Today’s post is written by K and baked by both of us. Enjoy!
How do you prepare for Sunday, 2PM?
For a while now, Sunday afternoon has had its own tradition for us. It is a tradition that we adopted while traveling. Sometime around 2 to 3 in the afternoon, when there is absolutely nothing on TV, and it’s too warm to do some shopping, we’re too tired from the cleaning and errands, it’s time to sit on the front porch with a glass of Vermouth and a snack. But what will that snack be? S had mentioned she wanted to bake off a loaf for the weekend and in anticipation of our Sunday Vermouth, we figured we’d do a loaf that was inspired by the Spanish tradition of, Vermouth on Sundays.
Chorizo and Manchego Cheese Braid
Yield: 1 braid
For the Sponge:
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
½ teaspoon honey
½ cup milk, scalded
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup cold water
For the Dough:
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup all- purpose flour
¼ cup bread flour + ½ cup additional (if needed)
All of the sponge
For the Topping:
1 ½ oz butter, softened
3 oz manchego cheese, grated
2 oz Spanish chorizo, cubed very small (brunoise)
2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
Make the Sponge
Proof the yeast in warm water until dissolved and creamy. Dissolve the honey in the scalded milk after it has cooled a bit. Transfer yeast mixture to a large bowl and add flour, milk, and water. Mix with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and let the sponge rise for 2 hours in a warm spot.
Make the Topping:
Combine the butter, manchego cheese, chorizo, and oregano in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature.
Make the Dough
In a medium bowl, mix the salt with ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ¼ cup bread flour. Add by handfuls to the risen sponge and mix with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until dough comes together in a soft and satiny ball. If the dough is too wet, add the reserved ½ cup bread flour a little at a time until the ball is smooth and desired texture is achieved.
When the dough is satiny, form it into a ball and place into a large container covered with plastic wrap until it doubles in size, approximately 1- 1 ½ hours.
Set the oven to convection and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place a pizza stone on the oven rack and an empty oven safe pan on the bottom of the oven.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Gently roll out into a log about 12- 14 inches long. Place the pieces onto parchment paper and braid the pieces, tucking the ends under slightly to seal together. Gently fill in between the braids with the chorizo butter mixture. You will have about ¼ mixture left, set aside. Cover the stuffed braid loosely with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
After the braid has risen, refill the braids with the extra filling since some of the filling may have come loose after the rise.
Place the braid on the stone in the oven and add water to the oven safe pan. It will steam so be careful. Bake for 25- 30 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven a place on a rack to cool.