The past few months I’ve been making a lot of Tartine style sourdough. In my mind this isn’t a bad thing, and I think I’ve made a great deal of progress on the technique and adapting it to what I want in a loaf. But it’s always useful to humble yourself with a new recipe or technique that encourages and rewards learning something new. A few weeks ago a friend mentioned that one of her favorite breads from a bakery back home was fougasse, and had I ever made it. I hadn’t, and all I knew about it was that it was often shaped and slashed the resemble an ear of wheat.
Fougasse is a French version of focaccia. In looking up recipes and techniques I learned that this style of bread (and similar adaptations across Europe) originated from the hearths of ancient Rome and spread with their influence. Fougasse contains significantly less olive oil than focaccia but can be decorated with an equally wide range of toppings.
The bread is typically prepared either as a flatbread or as a loaf with toppings folded in, almost like a calzone. Many of the recipes I found used herbes de provence and olives. I’m not a huge fan of olives and instead opted to use sun-dried tomatoes and sauteed red onion.
When ready to shape the dough is exceptionally elastic and I felt had a similar texture and consistency to my neapolitan pizza dough. I wanted to shape it in a more triangular (or trapezoidal) shape but had trouble achieving this so instead went with a simpler rectangle.
I didn’t get the dough slashed in quite the pattern I was hoping for but did achieve the thin, open, structure that I wanted. In the future I would probably not spread the dough as thinly and make sure that it was an even thickness all the way around.
Shaping issues aside, this bread was fantastic. It has the crispy bottom of a flatbread while the top portions are chewy and have the additions dispersed evenly. It is very easy to rip off and eat pieces and doesn’t leave you with oily fingers like focaccia can. Similar to focaccia, you can do just about anything toppings-wise, the only limit is yourself (My 12 year old self is no doubt very pleased that I remember Zombo.com).
Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? If you tuned in late you would have missed the crazy first play…Peyton Manning ordered a loaf of bread from me but wasn’t ready for the delivery!
Sun-dried Tomato & Red Onion Fougasse
- 13 oz water
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
- 1 large red onion, diced and sauteed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary
- Coarse kosher salt
FInely dice red onion and sautee in olive oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Chop sun-dried tomatoes and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar and knead for 2 minutes on low speed. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and clears the side of the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add in tomatoes, onion, and rosemary and mix another minute.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, then let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a parchment lined and lightly floured baking sheet. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin or spread with your hands so that they dough is a rectangular shape roughly 12×8 inches.
Using a sharp knife cut four diagonal slashes to the right of the center, each about 2 inches long. Repeat for the left side of the dough. Spread the cuts open so that they are an inch wide. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. When oven is hot lightly brush fougasse with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 17-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. The fougasse will turn a golden brown when done.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.