Herb & Garlic Fougasse


Week 6 – Botanical Week – Herb Fougasse

Generally a strong week for all competitors with  a lot of last minute frantic fanning to cool the loaves in the last minutes and a little confusion over how to slash the bread, the biggest decision seemed to whether or not to add steam.

Steam makes for a great golden crust and a light loaf but it does slow down the cooking time.  In hindsight without steam I’d have brought both loaves in within the 2 hours.  In the end I chose to add a tray of boiling water to the oven and really needed an extra 5-10 minutes

I love this type of bread.  A Provencal flat bread very similar to Focaccia, fougasse works really well with all sorts of flavours – olives, cheese, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, there are even sweet versions

This isn’t a particularly difficult recipe – given the right conditions you can just about turn it around within the 2 hour target window, and it does’t involve very much ‘hands on’ time, most of it is waiting so a good recipe to do when you’ve other things going on in the kitchen

I’ve used a mix of fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary & chives, about 6 tbsp in total, supplemented with a good dose of sliced garlic.  I had every intention of mixing in some caramelised red onion with the herbs, but just couldn’t squeeze it in with the timings

A very satisfying bread, best served freshly baked

Makes 2 Fougasse

2 hours+

Ingredients

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 7g Dried Yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 350ml Warm Water
  • 1 handful mixed, chopped fresh herbs
  • Semolina
  • a little Dried Oregano
  • Course Sea Salt

Method

  • In a mixing bowl add the flour and yeast, then the salt.  Make a well and add the oil and water
  • Knead using a dough hook until elastic, maybe 5-6 minutes, before adding the fresh herbs and garlic then mix again for another couple of minutes.  The mixture should be quite slack
  • Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove somewhere warm until doubled in size (up to about 1 hour)
  • Dust a work surface heavily with semolina and tip out the proven dough.  Cut in half
  • Shape each half into an oval or rectangle and transfer to a baking sheet which has also been dusted with semolina
  • Slash the dough to give the classic leaf shape and stretch a little to fill the tray. Cover and leave to prove for another 20 minutes
  • Sprinkle with a little dried oregano and bake in a preheated oven, 220oC for about 20 minutes  (add a tray of boiling water to the bottom of the oven if you want the steam)
  • Remove when golden brown.  Immediately brush with a little oil and sprinkle with sea salt, then allow to cool on a wire rack
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