Fougasse is a type of bread from Provence. Always a flat bread with slits, that can be shaped like the pattern of a leaf. In Boulangeries in France, you often see Fougasse sold with a savoury topping. These often include meat but vegetarian versions include blue cheese and leeks, cherry tomatoes and olives. Use whatever you have and change your toppings with the seasons to make tasty starters, appetisers or lunchtime snacks. This is a great way of using leftover roasted vegetables and cheeses. A few of our favourite combinations are
Fougasse is a mainstay of our French Cookery Holidays (see a few pictures on Flickr). We also make Fougasse on our Vegetarian Diploma Course and on many of our bread making classes. Check out our Baking Classes if you'd like hands-on help with making Fougasse and other breads.
Makes 2 fougasse
Mix the yeast and sugar with the warm (hand hot) water and mix. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture and combine (using one finger at this point is less messy!).
Combine to form a rough sticky ball then turn out 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.
When the dough is double in size, gently take the dough out onto a clean surface sprinkled with semolina.
Divide the dough into two and sprinkle each piece with semolina. (Or divide into 6 balls for stuffed fougasse.)
Shape each piece into flat ovals, about 2.5cm high, then using a knife make a diagonal 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.
Sprinkle the oiled baking sheets with semolina (to stop the dough sticking to the baking sheets) Place them onto oiled baking sheets. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas7. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Photography by Rob Wicks.