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French Fougasse

One year ago, if you told me I would be making Fougasse, I would have laughed at the possibility. The idea of having to wait hours for a piece of bread just wasn’t my.. thing. And yet, here I am today, knee deep into this amazing world of food blogging with no plans of going back; making my own bread! And a pretty good one at that. Fougasse (pronounced as foo-gaas) is a French bread similar to the Italian Focaccia. It may look like a leaf, a tree or wheat stalk (or any shape you prefer). The slits in the bread make it easy to pull apart once baked! And I made it! :D
Let’s call this Fougasse – Attempt #1#, shall we? Yep, there will be many more attempts including other flavors & ingredients in the dough. For now, I’m satisfied with a simple Fougasse (no add-ons). It is simple and yet so impressive looking with a texture that is crunchy on the outside and soft & fluffy on the inside! The bread is rustic and so pretty to bring to the table!
Following a recipe is one thing and skill is another. You generally don’t need any special skill to cook, if you’re following a recipe to the *T*. However, when it comes to handling the bread dough, shaping it & baking it, you need an extra oomph factor! :D As much as I’d like to be the Queen of handling dough, I’m just not there yet. But hey! It takes practice to improve and I’m not stopping until I’ve mastered Bread making! :D

I made a starter for this recipe. However, you could use any Pizza / Baguette dough & just shape it like a Fougasse too.

Let’s just see how to make a simple herbed Fougasse bread, shall we?

STEP I: The STARTER

In a bowl, add half the flour, yeast, a pinch of sugar & salt.

Give it a quick mix.

Add lukewarm water

Beat / Mix well for 2-3 minutes until it resembles a smooth batter.

Close & leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours. The batter will ferment and look like this -

 

STEP II: The FOUGASSE DOUGH

Once the starter has fermented, give it a quick mix

Add the remaining dough, herb-mix, remaining salt, oil, water.

Mix well until it starts to come together.

Knead it to a smooth, soft dough. (about 5-10 minutes)

Place in an oiled bowl, close with a damp cloth & let it rise for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size. Then punch it down

 

STEP III: Shaping the FOUGASSE

You could shape it like a leaf, a tree bark or any flat shape & make slits. If you can manage, you could even make a thinner flatbread. Since it was my 1st time, I made a comparatively thicker bread. I also didn’t wanna risk ruining the shape. So I directly placed the dough on my baking sheet lined with Parchment paper & shaped it there.

On a baking sheet, apply a bit of oil & line with parchment paper. Place the dough in the center. Give it a rough shape like a leaf with your hands.

Instead of flouring the dough, flour the rolling pin. Use it to roll out the dough to a flatbread. Roll even;y while making sure the leaf shape retains.

With you hands, define the shape more perfectly into a leaf.

If you have a dough scraper, use that. Or with a knife, make slits. Make one slit in the center, leaving 1-2 inches in the bottom AND top.

Make slits on both sides like a leaf.

This is what mine looked like.

With your fingers, pull each slit further apart to form wide gaps and look more like a leaf.

Sprinkle some more Herbs on top.

Let the dough rest that way for 20-30 minutes.

Brush the top with some melted butter. (or egg wash or olive oil)

In your pre-heated oven, bake the bread at 200C  for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is fully cooked. Remove the parchment paper

Brush the top with more melted butter or olive oil & serve warm

5.0 from 3 reviews
French Fougasse
 
Serves: 1 bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (200 grams) All Purpose Flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 2-3 TBsp Herbes de Provence (mixture of dry herbs) (use any herbs you have)
  • ½ tsp Instant Yeast
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • ¾ cup (150 ml) Lukewarm Water
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • Melted Butter (to brush the top)
Instructions
with this amount, you could make 1 medium or 2 small sized fougasse
STEP I: The STARTER
  1. In a bowl, add half the flour (100 grams), yeast, a pinch of sugar & a pinch of salt & give it a quick mix.
  2. Add 100 ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm water
  3. Beat / Mix well for 2-3 minutes until it resembles a smooth batter.
  4. Close & leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours. The batter will ferment.
STEP II: The FOUGASSE DOUGH
  1. Once the starter has fermented, give it a quick mix
  2. Add the remaining dough, herb-mix, remaining salt, oil, water.
  3. Mix well until it starts to come together.
  4. Knead it to a smooth, soft dough. (about 5-10 minutes)
  5. Place in an oiled bowl, close with a damp cloth & let it rise for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size. Then punch it down
STEP III: Shaping the FOUGASSE
  1. You could shape it like a leaf, a tree bark or any flat shape & make slits. If you can manage, you could even make a thinner flatbread. Since it was my 1st time, I made a comparatively thicker bread. I also didn't wanna risk ruining the shape. So I directly placed the dough on my baking sheet lined with Parchment paper & shaped it there.
  2. On a baking sheet, apply a bit of oil & line with parchment paper. Place the dough in the center. Give it a rough shape like a leaf with your hands.
  3. Instead of flouring the dough, flour the rolling pin. Use it to roll out the dough to a flatbread. Roll even;y while making sure the leaf shape retains.
  4. With you hands, define the shape more perfectly into a leaf.
  5. If you have a dough scraper, use that. Or with a knife, make slits. Make one slit in the center, leaving 1-2 inches in the bottom AND top.
  6. Make slits on both sides like a leaf.
  7. With your fingers, pull each slit further apart to form wide gaps and look more like a leaf.
  8. Sprinkle some more Herbs on top.
  9. Let the dough rest that way for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Brush the top with some melted butter. (or egg wash or olive oil)
  11. In your pre-heated oven, bake the bread at 200C for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is fully cooked.
  12. Take the bread out & brush the top with olive oil (or melted butter) and sprinkle some more herbs & serve warm

I baked this for our Avant Garde Cookies theme for this month – Bread Baking! Check out what my friends are baking – Roshni, Priya S, Priya M, Radhika, Anusha, Veena & Jayanthi

About the author: Food Blogger, Recipe developer, Meal Planner .. and Chief Eating Officer! ;-)

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Padmini January 18, 2013, 10:20 am

    wow.. this is spectacular! love the beautiful shape!

  • Anusha January 12, 2013, 11:20 pm

    I m loving that fougasse and i ll take the leaf shape please!

  • Amelia January 9, 2013, 8:24 am

    Hi Kavi, awesome! Look so tempting and I like the leaf shape, so cute.
    Have a nice day.

  • Suman Arthy January 8, 2013, 9:31 pm

    Awesome preparation dear…looks too good…

  • Love2cook Malaysia January 8, 2013, 6:33 pm

    Hello Kavi! How are you dear? Hey you rocked this recipe dear! New to me but am loving it! ;)

  • Sanoli Ghosh January 8, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Amazing pictorials, step by step presentation. And you made fougasse very perfectly dear….

    today’s recipe:
    http://sanolisrecipies.blogspot.in/2013/01/roasted-eggplant-with-tomato-begun.html

  • meena January 8, 2013, 1:37 pm

    wow u r getting expert here

    i m stil unable to make even simple pav bun and u hv progressed so fast
    too good and tempting me to try that pav bun again
    and i see u used butter paper direct on the trun table
    it doesnt burn does it

    also can we use the same butter paper on turn table to make or bake cutlets
    wont it burn

    u know why i ask u as ur and my oven is same thts why

    bt this is way too good

    100/100

  • Zoe January 8, 2013, 9:14 am

    I enjoy seeing your precise step-by-step tutorial making your Fougasse… very nice!

  • Nandita Pai Shirali January 7, 2013, 11:55 pm

    This looks absolutely fab Kavi :) I love baking my own bread too… and I can jus imagine how happy u wud have been by this great output! :)

  • Sarojini January 7, 2013, 10:56 pm

    Wow; amazing-looking loaf! I think you are good at handling dough, well done :)

  • Archana January 7, 2013, 10:04 pm

    New to me. Love it looks like I am going to thenext one to try it out. :)

  • Faseela January 7, 2013, 9:40 pm

    wow…Kavi fabulous bread…

  • What's Baking?? January 7, 2013, 6:48 pm

    I like the way you make it into a leaf. Well done.

  • Priya Sreeram January 7, 2013, 6:26 pm

    love it kavi; you gal rock

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