Sun dried tomato fougasse
Fougasse bread stems from ancient Rome where it was a form of flat bread often used to test the temperature of wood fired ovens, the shape of the bread represents a leaf. Fougasse in France often had the addition of cheeses, olives and herbs and is seen as a primitive pizza before the discovery of tomatoes in South America. This version of Fougasse does include both cheese and sun dried tomatoes, I love the crispness of the crust and the attractive finish of the bread which makes a great center piece
Yield (makes): One loaf (12 people)
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
3 ¼ cups (360 g) Strong white bread flour
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon dried yeast
2 ounces (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
½ cup (100 g) Sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (chopped)
¾ cup (75 g) Parmesan cheese (grated)
1. Mix the yeast, sugar and a small amount of the warm water together in a bowl to activate the yeast.
2. Mix together the flour, Parmesan cheese; sun dried tomatoes, chopped thyme and salt.
3. Add the yeast mixture and then the rest of the warm water and olive oil to the flour, Parmesan cheese and salt mixture.
4. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth dough is formed; remove from the mixing bowl onto a floured surface.
5. Knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes until it takes on a more elastic, stretchy character.
6. Place in a floured bowl and cover with cling film, leave to prove in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 20 minutes. (This will take longer if using dried yeast)
7. As soon as the dough has doubled in size it is time to "knock it back", this is done by kneading the dough for another 5 minutes to remove all of the large air bubbles and evenly distribute the small air bubbles.
8. Roll out the dough into a large tear drop shape which is about ½ an inch (2 cm) thick. Make three symmetrical slashes through the dough at an angle either side of the middle and make one final slash at the top in the middle, there should be a total 7 slashes. Transfer the dough to a lined baking sheet and gently pull apart the slashes to make slight holes.
10. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and leave to double in size once more in a warm place.
11. Once the bread has doubled in size it can brushed with olive oil.
12. Bake at 200°c/400F for 15 minutes turning the bread halfway through, to check if the bread is cooked pick it up and tap the bottom of the loaf if it makes a hollow sound its done, if the sound is more dense then the chances are its not fully cooked so return it to the oven for a few minutes to finish it off.
13. Once the bread is cooked remove from the oven and brush with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt to finish.
Add some chopped black olives at stage 2 for a sun dried tomato and black olive fougasse
Try adding a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and half a finely chopped onion at stage two instead of the sun dried tomatoes for a cheese and onion fougasse