Cheese and herb fougasse bread is a delicious French bread from Provence that is reminiscent of foccacia.
It's really easy to make in a stand mixer, which means no laborious kneading and very little mess.
That's got to be a good thing!
I've flavoured this versionmine with grated Gruyère cheese and fresh rosemary, but it's equally good without, served warm from the oven.
Perfect for tearing and sharing with your favourite dip or just some good olive oil.
Fougasse is the French word that is ferived from Italian foccacia bread.
Panis focacius is the ancient Italian name for a flatbread and the name became used to describe flatbreads all around europe, fougasse being the name used in Provence.
Cheese and herb fougasse bread is very common in Provence and often included olives and anchovies too.
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, which makes it perfect as a tear and share bread.
The foods included in the dessert were typically simple items such as fruits and nuts depicting different religious orders, with the bread possibly resembling an ear of wheat.
However, this bread is often formed in other shapes or left plain too.
Perfect for soup, dipping and sharing, there are so many variations you can make too.
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to make
- Perfect for sharing
- Great for dipping
- Add your own favourite ingredients
- Flour - strong white bread flour. This type of flour is high in gluten and perfect for getting the perfect dough.
- Salt - plain cooking salt
- Oil - olive oil for the dough mix plus extra for glazing if you like. It's also delicious to brush the warm bread with olive oil when it is still warm. For this use a virgin olive oil or extra virgin for flavour.
- Yeast - sachet instant yeast.
- Herbs - fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.
- Cheese - Gruyère cheese for its distinctive nutty flavour.
- Water - tepid water from a kettle to activate the yeast.
See recipe card for quantities.
- stand mixer with dough hook
- 2 oven trays 30 x 25 cm
- baking parchment
- pastry brush
💭 Top Tip
- If you prefer you can make fougasse bread on a 'dough' mode in 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 on a slow speed.
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.
I find that the cheese and herbs are not evenly distributed.
Lightly flour the work surface, remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a few minutes to incorporate.
Wipe the mixing bowl clean with a piece of kitchen paper.
Add a drop of olive oil to the bowl and use the dough to spread the oil around the base of the bowl.
Place the dough in the bowl.
Cover the bowl with cling film, or a clean cloth, and leave for in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
Get two large baking trays ready about 30 x 25 cm.
Line with parchment or silicon mats.
Divide the dough in half 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 for another 20 minutes.
⏲️ Baking Time
Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / 200 FAN / Gas 7.
Just before baking drizzle with a little extra olive oil.
Bake for 15-20 until golden.
To bring out all the flavours you can brush with more oil while the bread is still warm and sprinkle with sea salt and some extra herbs before serving.
🥗 Side Dishes
This cheese and herb fougasse bread needs little more than some really good extra virgin olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
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.
Try dipping it in soups
- Tomato and Courgette
- Cream of Onion
- Celery and Leek
- French Onion
- Seafood Bisque
- London Particular
- Pea and Mint
- Mushroom and Tarragon
Or, serve with pâtés and terrines.
- Duck Terrine with Asparagus
- Chicken Liver Parfait
- Game Terrine
- Smoked Salmon Pâté
- Mussels in White Wine
- Pork Rillettes
- Cheese - use grated cheddar. camembert, brie or emmental.
- Herbs - if you don't have fresh herbs subsitute a teaspoom of dried herbs for a tablespoon of fresh. For wase, use mixed herbs or herbes de Provence.
- Herbs - other fresh herbs that work well are basil. sage, oregano, and rosemary.
- Flavoured - add some chopped garlic, sun dried tomatoes, sliced spring onions, chopped bacon, or olives.
- Refrigerator - in the rare event of having leftovers, there is no need to keep in the fridge. Place in an airtight container and use within a couple of days.
- Freezer - freeze
- To reheat - in the oven at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4 to warm through.
More appetisers to try
Cheese and Herb Fougasse Bread
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- 2 oven trays 30 x 25 cm
- Baking parchment
- Pastry brush
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 7 g sachet instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon rosemary fresh and chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme fresh and chopped
- 80 g Gruyere grated
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil optional for after baking
- 350 ml water tepid
- 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, knead to incorporate, 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.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove