There is nothing better than baking your own bread: today’s recipe is a Provencal bread called fougasse, similar to the Italian focaccia, with a distinctive, elegant shape… would you like to taste it? Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the Giallozafferano App (in English) http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8
First of all, make a sponge, a type of pre-ferment that will improve the strength of the main dough: it’s made of flour, baker’s yeast and water. Make an indentation in the middle, add the baker’s yeast – I’m using active dry yeast, but fresh yeast is fine as well – and the water. Knead quickly, just to bring the dough together: it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. Now cover with cling film and let it rise in the fridge for 12 hours.
Here’s the sponge after 12 hours. Now break it into pieces and place in a bowl of lukewarm water to soften. Once softened, pour the oil into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the sponge along with the water, and beat at low speed to combine, then add the sifted flour and, lastly, the salt. Continue to beat until the dough is smooth and forms a ball around the hook. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the hook, stop the mixer and transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, form into a ball, lightly oil the bowl to keep the dough from sticking to the sides, cover with cling film and allow to rise in the turned off oven, with the light on, for at least an hour.
The dough is risen, so we’re ready to shape the fougasse, two fougasses in fact. A little oil, give it a few quick folds and divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. The fougasse is rectangular in shape, so pat into a rectangle. The dough is quite sticky, so roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. The rectangle should be 7 inches wide by 9 inches long (18x23 cm). Slide the fougasse onto the baking tray and now the decoration. We’ll cut 5 slits with a dough scraper: once baked, these cuts will resemble the shape of an ear of wheat. Starting from the bottom, make 2 cuts diagonally, a straight cut in the middle, and 2 diagonal cuts on the opposite side. Gently stretch the dough to open up the holes and allow the fougasse to rise for another 45 minutes. You can brush with oil or cover with cling film, but make sure it doesn’t touch the dough.
My two fougasses are ready to bake, can you see the wheat pattern? They are really beautiful, albeit uneven, but that’s their beauty. Bake in a preheated static oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20-25 minutes. And while they’re baking, let’s see together the ingredients needed for this recipe.
Ingredients for 2 fougasses
For the sponge
- 1 cup (140 g) of bread flour
- 6 tbsp (90 ml) of water
- ¾ tsp (3 g) of active dry yeast
For the main dough
- 1 ½ cups (200 g) of bread flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) of lukewarm water
- 1 ⅓ tbsp (20 g) of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp (10 g) of salt