“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” – Yogi Berra
This is a delicious flatbread from Provence with a history going back to Roman times. It’s often enriched and studded with olives, herbs or nuts and is shaped to resemble a lattice. The shape gives the bread lots of surface area giving a lovely toasted flavour from all the delicious crust while the inside is wonderful, light and tender.
It goes through three proofing stages, it is not difficult at all but does take a little planning and so worth the effort. This bread is the perfect accompaniment with cheese and dried fruits or with any creamy pumpkin or mushroom soup. Finally fougasse bread makes a stunning display at the centre of any dinner table.
First starter dough ingredients:
- 165g Flour
- 165g water
- 2g dried yeast
- Put the 165g of plain organic unbleached flour and 165g water together in a bowl then add the dried yeast, mix together with a spatula till it becomes a paste.
- Cover, let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to allow it to bubble and ferment.
- 100g green olives pitted roughly chopped
- 100g black pitted olives roughly chopped
- 4g Herbes De Provence
- 25g extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mix all together and allow to marinate for approximately 2 hours.
Note: If you can’t find Herbes De Provence use recipe as follows:
(You won’t need to use all the amount of herbs but store in a small airtight container for future use.)
- 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons dried sage
- 2 tablespoons dried fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- (optional: 2 tablespoons of organic dried lavender flowers, 2 tablespoons of orange zest,
- 2 tablespoons of dried tarragon)
Second dough ingredients for Fougasse:
- 185g water
- 25g organic rye or organic whole wheat flour
- 310 bread flour
- 2g dry yeast
- 10g Fleur De Sel or good quality salt example Himalayan Salt
- After 2 hours when the starter dough has fermented put into large mixer bowl and add the second dough ingredients making sure the salt does not touch the yeast by putting salt on one side and yeast on the other side of the bowl.
- Attach a dough hook to mixer and mix on low speed number one for 4 minutes, then switch to 4th gear speed and mix for another 6 minutes.
- Put all the olive marinade into the bowl and mix again on the first speed to incorporate.
- Put the dough in an oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for one hour.
- Dust work bench with flour and gently slide the dough out, using a dough scraper divide the dough into 3 pieces. Fold each piece by gently stretching out then folding back into itself to form a ball.
- Place the dough balls on a floured bench or baking tray with parchment paper and flour, cover with a clean plastic bag to create a warm humid atmosphere for the dough to rest, leave for about 15 minutes.
- Gently pull the plastic off making sure not to rip the dough, flour working area and get one piece of the dough and gently flatten the dough with your hand, gently spreading out and stretching by pulling it out.
- Roll the dough to a rectangle shape making sure not to make it too thin, approximately ¼ inch, again slightly stretch it and place on parchment paper.
- Using a pastry scraper make one cut in the bottom centre of the rectangle, length way then 3 cuts on one side at an angle (30 degree angle). Stretch and open out the cuts and do the same on the other side to create a large leaf shape. (These open areas help the bread to bake quickly and evenly.)
- Put the bread for the final proving into the oven (NOT ON) and place a bowl of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. Close the oven door and allow to proof for approximately 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.
- Bake in preheated oven at 250°C with pizza stone on middle shelf and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped.
- When cooked allow to cool on wire rack and optional brush olive oil.