No matter where I am, whether a restaurant or a farmer’s market, I am always on the hunt for unfamiliar foods that capture my interest. With its signature fern-like shape, fougasse has been on my to-bake list ever since I first spotted a stack at a Borough Market stall. Fougasse is a Provençal flatbread often considered the French version of focaccia with its olive oil and fresh herbs.
Wanting to stay true to the flavors of Provence, I baked a version with rosemary and green olives. The dough came together in no time including shaping and cutting the trademark slashes. The bread had an enticing rosemary aroma and a satisfying chew studded with bits of olives. The lattice form is perfect for sharing allowing guests to tear off chunks of fougasse.
Rosemary Olive Fougasse
Adapted from BBC GoodFood
17-1/2 ounces bread flour plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
10 green olives, pitted and chopped
1-1/2 cups warm water
semolina, for dusting
Olive oil, for brushing
Combine the flour, salt, yeast, rosemary and olives in a large bowl. Add water and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured worksurface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is elastic but still sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1-1/2 hours.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. On a worksurface dusted with flour and semolina, roll out the dough into 2 ovals about 1/2-inch thick. Place each oval on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a pizza wheel, cut a slit down the center of the oval without splitting it in half. Then make shorter diagonal slashes on either side of the center slit. Gently pull the dough to open up the slits. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush the dough with olive oil and bake each fougasse for 20 minutes until golden brown.