• Rosemary and Onion Buttermilk Sandwich Loaf

Rosemary and Onion Sandwich Loaf

I have a bit of an issue with bread. For all the calories I consume in the form of cake, I can’t help but feel bread is empty calories which leave me wracked with guilt over all that starch in the form of refined flour, salt and often added fat to soften the crumb and crust.

It makes me feel guilty just to type the constituents of a classic white loaf. However, despite the niggling suspicion that I should be chowing down on ancient grains like quinoa for the carbohydrate portion of my meal, there is a simple and pure pleasure in a home-baked loaf that you just can’t fulfil with any other carbohydrate.

To make me feel better about how much I enjoy a nice soft white sandwich loaf, I like to add a little somethin’, somethin’ to distract me from the perceived evils of white flour as well as reminding me, this is something a little bit special with nothing in common to the plasticised, processed sliced whites filling corner shops and supermarkets the developed world over.  Rosemary and slow cooked onions made their way into a white loaf made using buttermilk this time, down at the Apple Chapel.


This dough is made with buttermilk as the main liquid, along with a little water. It’s one of my favourite baking ingredients and both Hungry Hubby and I love freshly baked Irish soda bread very much but it stales quickly.

Using it in a more traditional loaf gives you tenderness of the crumb and a little bit of tang from this wonderful, acidic cultured milk product. A little bit of fat in the form of butter or oil really does soften the crumb down whilst cooking with steam produced by preheating the oven to very hot with a big ovenproof dish of water inside gives the perfect sandwich bread crust.

For some bread makers (if not eaters), it is all about the masticatory muscle challenge of sourdough but for me, yet again I am revealing my guilty soft core bread loving tendencies; I love a soft loaf very much when it comes to sandwiches for lunch or fluffy-middled toast for breakfast.

Beautifully moist and fluffy rosemary and onion bread, soft enough to make the most perfect sandwiches

I might be a little strange in liking my bread to be flavoured when it is eaten as a sandwich, whether it is open, closed, toasted or not. Recall my tomato oregano loaf which I adore toasted with Moroccan hummus or grilled and filled with Salt Beef and chilli cheese.

My rationale is that it is nice to make a feature out of the bread rather than it solely being the necessary conduit to get your bacon from butty to belly. Of course, I wouldn’t spread this with jam but it did make an excellent sausage sandwich with brown sauce for Sunday morning brunch.


I’m off to dream up my next loaf, as this one didn’t survive a full weekend with a Hungry Hubby who was delighted to have bread in the house again.  Once bitten by the bug, it’s hard not to bake your own bread all the time.  It’s a little bit odd I carry so much guilt over a white loaf by any other name when my cake tin is rarely, if ever empty… ;)

Rosemary & Onion Buttermilk Bread

With a thin crisp crust but the moistest and somehow fluffy middle, this loaf is perfect for making sandwiches with. 

: Side Dish
: English
Servings: 1 loaf
: 1861 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 400 g strong bread flour + 2 tbsp extra
  • 200 g buttermilk
  • 60-75 ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Fat pinch salt
  • 2 small onions very finely chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp butter
  1. Mix the 400g flour, salt, sugar and yeast (keep away from the salt as best you can) then pour in your buttermilk and the oil.

  2. Mixing with a spatula or in a stand mixer on slow speed, pour in enough of the water to make a soft not sticky dough.
  3. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth, elastic and springy.
  4. Pop in a greased bowl and leave to prove in a warm place. This dough rises very well so keep an eye on it. 

  5. In a small pan, melt the butter and oil together then add the onion, rosemary and bay leaves – cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat but don’t let the onions colour. Turn down the heat to low and cover, stirring every ten minutes or so until the onions are fully translucent and very soft. If there is a lot of liquid, take off the heat and cook on high for a minute until it has evaporated, stirring constantly to prevent them catching. Remove the bay leaves and leave to cool.

  6. When the dough has fully proved, deflate and add in your cooled onions with as much of the remaining flour as is needed to bring it back to a nice soft, not sticky dough. Try not to add more.
  7. Knead to incorporate the onions then form into a fat sausage and pop in a 2lb loaf tin. Spray with oil and cover with cling until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 250°C with a casserole with water on the lowest shelf – leave the door shut until you are ready to put your loaf in and it will get nice and steamy.
  9. Pop your proved loaf into the centre of the oven, taking care to stand well back so you don’t burn your face on all that steam. Immediately turn the heat down to 220°C and cook for 45-50 mins. Keep an eye on it and if it is browning too quickly or the onions are catching, cover with foil to complete the bake. You may want to invert the almost done loaf onto an oven gloved hand and tap the bottom to ensure it sounds hollow as it approaches the end of the bake – it should slip out easily in a nonstick tin.
  10. Cool on a rack when cooked.
Recipe Notes

If you like a softer crust, melt a tbsp of butter and brush over the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven, then wrap up in a clean tea towel until just cool enough to slice. 

Nutrition Facts
Rosemary & Onion Buttermilk Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1861 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 234mg 10%
Potassium 1058mg 30%
Total Carbohydrates 327g 109%
Dietary Fiber 15g 60%
Sugars 24g
Protein 59g 118%
Vitamin A 6.6%
Vitamin C 19.7%
Calcium 34.1%
Iron 22.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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By | 2018-02-19T16:01:32+00:00 October 26th, 2014|Categories: Bread, Home Baking|Tags: , , , , , , , , |13 Comments


  1. dogwuff 26/10/2014 at 18:06 - Reply

    Bread is the staff of life – and far healthier than cake!

    • Jo Blogs 26/10/2014 at 19:24 - Reply

      Now I never said it was healthier than bread Sue – it’s more if I am going to do something wrong, I will do it with cake. I know you love bread and eat tons of it, I don’t – it’s a small part of my diet and one I really enjoy but only in moderation.

  2. Maureen Irvine 26/10/2014 at 22:53 - Reply

    This sounds so good! Here in Belfast we are used to baking bread with buttermilk but not with yeast as well.

    • Jo Blogs 27/10/2014 at 07:16 - Reply

      Yes I did a quick search and saw almost no yeasted doughs using buttermilk, so saw an opportunity to create something unique ;)

  3. Natalie 27/10/2014 at 00:14 - Reply

    Have this on second rise now & very much looking forward to trying this loaf Jo. Love your blog, the pictures are stunning. Nat. xxx

    • Jo Blogs 27/10/2014 at 07:15 - Reply

      Wonderful! Crikey, you were quick lol. I hope you love it too :) and thank you for the lovely compliments x

      • Natalie 27/10/2014 at 08:00 - Reply

        Yes quick…it looks so good! I did change it up a bit to suit to what I had in the cupboards though..didnt have buttermilk so used yoghurt. Did need to add a bit more water because of the yoghurt but the crumb is still lovely & soft. I’m looking forward to my lunch tomorrow. :-)

        • Jo Blogs 27/10/2014 at 08:02 - Reply

          Ooo! So exciting – I was just telling Hungry Hubby a reader had alrrady made my new recipe and we believe this to be the fastest anyone has ever reported back post-publishing!

          • Natalie 27/10/2014 at 18:57

            Oooooo do I get a prize? ;-) Just had some toasted for breakfast. It’s not what I would usually have, I like my vogels or cereal, but this was worth breaking the habit for. Thank you & keep the recipe’s coming. xxx

          • Jo Blogs 27/10/2014 at 18:59

            Wonderful! Really pleased I tempted you away from the norm for breakfast ;). And the recipes ceryainly will keep coming :)

  4. frugalfeeding 27/10/2014 at 17:18 - Reply

    Excellent recipe – I can’t see the crumb, but if I could I’m sure it would be excellent. Bread is never second to cake, even a white loaf. Spread with butter there’s nothing better. Also, empty calories are the best… just need to exercise them away!

  5. Debbie Spivey 30/10/2014 at 13:25 - Reply

    This bread looks amazing!

    • Jo Blogs 30/10/2014 at 13:26 - Reply

      Thank you! It’s becoming a favourite at home :)

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