Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange oven rack so that it is in center of oven. Lay bread slices in a thick, heavy-duty metal roasting pan in one layer. (Try not to use a thin or dark colored pan, which may cause bread to burn: see note.) Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Rub 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper inside cavity of chicken. Stuff cavity with garlic, bay leaf, lemon and thyme. Rub outside of chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle all over with remaining salt and pepper. Place it breast side up on bread.
Roast chicken until it is deeply browned and juices run clear when thigh is pricked with a knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve chicken with bread from pan.