My journey into the world of bread starts with Fougasse. Fougasse is a traditional French bread from Provence similar to the famous Italian Focaccia but much thinner with lots of crispy edges! It normally comes in an attractive leaf or wheat shape. In the past la Fougasse was used to assess whether the temperature of the wood oven was high enough for the rest of the bread to be loaded. Well, not the most prestigious role if you ask me, but still I find this bread very pretty, delicious and allowing lots of creativity with the toppings.
My recipe here uses very authentic Herbs de Provence (wedding guest gift from Madame & Monsieur Argent), sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
500g white flour
1 pack (7g) dry yeast
½ tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
300ml warm water
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
Handful of sun-dried tomatoes and olives
Mix well all dry ingredients – flour, yeast, salt, sugar and herbs. Make a well and pour the warm water with the olive oil. Mix the ingredients well and start kneading the dough on a clean floured surface for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl and let it prove for about 60 – 90 minutes till it has doubled its size.
In the meantime you can chop the olives and the sun-dried tomatoes into fine pieces. You can of course use any fillings and topping you may like, just keep in mind the bread will be quite flat so big chunks might not be appropriate.
Once you have a big well risen dough it is time to add the fillings and shape it into 2 beautiful leaf-shaped Fougasse(s). Take the dough out of the bowl and carefully add the olives and the sun-dried tomatoes. Knead for just few more minutes. Once ready roll the dough into a thin circular shape. Then using a sharp knife cut the shape into 2 so that you now have 2 leaf-like shapes. Adjust the shapes if needed. Then make a long cut in the middle of the leaf without reaching the edges and add 2-3 diagonal cuts on both sides to create the veins.
Transfer the 2 leaves into 2 trays laid with baking sheet, cover and let prove for 20 – 30 more minutes.
Get your oven ready at 220C.
Once the dough has settled it is time to bake the Fougasse. Add a bit of water in the bottom tray of your oven. This will create steam which helps the bread to form a crispy crust.
Place the breads in the oven and after about 20 minutes – Voila! You have a crispy pretty Fougasse! Two of them actually!