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May 11, 2009 12:40 PM

Seeking onion roll topping

I am looking for a source for the type of browned onion bits you see on the tops of storebought onion rolls and bagels, but I don't know what the correct name is. Does anyone know what it's called and where to order it?

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  1. It would either be dried onion or perhaps even raw onions sprinkled on top of the bread before baking. You would want to brush some kind of "adhesive" on top before sprinkling, like an egg wash.

    Something like this:

    1. gg: Do you have some de-hydrated onion lurking in your pantry? Toast them in a dry pan and watch them carefully. When they're golden, let them cool a little and re-hydrate them w/ a little water. You're good to go. adam

      1. Check out the King Arthur Flour web site. They offer all kinds of toppings for rolls and breads. Eventhough I didn't buy my poppyseed there, they told me how to use it to top
        bialys. Thought that good PR!

        1. Thanks for the input, but so far, no cigar. SQHD and adamshoe, it's not as simple as dehydrated onion because this stuff is also INSIDE the onion rye bread sold in the NYC area, where I used to live, and it's also on the inside of what in the Boston area is called a Miami onion roll. It's deep brown, almost black, and I suspect fried or baked with oil. Before I posted, I'd already checked the King Arthur site. They have mixed toppings but no onion.

          12 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            This may sound dumb, but why not carmelize onions until they get quite dark, and use those?

            1. re: MMRuth

              They'd be too wet. But, then you could slowly dry them out in a low oven. Oy vay; so much tsuris for onions. Where do the bagel bakers of NYC get them? You could probably mince some onions, spread them on a sheet pan w/ a little sugar and olive oil (or Schmalz...mmm....) and bake till dessicated and crispy. Again, lots of tsuris. adam

            2. re: greygarious

              Just curious, but if you're looking for onion on the INSIDE of onion rye bread, why in the world would you describe what you're looking for as being "on the tops of storebought onion rolls and bagels"?

              1. re: SQHD

                Because in some places, like here in the Boston area, there's no such thing as rye bread with swirls of onion inside. Since it's the same onion as is more commonly seen as a topping, I made that reference. (I've tried using dehydrated onion, which is pale in color, in bread-baking and it is not the same thing at all). If I say onion roll, people know what I mean.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I know exactly what you mean. I always thought the onion bits [for lack of a better word] were caramelized onions that had then been dehydrated. This would account for the dark color and slightly sticky qualities. I suspect that with effort and time, you could recreate these at home, but there might be a fair amount of testing required.

                  If you know a local bakery that sells something with these dark, onion bits that you like, maybe they would sell you a quantity appropriate for home baking?

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Fair enough. Have you tried simply toasting or frying the onion flakes like you mentioned above?

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Since others are throwing out ideas, here's another I've been musing on since first reading your post - slowly caramelize until reaching the right color and then laying them out in a single layer and nuking them until they've reached the right balance of wet/dry. I've used the microwave for drying other vegetables to powder so it might work.

                      1. re: alwayscooking

                        Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm sure that there's a way to achieve something similar if one is willing to fuss with all the mincing, stirring, and eyeballing, but am equally certain that the local and commercial bakeries buy this stuff ready-made. I'll have to contact Green-Freedman, Barowsky, or some other company to ask what the onions are called and if it's possible to purchase in small amounts. I think they'd be good mixed in with various side dishes, deviled eggs, popcorn, omelettes....

                        1. re: greygarious

                          oh yea to all of those: onion crack

                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              I tried both - not even close. I recently spoke to a bagel baker at a farmers' market and asked about the browned onions. He said they make them from scratch, long sauteeing of finely chopped onion.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                Wow. I loved onion bagels before (close tie with poppy seed) and I'll now have new respect for proper bagel makers. :)

                                Miami Onion Rolls are to die for.