I was also inspired by the fact that one of my sisters recently did a French breadmaking course with a wonderful French baker who comes to your house so that you can be confident that you can actually replicate what you made in class in a real-world environment, aka your own kitchen. With the charming owner of Monkey Dough she made baguettes, sourdough and fougasse, so I’m keen to compare notes.
All the ingredients for this Provençal chorizo and onion bread are pretty basic and I had everything except the chorizo on hand. I decided to get the dough started and then fry the chorizo and onion while it was rising, which seemed like a time-efficient course of events (my favourite kind). I made my dough in an electric mixer, but I’m never quite convinced that that dough hook is doing a proper job, so finished it off with about 5-7 minutes of hand kneading.
After leaving it to rise for an hour, I carefully follow the instructions, and the photo, to shape the fougasse into the traditional leaf shape. The dough is fairly forgiving and I pull and push around to get it looking right. Then the toppings go on – the chorizo and onion mix, cherry tomatoes, black olives and thyme. It’s pretty much a capacity crowd and I actually have a few bits of chorizo left over as there just seems to be enough room to squeeze it on.
The recipe says to cook for 30 minutes, but I pushed it to 35 minutes as it wasn’t quite golden or sounding hollow when I checked it. The tomatoes had blistered and olives and chorizo blackened without being burnt. It smelled fantastic and I eagerly tore the point off it while it was still warm. The first bite was fantastic – a mouthful of slightly salty bread that was offset perfectly by a juicy tomato. The second bite was when I discovered the olives hadn’t been pitted – dough!
Editor, SBS Feast