Chorizo and Thyme Fougasse

Chorizo and thyme make a powerful flavor combination. Buy the big, thick chorizo sausage (either ready-to-eat or to be cooked), rather than slices, and cut into chunky pieces. A vegetarian in the house? Substitute the chorizo for a couple of handfuls of sundried tomatoes and sprinkle the top of the bread with some Parmesan cheese.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 35 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups/1 lb 2oz/500g white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups/9 to 11fl oz/250 to 300ml water
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Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Dust a large baking sheet with flour.

Put the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and mix together to combine. Make a large hole in the center of the flour mix, then pour in the water, just enough to make a dough that is loose and easy to knead, but not too sticky. If it feels tight like Blu-tack (poster-tack) then add more water. As you knead it, the dough will become less sticky, so if you can add all the1 1/4 cups/11fl oz/300ml your loaf will be much lighter with a lovely open texture.

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

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 and transfer to the flour-dusted baking sheet. 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.

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

Remove the plastic wrap, then brush the dough with milk and place in the oven.

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 pan with water in the bottom of the oven instead.

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

It is tough to top the taste of warm bread straight from the oven, slathered in oodles of good butter.

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  • on January 24, 2013

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    i followedthe recipe and it worked, but i think it needed a little bit of sugar to slightly sweetnen the bread. it worked well. i was gone by 1 day.

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  • on September 03, 2012

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    I read the other reviews before I made this and they were a big help. I used the gram measurement for the flour and ended up needing about 1-1/2 cups of water, but it may be different every time you make it, you have to go by feel. I also bloomed my yeast in the water with a dash of honey ahead of time so that they were already active when they went into the flour. I needed about an hour for the full double rise. This bread is delicious and salty from the chorizo! I will defiantly be making they again.

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  • on September 01, 2012

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    Some tips:
    *Use spring water: baking is chemistry. Tap water often has lots of additives and some heavy metals that negatively affect the end result of your dough.
    *Let your flour bloom: sometimes with bread dough it helps to mix the recommended flour with the recommended water (minus a couple of tablespoons to proof your yeast later a few hours or the day before you add any other ingredients. The flour needs to “wake-up.”*Have extra flour and water ready: ambient humidity and temperature play a big role in dough making. Be ready to adjust water/flour a little depending on your geographic location and local weather. Pay close attention to the texture tests in bread dough recipes. These will help you determine if your dough needs a little more water or flour. *This chick is a pro: Ms. Pascale knows what she is talking about. She makes it look easy because she has had practice. Take your time, take it easy, and give yourself the courtesy of a do-over.

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