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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

French Fougasse

Ready and waiting to be eaten
Fougasse is a delicious type of bread that you get in France, that is often stuffed with different fillings - my favourite is made with bacon and shallots. I used purchase this in Paul bakeries on trips to London and was disappointed when they changed it from being a large tear and share bread, to a personal sized tear and keep bread! I can't find it in Manchester and so I decided to make my own! (And for some reason I just read that in Jeremy Clarkson's voice!). What better reason to make it than for the French society's French food evening? Grace came over to help, and make her own contribution, a Moroccan salad, and between us, we made 6 fougasse that were so good we decided not to take many of them with us to the food evening (none got eaten there anyway as I arrived late and all the other food had already gone!).

The risen dough
They taste best fresh out of the oven but if you want to keep them a day or so then sprinkle them with water and place in a hot oven for 5 minutes before you serve them. I'm just going to include the basic recipe for 1 fougasse but it is very easy to scale up and you can add whatever fillings you like, or use the ones suggested below. I can't credit any one recipe with my inspiration for this as I looked at many and combined aspects from a few of them.

Ready to add the filllings 
Makes one
Oven at 210°C
You could add: a handful of chopped olives, sautéed lardons/pieces of bacon and shallots; dried herbs; cheeses; sundries tomatoes; zaatar and olive oil; chopped nuts (especially walnuts); the possibilities are endless!

250g bread flour, plus extra for dusting/kneading
5g salt
5g instant yeast
1tbsp olive oil, plus more to brush over the top
200ml water at room temperature

The leaf-like cuts
Place the flour in a large bowl and put the salt on one side and the yeast on the other (salt kills yeast if it's in direct contact).
Pour in the olive oil and about ¾ of the water and knead (preferably using a kitchen aid or hand held electric which with dough hook attachments) until smooth and elastic. Add more of the water if the dough is dry.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Prepare and cool your filling in the meantime.
Heat oven to 210°C.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and stretch so you can place your filling in the centre and wrap the dough into a ball around it.
Knead the dough so that the filling in evenly distributed and then use a rolling pin to make it into an oval shape, about 1cm thick.
Using a pizza cutter make tears in the bread, about 5cm long, in a leaf-esque pattern (see photos).
Place on greaseproof paper lined oven trays and brush with olive oil.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until risen and browned.

Carefully does it

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I love to cook and this blog follows my successes (and a few failures) in the kitchen. If you enjoy my posts, or think there is a problem with a recipe then please let me know