Chorizo and Thyme Fougasse

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time35 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
500g strong, white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
250–300ml water
Leaves of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
50g ready-to-eat chorizo sausage, very finely chopped
Vegetable oil
3 tbsp milk, for brushing

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 6 and dust a large baking tray with flour.

2. Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together to combine.

3. Make a large hole in the centre of the flour mix, then pour in the water, just enough to make a dough which is loose and easy to knead, but not too sticky. If it feels tight like Blu-Tack then add more water. As you knead it, the dough will become less sticky, so if you can add all the 300ml (11fl oz) your loaf will be much lighter with a lovely open texture.

4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured work surface or for 5 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the thyme and knead for a further 30 seconds, or until it is well combined.

5. Put half the chorizo in the middle of the dough and then fold the edge around it to cover and knead it for an extra minute.

6. On a floured surface, shape the fougasse into a ball making sure the top of the ball is taught and smooth. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a rough oval shape.

7. Using a very sharp knife, or razor blade, carefully cut slashes in the loaf to look like a fern leaf, then with floured hands open up the slashes wide, as they will close up a lot when the bread is left to double in size.

8. Push the remaining chorizo into the top of the dough, then cover the dough loosely with oiled clingfilm (you may need several pieces). Leave to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

9. Remove the clingfilm, brush the dough with milk and place in the oven.

10. Throw a couple of handfuls of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven or spray the oven with water before closing. This will keep a crust from forming too quickly on the bread, which would prevent the bread from rising nicely. Alternatively, put a roasting tin with water in the bottom of the oven instead.

11. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the bread is well risen, a beautiful golden brown and smells wonderfully cooked. It will come off the tray once fully cooked.

12. Once cooled, slather the bread with good butter.

Recipe courtesy of Lorraine Pascale, Baking Made Easy HarperCollins, 2012 (£20) Photography courtesy of Myles New

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