Fougasse is a type of bread from Provence, similar to the Italian focaccia. Always a flat bread with slits that can be shaped like the ears of corn. Often flavoured with herbs, olives or Roquefort.
Makes 2 fougasse or 6 stuffed fougasse
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp Maldon salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried active yeast
350ml warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Herbes de Provence (or a mixture of thyme and oregano) (optional)
3 tbsps semolina for sprinkling
Olive oil for drizzling
In a measuring jug combine the warm water, yeast and sugar, mix well and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes for the yeast to start to bubble.
In a large bowl make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the water and yeast. Using one finger stir in the liquid until the dough is coming together, then use both hands and start to knead. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead, using your fingers to stretch the dough up and then gently fold back, it will be sticky to begin with so don’t be tempted to add more flour, use a bread plastic scraper if the dough sticks to the work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, usually about 10 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 – 11/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas7.
When the dough is double in size, gently take the dough out onto a well floured surface it will be warm and aerated and you want to be careful not to deflate it-it will spread over the surface you are working on. Dust with flour and leave for five minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 rectangles or six small rectangles if you are making stuffed Fougasse (or you can make one large Fougasse and three stuffed breads)
Shape each piece into flat ovals then using a bread scraper or knife make a cut lengthways down the centre of each piece, cutting all the way through to the work surface, but not the edges. Pull the cut open with your fingers, make the hole quiet large, as when the dough rises again, the hole can fill in. Make 3 diagonal cuts on either side like the veins of a leaf, making sure you don’t cut to the edge and pull these open.
Pre heat your baking trays in the oven and then when they are hot, sprinkle with a little semolina and place the breads onto the heated baking sheets. If you have a baking stone cook the breads directly onto the stone one at a time.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
We filled the fougasse with a mix of well-fried onions, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes & asparagus tips and topped them with Roquefort or Goats curd.
Gently kneed the dough balls or pull out into 12cm circles. Place the circles on an oiled baking sheet. Place a small pile of filling in the centre and fold in the sides to almost cover the filling, leaving a hole in the middle. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas7. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.