Fougasse bread is a delicious French bread that is reminiscent of foccacia.
It's really easy to make in a stand mixer, which means no laborious kneading and very little mess. You use the mixing bowl for everything. That's got to be a good thing!
I've flavoured mine with grated Gruyère cheese and fresh rosemary but it's equally good without, served warm from the oven with your favourite dip or just some olive oil.
What are the ingredients?
The basic ingredients are very simple. You'll need a sachet of yeast, white bread flour, olive oil and salt.
How to make Fougasse bread
You can make this on a 'dough' mode on a bread mixer or with a dough hook on a stand mixer.
Put the salt in the bottom of the mixing bowl and follow with the flour and yeast.
Tip in the olive oil and most of the water and mix slowly. When the dough starts to come together, add the remaining water and mix on a medium speed for about 8 minutes. It will be really elastic at this stage.
I've used some fresh thyme and rosemary to flavour the bread. Strip the leaves off the stems and give them a rough chop.
Add the grated Gruyère and herbs and mix for a further minute.
The bowl should be fairly clean so I just use a dough scraper to bring everything together and then add a drop of olive oil to the bowl and use the dough to spread the oil around the bottom of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean cloth and leave for about an hour until doubled in size.
Get two large baking trays ready about 30 x 25 cm and line with parchment or silicon mats.
Divide the dough into 2 and use your hands to push the dough into large oval shapes.
Use a knife or a pizza wheel and make 2 slits through the middle, about 2 cm from the end. Make 6 more angled cuts each side so that it resembles a leaf.
Use your fingers to spread the dough cuts out and then leave the dough to rise again.
If you like drizzle over a little olive oil before baking at 220C/200 Fan/400F or Gas 7.
Bake for 15-20 until golden.
To bring out all the flavours you can brush with more oil and sprinkle with sea salt and some extra herbs.
The bread is said to be originally one of the 13 desserts for a Provencal Christmas Eve. It should also never be cut, only broken, whick makes it perfect as a tear and share bread.
I have also seen that the shape is to resemble an ear of wheat but I can't find the source. Please let me know if you find it!
You can use whatever fresh herbs you prefer but ones that go particularly well with this French bread are basil. sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary.
If you don't have any or use some dried ones such as oregano or mixed herbs de Provence but use half the quantity of the fresh.
You could add different grated cheese or how about adding small chunks of camambert, brie or emmental.
My personal favourite is olive oil with a few drops of balsamic vinegar added.
This type of appetiser is called Apèro in French and is just drinks and nibbles that are served before dinner. I've often been served bread with tapenade, often made with something simple from the garden like courgettes (zucchini), garlic and lemon.
It would go wonderfully with aioli, guacamole or a salsa.
More appetisers to try
- Stand mixer
- 2 lined oven trays 30 x 25 cm
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 7 g sachet instant yeast
- 1 tbsp rosemary fresh and chopped
- 1 tbsp thyme fresh and chopped
- 80 g Gruyere grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil optional for after baking
- Put the salt in the bottom of the mixing bowl and follow with the flour and yeast.
- Tip in the olive oil and most of the water and mix slowly then add the remaining water and mix on a medium speed for about 8 minutes.
- Add the grated Gruyère and herbs and mix for a further minute then clean and oil the bowl.Return the dough to the bowl and cover with cling film and prove for an hour until doubled in size.
- Get two large baking trays ready about 30 x 25 cm and line with parchment.
- Divide the dough into 2 and use your hands to push the dough into large oval shapes.
- Use a knife and make 2 slits through the middle, about 2 cm from the end. Make 6 more angled cuts each side so that it resembles a leaf.
- Use your fingers to spread the dough cuts out and then leave the dough to rise again for another 20 minutes.
- Drizzle over a little olive oil before baking at 220C/200 Fan/400F or Gas 7.Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Brush with more oil when the bread is still warm and sprinkle with sea salt and some extra herbs.
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