This design of the bread also makes it easier to break it or pull it apart by hand while eating. Once shaped, the bread is usually brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs before baking it. Occasionally, Fougasse is folded over filling to make a filled bread.
Onion & Rosemary Fougasse
Ingredients:For starter:1 tsp sugar1/2 cup warm water2 tsp active dry yeast1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For dough:1 big onion (or 2 small ones), sliced thinly1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli flakesA couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary1/4 cup olive oil (preferably mild and extra virgin)All the starter2/3 cup water2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (and a little more for kneading)
1 1/4 tsp salt
For the Topping:2 tbsp olive oil1/2 tsp garlic paste (or finely grated garlic), or more if you preferA little fresh rosemary for sprinkling on doughMethod:First make the starter. Stir together sugar and warm water in a large bowl or the bowl of your processor/ mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand for about 5 minutes until it bubbles up into a foam. Add the flour and whisk till combined. Cover loosely and let the starter rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.In the meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a pan and add the sliced onions. Sauté till they caramelize or turn soft and light brown. Do not burn. Take it off the heat and add the chilli flakes and the rosemary (removed from the stem, not whole sprig), mix a couple of times and let it cool to room temperature.
Now make the dough. To the bowl with the starter, add 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and the water. Knead well, adding as much more of the flour you need until you have a soft dough. Half way through the kneading add the caramelized onion mixture. Once the kneading is done, you should have a soft, smotth and elastic dough that is a little sticky to the fingers when touched.Lightly oil your hands and form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover bowl and let dough till double in volume. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and deflate the dough but don’t knead it. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions (or 2 if you prefer). Lightly roll out each portion to 1/4" thickness and into the shape you want (roughly about 6” long for each if four portions, and 12” long if for 2 portions of dough).Place the rolled out dough on lightly greased baking sheets. Using a blade, a very sharp knife or a pastry scraper, make a cuts in the rolled out dough according to whatever shape you desire, cutting all the way through the dough and leaving a 1-inch border on each end of cut (do not connect cuts).
Gently pull apart the cuts about 1 1/2” by pulling from the edges to open them out. Open out the cuts with your fingers, if necessary. If they’re not open wide enough the cuts will close up when the dough rises and bakes. Let the dough rises, uncovered, until slightly “puffy” for about 30 minutes.Brush the dough generously with the garlic flavoured oil, and sprinkle the rosemary over it. Bake the Fougasse at 240C (450F) for about 20 minutes or so, till they’re a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the Fougasse to a rack and cool to warm or room temperature. These are best eaten the day they’re made.This recipe makes 2 Fougasse (about 12” long) or 4 Fougasse (about 6” long).