Fougasse is a bread found in Provence which has its roots in Ancient Rome. Similar types of bread were cooked on the hearths of homes all throughout the Roman Empire and foccacia is the Italian version. They are meant to be torn in chunks and enjoyed with olive oil, cheese, spreads and of course, more olives and wine.
It’s very simple to make and a great start for the novice bread baker. The decorative slits and the crispy crust will make every one think you are some kind of wizard!
You can use herbs such as rosemary, thyme and aromatics like garlic infused oil, or substitute sundried tomatoes or roasted peppers for the olives. If you are using olives, the dry cured, little, black prune-y ones are the best, and that’s what I’ve used here.
- large mixing bowl, baking sheet, parchment, pastry brush
- 300 grams warm water (1 1/4 cups)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/2 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 375 grams all purpose flour plus extra for dusting (3 cups)
- 1/2 cup pitted, dry cured olives
- Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast into water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. until there is a good amount of froth.
- Stir half of the olive oil into the yeast mixture.
- In a large bowl, sift flour and salt together.
- Add yeast mixture and combine until you have a nice, soft dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Use most of the remaining olive oil to grease your hands as you work the dough.
- Let dough rest under a towel as you remove the pits from the olives.
- Flatten the dough and spread the olives over top. Fold and knead into the dough until the olives are evenly spread, throughout, about 4 or 5 minutes.
- Spread the remaining oil on top of the dough and use it to grease a bowl. Cover with plastic film. Let proof for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down the dough and place on a baking tray lined in parchment paper. Pat into an oblong shape. Cut 4 diagonal slits, radiating out from the centre of the dough, about 2 inches long. Make sure you cut all the way through but keep about an inch or so from the edge of the dough. Think of the veins of a leaf while you are positioning the slits. Now, make small cuts in between the slits along the edges. Spread the slits to make holes and notches that resemble the bread in the picture. Leave to proof under a towel for about 20 more minutes while you preheat the oven to 450F
- Bake at 450F for 20 minutes, until a light golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool on a rack.
- Serve with good quality, extra virgin olive oil for dipping while still warm.