I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but every time I look at the calendar or flip the pages in my Moleskine diary, I am astounded by how fast this year has gone. It feels like yesterday, back this time last year, when I was stressed out of my mind finishing up major projects, thinking about graduating from college with a graphic design degree, and finding out the good news that my work wanted to put me on permanently.
This time last year I was still skipping out to Bourke St Bakery in Broadway for a much-needed long black in the morning, and often grabbing a chorizo and thyme roll to eat for lunch. They became one of my favourites, and I often had thoughts of trying to replicate it at home, but of course I never got around to it. That is, until I bought the Bourke St Bakery cookbook and flicked to the page that had the recipe. It had been almost a year since my last chorizo and thyme roll. I couldn’t resist.
The rolls are based on an olive oil dough that you can make with a ferment, or without. I chose to do it without this time, because the ferment takes a day to make, although I might try it this way in the future. The dough comes together easily in a stand mixer and I found the recipe easy to follow and very descriptive, letting you know what to look for each step of the way. To make the dough by hand is a little more difficult as it’s quite soft and sticky, but it’s definitely doable so don’t let that put you off. The dough itself is a great base for so many other recipes too, I used half of it to make the chorizo and thyme rolls, and the other half as pizza bases, and they were absolutely perfect.
The chorizo, caramelised onion and thyme flavours work so well together, and it tasted just as good as I remember from the bakery. I love the smell of bread baking this made my kitchen smell absolutely wonderful. They are great as a light lunch or brunch, but would be delicious as an accompaniment to wintery soup on a cold night. You could also experiment with other fillings as well – maybe sun-dried tomato with chilli and basil, or pumpkin, rosemary and blue cheese for something different.
Olive Oil Dough
Makes 1kg of dough, or two loaves
From the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook by Paul Allam and David McGuinness
• 600g strong flour
• 13g fresh yeast (or 7g instant dried yeast hydrated with 10% of the water in the recipe)
• 400ml water
• 20ml extra virgin olive oil
• 20ml milk
• 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt
1. If using an electric mixer, place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and continue mixing for 5 minutes. The dough should come away from the edges of the bowl and have a silky complexion when done.
2. Place the dough in a container that has been sprayed with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to bulk prove for 1 ½ hours.
3. Knock back the dough every 30 minutes during the bulk prove – twice in total. To knock back the dough, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle about 2.5cm thick. Use your hands to fold one third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold over again into thirds. Place back into the oiled container, cover with plastic wrap, and continue to bulk prove for a further 1 hour. Once the dough has finished its bulk prove it is ready to be divided and shaped.
Chorizo and Thyme Rolls
Makes 8 rolls
• 185g chorizo, cut into 1.5cm cubes
• 1 cup caramelised onion
• 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
• 2 teaspoons milk
• 1 kg olive oil dough
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Arrange the chorizo on baking trays lined with baking paper and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for a further 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
2. In a bowl, mix together the chorizo and onion with their oils and add the thyme. Stir in the milk until well combined and set aside until needed.
3. To shape the olive oil dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into a 45 x 15cm rectangle, about 1.5cm thick. Lay the long side parallel with the edge of the bench and mark the dough into thirds with your finger. Lay half of the chorizo mixture inside the middle third of the dough, spreading it evenly to the edges. Fold the right third over the middle and lightly press down to push out any air bubbles.
4. Evenly spread the remaining chorizo mixture onto the folded third and fold over the left flap, lightly pressing down to seal.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F). Use your fingers to mark the dough into thirds, this time parallel to the bench. Fold the top third over the middle third, then overlap with the bottom third. Press the dough down and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Cut the dough into four strips, then cut each strip into two pieces. Place on a greased baking tray, then place in the oven, lightly sprayed with water. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F) and cook for 20 minutes, turning on the tray after 10 minutes, or until cooked and golden.