Here I am presenting to you one of the yummiest breads out there: the French fougasse! Ok, I must admit that I have been very generous with bread recipes in my two years of blogging. I can’t help it. Bread is a starter’s or tapas’ best friend! And it’s my best friend, too. No doubts about that. That is one of the main reasons why I always love to have a piece of good bread at home. And now imagine the wonderful smell when it comes right out of the oven, being amplified by Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. Indescribable! It takes me back to our recent trip to beautiful Provence..
Fougasse could be considered as the French version of the Italian focaccia given their similarities. It comes in different varieties. On top of the herbs, I chose to add an alternative to the French lardon – bacon or larding fat. I still had some capocollo left from Italy – an Italian pork cold cut – which can also be simply replaced by pancetta, or bacon. Again, this is not a must. Feel free to go for the meat-free version. As you prefer. In case you are wondering what to eat it with, here are some tasty ideas! You can either start off with this tomato salad, or these grilled eggplants. For the olive addicts like me, you can go for even more olives with this paste. And what about some good French cheese? Or ricotta?
Get ready to spoil your senses with these wonderful flavors!
- 400g / 14oz of flour
- 10g of fresh yeast or 3g of dry yeast
- 1½ tsp of salt
- 250ml / 8½fl oz of lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp of (extra-virgin) olive oil
- 2 tbsp of black olives, chopped
- 1 full tsp of rosemary, chopped
- 1 full tsp of thyme, chopped
- 1 full tsp of oregano
- 1 full tsp of bacon, chopped (optional)
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the olive oil.
- Mix 1/3 of the lukewarm (!) water with the yeast. Make sure that the water is not hot, and that the yeast has completely dissolved.
- Then stir into the flour mix. Add the remaining water.
- Knead until you get a smooth dough. Add a little more flour if too wet, or more water if too dry.
- Add the herbs, and keep kneading until smooth.
- Sprinkle generously with flour, cover and let it rest in a warm place for about 1h.
- Preheat the oven at 240°C / 464°F.
- Place the dough on a previously flour sprinkled (wood) surface.
- Knead in the chopped olives until they are evenly distributed.
- Cut into two or three parts, depending on the size of bread that you prefer.
- Place one part on a baking pan (either layered with baking paper or greased with oil).
- Press into an oval or rectangular shape.
- Make diagonal cuts on both sides (see pictures). Gently pull the dough apart, in order to make the cuts look bigger.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Using a brush or a little bundle of rosemary or thyme, cover the surface of the fougasse generously with olive oil.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- You can freeze any leftover bread, and bake again for a few minutes only, before serving.