A fougasse is a flat loaf from the South of France. It can be cooked as a plain bread or flavoured with olives, anchovies, cheese, nuts, etc. This recipe takes a long time but it is perfectly healthy with a salad and very easy to take for a summer picnic!
(makes 2 big loaves)
For the dough
- 450g unbleached white bread flour
- 5mL/1 tsp salt
- 20g fresh yeast
- 280mL lukewarm water
- 15mL/1 tbsp extra virgin oil
For the filling
- 50g grated cheddar or emmental
- 40g chopped sage
- 40g/3 tbsp pitted olives
- 1 tsp provencal herbs
Lightly grease two baking sheets. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl ad make a well in the centre. In a measuring jug, cream the yeast with 60mL/4 tbsp of the water. Pour the yeast mixture into the centre of the flour with the remaining water and the olive oil and mix to a soft dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 8-1à minutes until sooth and elastic.Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lighty oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knock back (punch down). Divide into two equal pieces and flatten one piece.
Sprinkle over the cheese and chopped sage.
Fold the dough over on itself.
Repeat two or three times to incorporate.
Repeat with the remaining piece of dough using the olives and the provencal herbs.
Flatten each ball of dough and fold the bottom third up and the top third down, to make an oblong. Roll them into an oval with a flat base, about 25 cm long. Using a sharp knife, make three or fur diagonal slits on each side towards the flat base and pull to open the cuts.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for about 30-45 minutes, or until nearly doubled in bulk.
Brush both lovaes with a little oilve oil and bake for about 25 minutes (until golden). Bon Apetís ! (means “enjoy your meal” in the old French of the South of France).