Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chorizo and Thyme Fougasse

I have a tiny bit of chorizo in the freezer and saw this on the cooking channel so decided I needed to give it a try.  It is a super simple bread recipe of just flour, salt, yeast and water.  You can decide what herbs you would like to add or any meat.  You could use pepperoni also.  

 3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 to 1 1/4 cups
Leaves of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup chorizo sausage, very finely chopped
Vegetable oil, for oiling
3 tbsp milk, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Dust a large baking sheet with flour.

Put the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and mix together to combine; 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, then add more water. As you knead it, the dough will become less sticky, so if you can add all the1 1/4 cups your loaf will be much lighter.

Knead the dough 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 (1 hour).

Remove the plastic wrap, brush the dough with milk and place in the oven.  Throw a couple of handfuls of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven on lower shelf before closing. This will keep a crust from forming too quickly on the bread, which would prevent the bread from rising nicely.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread has risen and is a beautiful golden brown.  You nose almost tells you when it is done. 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 with lots butter.

Enjoy your day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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