I haven’t been a very good Bread Babe in a while now and have missed quite a few of the monthly breads. It seemed a good way to get back into bread routine with the recipe that Elizabeth chose for January. She picked La Fouce Nantaise, one of Jamie’s recipes (she’s also a BBB) for us to do.
You might know Jamie Schler who is a food blogger and an excellent food writer. She used to live in Nantes in France and in addition to food writing, now also runs a hotel with her husband in Chinon. She was one of the first lot of friends I made in the virtual world in my early days of blogging. Jamie is currently in the process of writing a cookbook that’s all about cooking with oranges. Her La Fouce Nantaise recipe, was on the list but didn’t make it to the cookbook. After baking this La Fouce Nantaise, I’m of the opinion that it shouldn’t have been left out.
La Fouace Nantaise is a slightly sweet enriched bread, or rather a yeasted cake. It apparently derives its name from Latin and as does the bread Fougasse. Typically made in shape of a six point star, the recipes tend to vary but most contain flour, butter, sugar, eggs and sometimes a bit of brandy or rum. Reminiscent of brioche, it was created in the 19th century by wine-growers from La Haye-Fouassière (“fouassière” from the word “fouasse” or “fouace/ fougasse”) Traditionally made during Easter, it is now mostly baked during the local grape harvest. Adapted from Jamie’s orange flavoured La Fouce Nantaise recipe, my version contains no alcohol. It also has an non-traditional topping of pearled sugar which I added at the last moment because I had it on hand and thought it made the bread pretty.
La Fouace Nantaise - A French Orange Flavoured Brioche Style Bread
- 1/4 cup warm milk
- 1 tsp dry active yeast
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 50 gm butter melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 zest of large orange
- 1/4 cup orange juice unsweetened
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose flour
- milk or cream instead of egg wash
- pearl sugar (optional)
- I used my processor to knead the dough. Pour the warm milk into a small bowl. Add the yeast and a tsp of the sugar and mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes till it becomes frothy.
- Then pour it into the bowl of the processor and add all the other ingredients listed up to the flours. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. Knead, adding a much more flour as necessary until it comes together as a somewhat sticky dough.
- Turn it out onto a floured counter and then knead by hand until smooth and elastic, resisting temptation to add more flour than absolutely necessary. The dough should border on a sticky consistency. Shape into a ball, and place in a well-oiled container turning it round to coat well. Cover loosely and let it rise for about 2 hours or so or until double in volume. To check if it's ready, poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn't risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays and the dough remains otherwise intact, it’s ready.
- Lightly press out the air and divide the dough into 7 equal portions. Shape each into a smooth ball. Place one ball in the centre of a lined or greased baking tray. Arrange the remaining 6 balls of dough closely around this to form a flower. Loosely cover and let it rise till almost double (about 45 minutes to an hour).
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with milk or cream and sprinkle with the pearled sugar if using. Bake it at 180C (350F) for about 30 minutes until the bread is a deep golden brown in colour. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter and jam or just as it is dunked in a cup of hot tea or coffee.
The Bread Baking Babes:
A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
Bake My Day – Karen
Thyme For Cooking – Katie
Blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
Girlichef – Heather
Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
Lucullian Delights – Ilva
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
Bread Experience – Cathy