During the weekend I decided I wanted to bake some bread, but wanted something with a twist. Having a look through my cookbooks for inspiration I came across a Chorizo & Thyme Fougasse by Lorraine Pascale, in Baking Made Easy. This was one of my Christmas presents and has some great recipes included.
As it happened I had both some thyme and chorizo left from the previous weeks cooking, so it was a perfect match.
The recipe is fantastic if you want bread but with a bit of flavour, if you fancy some big chunks with warming soup. What with the weather being so horribly wet and cold, there really wasn’t anything better then throwing your big hoodie and trackie bums on and sitting to eat something that will warm your cockles. I have to admit that this sunday my husband, dog and I pretty much stayed in all day (bar walking the dog), in our comfiest clothes and barely moved from our sitting room and tv. It was the perfect sunday.
So the how to bit…
500g (1lb 2oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
250-300ml (9-11fl oz) water
leaves of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
50g (2oz) ready-to-eat chorizo sausage, very finely chopped
3 tbsp milk for brushing
First things first chop up your chorizo sausage finely and de-sprig the thyme and set both aside.
Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Make a large hole in the middle of the mix and pour the water in so that there is enough to make loose dough, but not so it becomes too sticky. I didn’t quite need 300ml of water. If the dough feels too hard then add a bit more water in. When you start kneading it the dough will become less sticky. It really depends on how light you want your bread. The more water you out in the more light the texture is.
Now the kneading commences. You need to knead your dough for at least 10 minutes by hand. Once time check is done you can add the thyme and continue kneading for a further 30 seconds.
Place half your chorizo cuttings into the middle of your dough and then wrap up the dough over it, as if you were turning over each of the corners. Knead for a further minute.
You can now take your dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface, making it into a lovely ball. Using a rolling pin or your hands roll it out to form an oval shape. With a sharp knife carve the bread into a fern leaf. those carded sections now need to be opened as wide as possible. In these cuts push down the remaining chorizo into the dough, the cover it loosely with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place to expand. It can take anything up to half an hour to an hour. Put your oven on at 200 degrees (fan 160.
Once expanded as much as you are please with brush the dough with milk and pop into the oven. An interesting tip Lorraine encourages you to do is place a couple of ice cube in the oven and spray with water is possible I used the ice and not gun. What the water does discourage is the top for cooking to quickly and become brown. If you have no ice cubes or spraying facilities, put baking tray filled with water at the bottom of the oven.
Bake for 30-35minutes, depending on the oven. It is always a good idea to have an eye on it. There is nothing more disheartening then burning your bread. On the other hand you have to ensure to leave it in long enough so that the middle is cooked through and not doughy.
The final product looks like this and the house will smell divine.
It is such an easy and yummy loaf of bread, people will be asking for seconds and thirds of it. So, throw on your comfy clothes and get baking.