This beautiful leaf-shaped pull-apart bread is traditionally made with olives and thyme, but more recent variations on the toppings include lardons, tomato, saucisson (cured meats such as chorizo), or a mixture of ingredients like ours. The bread is crusty on the outside and moist and dense inside – and infused with the rich flavours of the toppings. It’s best eaten the day of making.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 (200 g) chorizo, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 tsp (1½ x 7g sachets) dried yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 500 g plain flour (see Note)
- 150 ml lukewarm milk
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 100 g black olives
- 4 thyme sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 2 hours
Heat 1 tsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl. Heat remaining 3 tsp oil in the same pan and cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes or until starting to change colour. Toss with chorizo. Set aside.
Dissolve yeast in 200 ml lukewarm water in a bowl. Stir in sugar and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
Place flour and 3 tsp salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture and enough of the milk to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, knead in an electric mixer fitter with a dough hook. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
Turn dough out onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Using your hands, gently shape dough into a rough triangular shape, about 2 cm thick.
Using a plastic spatula, make a shallow indentation lengthwise through the centre of the triangle stopping 8 cm from the base. Make 3 short diagonal slits on either side of the indentation to make a leaf-like pattern, making sure you cut right through to the work surface, but not through the outer edge of the triangle. Make 1 short slit at the point of the triangle, again cutting through to the work surface.
Pull the slits apart with your fingers and ensure they are pulled far enough apart so they won’t close up during the second prove. Make a few more shallow slits at random intervals in the dough and insert a little of the chorizo and onion mixture. Top the dough with the remaining chorizo and onion mixture and scatter with tomatoes, olives and thyme, lightly pressing ingredients to secure.
Loosely cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until slightly risen.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Bake fougasse for 30 minutes or until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers.
• For the best results, use a plain flour with a protein content of about 11 per cent. '00' pasta flour from delis and supermarkets or type 55 flour, from delis, can also be used. The protein content of bread flour is too high for this recipe.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 16, pg52.
Photography by Derek Swalwell