So far I’ve spent a solid part of my French cooking course blissfully immersed in flour, yeast and butter. Rachel Demuth has shown us how to make some classic French pastries such as croissants, brioche and pan au chocolat. But it was our break from butter with this French Fougasse that really got my attention.
Fougasse is a flat bread much like Italian pizza crust, only shaped into a leaf-like pattern which works amazingly well for dipping into soup. Made simply with flour, olive oil, salt, yeast and water, Fougasse is also traditionally vegan (that is until you smear it with brie, camembert or butter).
We also made some stuffed Fougasse filled with ratatoulli and topped with black olives. I LOVED THIS STUFF. It reminded me of a calzoni, had strong eat-with-your-hands appeal, and was much easier to make than pizza. Here’s a recipe… enjoy!
- 1 Tbsp dried active yeast
- pinch of sugar
- 350 ml warm water
- 500g white bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Mix the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for a few minutes, until the yeast starts to foam.
- Add the flour, salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a clean, dry surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
- Pour some olive oil into the bowl and pop the dough back into it, turning the dough so that it gets a coating of oil.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to prove, preferably in a warm spot, for 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface.
- For traditional Fougasse, divide the dough into four pieces and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten the dough into rough triangles and make make diagonal slits on each like a leaf pattern as shown below.
- For stuffed fougasse, divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten into a disk.
Add a generous amount of stuffing to the centre of each disk (we used ratatoulli) then pull up the edges of the dough and pinch the folds together, leaving a small hole on top. Top with olives or cheese if you’d like!
- Cover the dough with clingfilm and prove for another half an hour or so. Meanwhile, turn on the oven as hot as it will go.
- Bake the Fougasse for about 15 minutes or until golden and delicious. Eat and enjoy!