Fougasse is a flattened French bread typical of Provence but variations are found in other regions. Fougasse is found in sweet and savory versions and resembles the Italian foccacia.
This bread is often shaped to resemble a tree, leaf or wheat stalk. Sometimes fougasse is shaped into a rectangle with decorative slashes resembling a ladder and hence also called ladder bread.
Once shaped, the bread is usually brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs before baking it. This bread can be baked as it is or sometimes folded over a filling, and be eaten as a filled bread.
I made this fougasse using a recipe I had collected from a magazine some time back.
2 cups all pupose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1½ tsp active dry yeast
about 140ml water plus extra
4 tsp olive oil
2 medium sized onions
1 ½ tsp herbs of choice
½ tsp salt
Mix the flours together. In a bowl, take half the flour mixture and add the yeast and 140ml of water. Mix with a fork to form a batter or “sponge”. Be at well for about 3 minutes. Cover this and keep aside it the “sponge” rises and falls back upon itself. This would take between 3 to 4 hours.
In the meanwhile, finely chop the onions and sauté in a little oil till soft and transparent. Keep aside.
Now add the remaining flour, oil, and salt to the “sponge” and water, if necessary, to knead into a smooth dough. Keep aside to double.
Punch down the dough, add the onions and herbs and knead till everything is well incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten out into a rectangle or to resemble a leaf in shape. Make two slashes (with a knife scissors or scraper) in the middle lengthwise to resemble the central vein of a leaf. Make three slashes each on both sides so the markings look like the veins on a leaf. The slashes should go right the dough and use your fingers to open the slashes a bit. See the picture below.
Brush the top with oil and sprinkle a little sea salt if you wish. I didn’t. Allow the bread to rise for about ½ an hour and then bake at 220C for about 20 minutes till the top browns.
My fougasse had a lovely crust and was soft on the inside. This bread is considered good with soups, pastas, and even for sandwiches. We had it with hot soup.
I am sending this over to Eva of Sweet Sins who is hosting Bread Baking Day #06.
More information about this bread can be found here.