May 17, 2009

Herb fougasse

Fougasse is a speciality flat bread from Provence. It is France's answer to Italy's focaccia.
It is easily distinguish by its unusual leaf shape.


Makes 3 loaves.

6 cups of bread flour (675 g)
1 tsp of fine sea salt
1/4 oz of active dry east (7 g)
2 cups of warm water (450 ml)
1/3 cup of olive oil (75 ml) plus a little extra for brushing
2 tbsp of fresh rosemary chopped
2 tbsp of fresh thyme chopped

In a large mixing bowl sift the flour and salt and add the yeast.

In a cup or a jug mix the warm water and olive oil.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the water and oil, to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a light flour surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Or if you prefer it can be knead with the mixer. I like mixing by hand that way I can "feel" the dough.
Place the dough in a lightly oil bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
This is the dough after 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Turn out the dough again and punch down (just press your fist down to help expel the air from the dough) work in the herbs.
Divide the dough in three pieces and roll each into an oval longer at one side to resemble a leaf.
Using a sharp knife, cut herring bone-stile slashes down the middle of the dough and brush lightly with olive oil.
Place each "leaf" in a separated baking sheet lightly dusted with flour and leave to rise for another hour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Before putting in the oven sprinkle with a little flour. This is how it looks after one hour.

Bake on the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden. transfer to cooling rack to cool.
It is great served with dipping oil or you can try it with different toppings like roasted red pepper or hummus.


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