Fougasse is a beautiful and delicious type of flatbread, something in between bread and focaccia, typically associated with Provence but found (with variations) in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat. Here’s the recipe by Richard Bertinet, an award-winning chef and baker with 30 years of experience, who runs the Bertinet Kitchen cookery school in Bath (GB).
Here you will find the recipe for a plain salty fougasse, but you can add cheese, olives, onions, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini etc. or even make it sweet by adding sugar or honey to the batter … the combinations are infinite.
“When making bread, show the dough who is boss,” he says. “Do not be scared of it. You are in charge.”
- To get a really good crust, where all the flavour is, preheat the oven and spray water very finely inside with 15-20 squirts to create steam. Then load the oven and finish with five more squirts and close the door. Bake the last three to four minutes with the oven door open a fraction to give a crisper crust. Essential tool: a plastic scraper – an “extension of my hands” – which you cut, scrape and do everything with.
Try this salty fougasse with cheese and dips for a delicious starter when you need to feed and impress your guests.
For this recipe you will need: a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, two large baking sheets, a large container for proving the dough, a pizza cutter and a pastry brush.
- 500 gr unbleached flour - about 3 cups
- 300 gr. water - about 10 oz
- 10 gr. salt - 2 tsp.
- 5 gr. dry yeast - 1 tsp.
- In the blender bowl mix yeast and flour. Add water, salt and oil. Mix. With a spatula scratch the walls of the bowl if necessary. Mix for a couple of minutes until the dough starts to form. When the dough forms a ball and gets stuck to hook, remove it. At this point you can add the chopped herbs or other ingredients and mix for 5 more minutes. If the ingredients you're adding are juicy (like tomatoes, olives, onions, etc) remove the excess liquid as much as you can and add more flour until the dough becomes uniform.
- Add flour (generously) to the work surface as well as to the dough and create a rectangle of about 30/35 cm x 20/22 (about 12' x 8') and about 1/3 inch thick.
- Sprinkle some flour to the dough and cover with a plastic wrap and a cloth. Let the dough rise for 1 hour and remember to preheat the oven at 450* - 475 *. If you have a pizza stone or an oven liner place it on the oven rack.
- After one hour gently (try to not handle it too much) divide the dough in 6 /8 equal parts. Bring the pieces of dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Pick one or more among the decoration suggestions that follow.
- Slightly flour the dough pieces with white flour and make a cut with the long side of the spatula on the longest diagonal. Then, using the short side create another two incisions on both sides. Brush with olive oil
- With the help of your fingers, gently open the cuts so that it looks like a leaf.
- Do not worry if the result is not perfect.. the effect will still be very artistic! :)
- Transfer the fougasses with the parchment paper directly on the stone or liner in the preheated oven. Spray a bit of water in the furnace to create a little steam.
- Bake for about 15/20 minutes or until golden brown. You can brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt the plain fougasses when still hot from the oven.
- Buon Appetito with the Fougasse!