I finally got over my bread making fear with this incredibly simple but delicious chorizo and thyme bread recipe from bake queen Lorraine Pascale. I had a ridiculous sense of achievement when this beautiful loaf came out of the oven!
Chunks of the warmed bread smothered in butter and dunked into my roasted tomato soup was delightful. Vegetarians can sub the chorizo for sundried tomatoes.
Chorizo and thyme bread
500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 sachet fast-action dried yeast
250–300ml/9–11fl oz water
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
50g/2oz cooked chorizo, chopped finely
1 tbsp vegetable oil, for greasing
3 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and dust a large baking tray with flour.
Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl until well combined. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and steadily pour in the water until the dough is loose and easy to knead, but not too sticky.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes 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. Put half the chorizo in the middle of the dough and then fold the edges around it to cover and knead it for a further minute.
Place the dough mixture on a dusted work surface. Shape it into a ball, making sure the top is nice and smooth. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a rough oval shape.
Cut slashes in the loaf to look like a fern leaf with a knife and then open the slashes apart with floured hands.
Push the remaining chorizo into the top of the dough, then cover loosely with oiled cling film (you may need a few pieces). Leave to rise in a warm place (propped on a chair in front of the pre-heated oven works well) until the dough has doubled in size, for about an hour.
Once risen, remove the clingfilm, brush the dough with milk and place in the hot oven. Place a tray of water on the bottom shelf in the oven before closing – this will prevent a crust from forming too quickly and helps to ensure a good rise. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the bread is well-risen and golden brown. It will come off the tray once fully cooked.