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the cider to the pan and bubble for 2 minutes to reduce some of the alcohol. Tip the onions and cider into a measuring jug, and top up to 350ml with cold water. Set aside to cool until the mixture reaches 41°C - 46°C.
  2. Meanwhile, tip the flours, salt and sugar into a large bowl. mix together to combine, then add the yeast. When the cider mixture has cooled sufficiently, add this to the bowl and bring together into a dough. Remove to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Return to the bowl, cover loosely with oiled cling film, and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Tip back onto the floured surface, knead for a further 2 minutes, then shape into a loaf or rolls as required. Cover with the oiled cling film once again, and leave in a warm place to rise. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 420°F / Gas Mark 8.
  5. After 30-45 minutes the loaf or rolls should have doubled in size once again. Sprinkle the top with flour, then slash a few times with a very sharp knife.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature of the oven to 170°c / 340°F / Gas Mark 5 and bake for a further 30 minutes. Test the middle of the loaf with your thermometer, and if it has reached 88°C - 93°C remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. If not, return to the oven and test at 5 minute intervals until ready.

Scrumpy Cider & Onion SoupIf you’re looking for something to serve with this bread, you couldn’t get much better than my Scrumpy Cider & Onion Soup!  Or try some of these cider-based recipes from blogging friends:


I have one of these fabulous Thermapen thermometers to give away to a lucky reader (in your choice of colour!), just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  UK entries only please.

Tower Pina Rafflecopter giveaway

Thermapen Kitchen ThermometerTerms & Conditions:

  • There is 1 prize of a Thermapen digital kitchen thermometer.
  • The winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter widget after the prize has been claimed.
  • The prize will be delivered to the winner by Thermapen as soon as possible.
  • There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable.
  • This giveaway is open to UK entrants, (please see delivery resrtictions above), over the age of 18 only and runs until midnight on 28th February 2016.
  • The Veg Space, as the promoter, reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice. 
  • If the winner doesn’t respond to the email within 5 days, another winner will be picked.

Enter more competitions at The Prize Finder

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Thermapen, who commissioned the recipe and are providing the Giveaway prize.


  1. Oh my! How useful! I had a loaf yesterday which I left just a teeny bit too long at that crucial moment!
    Chris @thinlyspread recently posted…Vegan Nutella PalmiersMy Profile

  2. Especially useful for jam and sweet making

  3. A cider loaf? Wow, that sounds so good Kate. Your method of temparute testing for the cooked loaf sounds super useful. I have a red thermapen, which I love the look of, but never figured out how to calibrate it properly 🙁
    Choclette recently posted…Triple Chocolate Cake – a Voluptuous Valentine SpecialMy Profile

  4. For when I roast a joint of meat to make sure it’s cooked enough in the middle 🙂

  5. when I,m cooking meat joints to make sure fully cooked

  6. When I’m making caramel, I always have trouble with it

  7. For my Sunday roasts! Thank you!

  8. Leave a comment telling me what you would use your kitchen thermometer for. . . . . . . To check my roasts are correctly cooked

  9. I would use for checking chicken and meats cooked properly

  10. My bread making is appalling, so would definately give the above a go, using the thermometer, as I am convinced my super cold stone house has something to do with my inability to make bread rise properly

  11. I would use it to make sure meat is properly cooked.

  12. When cooking meat joints.

  13. Cool prize x

  14. I’m never confident about fruit cakes being properly cooked so that would be my first use.
    Heather Haigh recently posted…7 days, 7 dinners – Winter WarmersMy Profile

  15. chicken and roasts

  16. I would use it for jams and making fudge and also cakes

  17. to check that my roasts are safely and nicely cooked

  18. Blackberry jam

  19. For roast dinners!

  20. I would definetely use it for bread making. I am trying and can make a loaf but its not how i want it to be. I think being more accurate with the water cold help a lot and often its a little under done when I had thought it was ready. This is a really clever gadget to have to hand!

  21. to check our roast dinners

  22. Cooking meats like whole chicken

  23. I would use it for my Cottage pies.

  24. Definitely for meat

  25. To check to see if my chicken is cooked x

  26. As a vegetarian who now has to cook meat for an elderly relative, I would use it to make sure I am cooking the meat to a safe and proper temperature.
    Love that bread!
    Deborah ShireGardener recently posted…Google Is Not Playing CricketMy Profile

  27. Useful for cooking a roast dinner xx

  28. I’d use it to make jam.

  29. Everything – its a kitchen gadget I have always lusted after – thanks for the chance

  30. That’s one gorgeous looking loaf Kate. Thanks for linking to me. I really must start breadmaking again.
    Jacqueline Meldrum recently posted…Quick Vegan Lunchtime Green Soup for OneMy Profile

  31. I would use it when cooking the sunday roast beef or chicken

  32. Anthony Harrington

    I would use it in baking, I may actually have a go a bread one day!

  33. Tablet making (I use guess work and sometimes it is great other times just a gooey sugary mess)

  34. Melting chocolate. I always always mess up with that one.

  35. temper chocolate for the first time!

  36. great for knowing when meats cooked

  37. I’d use if for checking on the turkey

  38. I am a hopeless cook but my partner ( who does 97% of the cooking) said he needed one. So this would be a lovely surprise for him!

  39. Ensuring the meat is properly cooked

  40. Great Prize. Now I don’t have to get food poisoning

  41. That bread loaf sounds so comforting and delicious! And the Thermapen you have mentioned looks like handy addition to any kitchen. I actually think I absolutely need to get one of those now… in red or blue 😉
    Margot recently posted…Classic Strawberry Daiquiri Recipe for the Valentine’s DayMy Profile


  43. I would use it on my chicken when we have sunday dinner x

  44. This is a kitchen must have, mine went for a swim in the sink and now doesn’t work so this is ideal!
    I use for checking meat is safe, and when making candy.

  45. I’d use it for cooking delicious beef joints!

  46. I will use it for all my meat and chickhen x

  47. To cook the perfect roast chicken as it would be so useful!

  48. So I can perfect my roast beef

  49. for my sunday dinners

  50. when cooking a roast

  51. When cooking a roast etc.

  52. Oooo everything. I’d use it for making blackberry jam using the blackberries out of the garden, I’d make toffee and fudge and whatever else I could find to use it for.

  53. for cooking meat, especially chicken whichis a dangerous kind of meat if not cooked thoroughly…and only a thermometer can help you with this!

  54. Would use it for my jam making

  55. Always fancied making jam

  56. Nikki Hunter-Pike

    My husband doesn’t trust the prick with a fork and check juices run clear test for chicken – so i’d use it to prove the bird has been cooked!

  57. to check temperature of my jot of meat

  58. I’ve just bought a slow cooker so I’d use it to check meat is cooked thoroughly

  59. For making caramel!

  60. for Jam making

  61. Unquestionably on meat! I have gotten it wrong a few times before and paid the price.

  62. Would be ideal to use in my candy making

  63. Cooking roast meat to make sure I’m not poisoning the family!!

  64. i;d use this mostly for checking my meat

  65. When I am cooking joint of meat and even when I baking bread or cakes it would come in very handy too 🙂

  66. I have used a cheapo temperature probe purchased on the internet. You soon realize that they are not as well calibrated as they should be. Test it in boiling water – you’ll see what I mean. Would love to own a Thermapen Digital Kitchen Thermometer, but as a pensioner, cannot justify the initial investment. Would be happy to write an honest review if selected.

  67. We would use it to make sure stuff was hot all the way through

  68. For my big joint of beef

  69. For when I make pork – I always overcook it!

  70. I’ll use mine for sourdough bread getting the temperature right is right at each stage is one of the key requirements for a perfect loaf.

  71. having a go at cooking my first roast dinner

  72. Great idea to use it for bread, never thought about doing that before, but it makes perfect sense. I’d use the pen for this and the jam that I’d make to go with a lovely crusty loaf!

  73. I might give jam making a go!

  74. I’ve never really made my own bread, but you’ve made it look so easy. This looks like it was made in a bakery!

  75. making homemade jam

  76. cooking a sunday roast

  77. id use it to check my roast meat is cooked and up to temperature and when im baking a cake

  78. I would use it to make sure my roast meat was cooked

  79. To check on the Sunday roast

  80. For a Beef Joint that i never get right.

  81. I’d like to try making Jam, this would come in very handy.

  82. Great for honeycomb

  83. When checking on Roasts and for my Jam making, Especially handy for jam making x

  84. I’d use it for making jams and preserves, and really anything else where temperature is essential.

  85. I’d use it for soup

  86. when making jams and preserves

  87. Caramel Shortcake 🙂

  88. I’d use it for meat

  89. I’d like to try jam making so would be perfect for that

  90. This would be great for making jams, bread and toffee.

  91. Tempering chocolate. I adore working with chocolate!

  92. I have tried making fudge but failed as I have had to guess the temperature so if I win the thermapen it will hopefully mean my next attempt will be successful!

  93. I’d use it on a chicken stew.

  94. I’d use it for doing a roast.

  95. For checking joints of meat, chicken etc x

  96. Carolynn Woodland

    Mainly for checking my food is hot in the middle and properly cooked

  97. for all my roast meats

  98. To make sure my joints of meat are cooked

  99. This loaf looks so good – I would never have thought of using cider in bread! To be honest, my oven is pretty useless (we have to cook everything on 220C or we’d get nowhere) so I’d happily use it for any kind of baking.
    Natalie Tamara recently posted…Easy Vegan Mint Chocolate MousseMy Profile

  100. Hot chocolate 🙂

  101. cooking meats

  102. I’d use it to learn how to temper chocolate for some fancy-ish desserts!

  103. I wouldn’t ( don’t cook, won’t cook) this would be going to my sons house

  104. to check the roast x

  105. I’d like to use it to make caramel. I know you have to get it to a very specific temperature!

  106. Mainly for meat, especially chicken.

  107. Checking meat joints as I always worry they not cooked enough

  108. For checking meat is cooked through – joints, burgers etc.

  109. Roast dinners

  110. when we are cooking meat on bbq we always have lots of people round in summer

  111. For making sure meat is up to the right temperature when cooking a roast

  112. Sophie Marie Cartwright

    Would have to be to check my meat is cooked through! Im such a paranoid cook – This would be marvellous!

  113. For roast chicken!

  114. For cooking the perfect roast

  115. When cooking meat joints.

  116. When cooking my family meals meat joints so I know there probably cooked

  117. Just a routine loaf which doesn’t go hard

  118. For making sure the meat is cooked for a sunday roast

  119. I make a lot of jam with homegrown blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries and gooseberries and this would be ideal for checking when setting point has been reached.

  120. I’d use it for cooking meat
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Mountfield: Mother and BabyMy Profile

  121. for roasting small joints as I tend to over cook them

  122. Danielle Cresswell

    Id use it for cooking whole chicken roasts and steak xx

  123. For checking chicken

  124. I would use it for cooking meat as I am not very good at telling whether it is done or not.

  125. beef wellington that the boyfriend has been promising since we met a year and a half ago!

  126. to make sure food is cooked to the right temperature.

  127. This would be very useful when cooking a roast dinner

  128. It would be really useful for jam and chutney making

  129. I would use it for checking joints of meat

  130. I’d use this all the time for when I’m cooking meat or fish so I can check it’s reached the right temperature. Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

  131. Rachel Butterworth

    Roast dinners.

  132. roast dinners

  133. I would use it when I roast meat x

  134. I would use it on meat products, even chicken I am always a little bit scared its not cooked all the way through.

  135. I’d use it to make honeycomb!

  136. When roasting meat and chicken

  137. I would use it to test liquids like stock and soups to make sure they’re hot enough

  138. I would use it to test my roast meat

  139. For making caramel and large roast dinners!

  140. I’d love to give homemade blancmange a go after seeing James Martin make one recently, never realised it took so much precision before!

  141. I’d check the Roast Turkey religiously, before our customary lavish Christmas Day meal, which we have many times a year 🙂

  142. For checking if cakes are ready. I’m useless at them


  144. cooking poultry and pork

  145. I would use if for my bread and beef wellington

  146. when making jam

  147. not really tried the whole bread making thing so would be perfect place to start using on that xx

  148. I would use it to make the perfect beef wellington

  149. I would use it for making candies! There’s such a delicate balance between perfect candy and something overdone. I also would probably use it for jams.

  150. Would be great at Christmas for testing the Turkey.

  151. I would use mine for baking mostly I think! I always have a hard time figuring out when things are cooked through, and this will help!!

  152. For cooking joints of meats x

  153. Great for cooking meat joints.

  154. Would certainly use it for meat joints as I constantly over cook meat through the fear of it not being cooked enough!! This would make everyone in my house happier!!

  155. I seem to have lost the knack of knowing when preserves are ready (the saucer test is failing me) and wasted a lot of food! So, preserves would be first on the list.

  156. For ensuring that poultry is safely cooked.

  157. It would be mainly used for meat joints

  158. I would use it for the setting point of jam and checking TEMPERATURE OF POULTRY

  159. When I cook joints of meat

  160. I would use the thermapen when making jams and chutneys. That setting point is just so important to getting a good result.

  161. as well as using it for roast joints, would use it when making fudge

  162. Primarily I’d use it for meats (and of course the annual Turkey!)

  163. For cooking roast turkey

  164. Tempering chocolate ! The cider and onion loaf looks amazing I might give that a try at some point 🙂 🙂 🙂

  165. Cake making and roasting joints

  166. So glad i found this blog! Delicious recipes

    1. Thanks Jonanna! x

  167. Hot chocolate

  168. I always worry that my roast chicken isn’t cooked, so I end up over cooking it – this would help enormously.

  169. Would love one of these – so useful

  170. I’d love to try home made sweets and this would remove the guesswork

  171. For Sunday roasts. I am a veggie so I am not good at cooking big lumps of meat! This would really help me out!

  172. I’d finally get round to making some Jam & use it then.

  173. everything!

  174. Testing temperature in the middle of loaf is an excellent tip. ☺️

  175. I’d use it to make sure the meat is cooked everywhere properly!

  176. I’m terrible at judging temperatures so this would be great!

  177. Roasts in particular, but also fancied making jams and marmalades so this ould come in very handy!

  178. I’d like to try tempering chocolate.

  179. I’d like to use it I experiment with new recipes for my veggie toddler.
    I think it will also be handy to take out with us to check the temperature of her milk.

  180. I would use it for making vegan sweets 🙂 .

  181. I would use it to make sweet chilli jam

  182. Definitely when roasting a joint of meat

  183. I’d probably use it on the sunday roast to make sure!

  184. When I am making fudge.

  185. to test i get the right temp for my fudge

  186. I would use it when cooking meat

  187. Been wanting one of these for an age now. I have tried making sweets, nougat and they have not worked due to not having a decent thermometer!
    Also to get that roast just right!

  188. Checking my Sunday roast

  189. Really want to start making my own sweets reckon winning thus would give me the push I need 🙂

  190. im always worried about undercooked meat so i would love to win one so i know when its cooked

  191. Jam, Joints of Meat and I really want to try making toffee and honeycomb so this would be ideal!

  192. I would use mine for making caramel and tempering chocolate 🙂 Though also for meat – I am terrible for overcooking it because I’d rather be safe than sorry

  193. Checking that food is cooked right the way through

  194. To check I have cooked chicken all the way through

  195. I would use it when cooking chicken or a roast pork – I always worry that it’s cooked through and probably cook it longer than necessary wasting energy. I’d also use it when making jam.

  196. checking meat temperatures on joints

  197. I would use it to ensure my roasts were perfectly cooked

  198. I would use for joints of meat.

  199. This would help me much improve my cooking, thanks for the chance x

  200. For turkey

  201. To make sure chicken and other roasts are safely cooked

  202. I’d use my Thermapen for checking when puddings, breads, etc are done.

  203. Chicken.

  204. I would use it to make jam and marmalade.

  205. For making cakes and breads as since my son turned vegan we do a lot more cooking

  206. I would love to use for when cooking meat as I always worry if it is under cooked , also cake making 🙂

  207. When roasting meat – especially poultry

  208. Joints of meat seeing as I have had a good few disasters over the years

  209. Steak, Chops, Roast Beef, Chicken.

  210. I would make sure my medium rare is perfect!

  211. Mainly for checking roasting joints of meat..

  212. when cooking meat, I am one of those that always gets paranoid my meat isn’t cooked right x

  213. For checking Turkey

  214. For cooking chicken as you have to make sure Its cooked right through

  215. Making sure the chicken is cooked inside as well as out.

  216. I would love to gift this to my mum to help her with making jams and chutneys xx

  217. I’d use it when cooking meat

  218. I’d use it for making cinder toffee and jams

  219. I would use it for cooking meat, I’m terrible at timing at my chicken always ends up raw or over cooked

  220. For my Sunday roast my children are a little bit funny if it’s a little rare

  221. Checking on roast dinners 🙂

  222. Gonna have to jam.. I have not managed as yet to make jam that is not like toffee….

  223. Cooking the perfect steak

  224. Making cakes and Roast Dinners

  225. When I’m cooking a roast for Tuesday Dinner 🙂

  226. for checking meat is cooked thoroughly

  227. Mostly for meat I think!

  228. Pam Francis Gregory

    This would be perfect when I’m making a loaf

  229. I’d use my for checking meat is cooked through… as a veggie in a meat eating household I worry that its not cooked through and am always slicing meat to check it befor serving… I would then use it for baking which I love to do!

  230. Checking when and when not to cut a cake 😀 Too hot and it collapses

  231. Lovely prize, so many things this would be useful for. Im a keen baker so this would be of great help

  232. I would use it to make sure meat is properly cooked.

  233. I’d use it to make sure my meat was properly cooked

  234. Would use it for making fudge on it’s debut.

  235. When I’m making caramel as I’ve never managed to get it right yet!

  236. for making fudge

  237. Cooking meats

  238. Fudge

  239. Cooking Sunday roasts and baking

  240. I would use it to make the perfect Sunday roast!

  241. I’d use it when I make honeycomb! It needs to be at an exact temperature so this would be great
    Alice Megan recently posted…Look in my letterbox #86 linkyMy Profile

  242. It would be perfect for making preserves and jams

  243. Yay I’ve always wanted one of these! It looks fab!

  244. christine nicholson

    When i’m cooking meat joints

  245. perfect for chicken

  246. I can never get my meats cooked to perfection, either overdone or the opposite

  247. I would use it to test my oven to see if its working properly, I suspect its not

  248. For joints of meat but also to try making jam

  249. These are useful for home brewing – that’s what I’d use mine for.

  250. I never can cook a roast right, so would be fab for this, but also be fab for to use and try and make some yummy homemade jams

  251. I am a dodgy cook and find my fruit cake can be soggy in the middle so would use it for baking and for honeycomb

  252. for when i make a Shepard pie

  253. this would be amazing as i have OCD and tend to overcook to be on the safe side, my 3 kids hate burnt food

  254. To temper chocolate!

Comments are closed.