Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fougasse sur Plaque

Fougasse is a yeasted flat bread, similar to focaccia, but originating from Southern France. The recipe I used is from The American Boulangerie by Pascal Rigo. Rigo is a San Francisco baker and restaurant owner. You can top fougasse with lots of things--tomatoes, olives, zucchini, peppers, or even a sweet version with grapes. I used fresh rosemary and some grated Pecorino Romano.

This fougasse is so delicious--I think it's one of my favorite bread recipes so far. It has a thin, crispy crust surrounding a lovely fluffy interior. It's extremely flavorful but not heavy or greasy at all. If you've been wanting to bake some bread but have been hesitating, this is a forgiving recipe since you just press the dough into a pan. Add the flour a bit at a time though since you may not need the full amount. I ended up using quite a bit less than the recipe calls for. You want a nice soft dough, not sticky, but very malleable.

At first glance, the recipe may seem a bit overwhelming if you're a novice bread maker. So, here's an overview of the steps involved in making the fougasse. You can see that it's really not difficult at all!

Mix and knead the dough in a stand mixer (or by hand)-----> 15-20 minutes

Let the dough rise-----> about 2 hours

Press the dough into a baking sheet-----> 5-10 minutes

Second rise-----> about 2 hours

Add toppings and bake-----> about 30 minutes

Cool slightly-----> 5 minutes


Fougasse sur Plaque
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
3/4 ounce compressed fresh yeast (you can use dry yeast, just look up the conversion)
1/4 cup sourdough starter (optional)
3 ounces European-style butter, softened (I used olive oil)
3 tablespoons olive, plus additional for brushing on top
5 1/4 cups organic white flour (I used all-purpose)
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together 1/4 cup of the water and the yeast. Let rest until the yeast is creamy, about 5 minutes. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit with a dough hook. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, starter, butter, 3 tablespoons oil, flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed, turning the machine on and off a few times, until it seems that the flour will stay in the bowl and not fly about. Increase the speed to medium and mix, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until the dough is soft and slightly elastic, and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large, floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise, at room temperature, until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F and line a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Fold the dough over on itself to deflate it, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Press and stretch the dough into a rough rectangle. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and using your hands, pull and stretch the dough until it is the size of the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, dimple the entire surface of the dough. Generously brush with olive oil, and the let rise, uncovered, at room temperature until doubled in height, about 2 hours.

Once again, dimple the surface of the dough with your fingertips , and brush with olive oil. Add any toppings. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

(Once cooled, extra fougasse can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature, and then warm in a 350F oven before serving.)

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious! I've been wanting to make fougasse.