Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bread Baking Babes bake Fougasse

Yes it's World Bread Day today.... but also the publishing day of our monthly Bread Baking Babes assignment. So now for the Bread Baking Babe post! This month Elizabeth gave us a free hand in baking, as long as it was a Fougasse. So what's Fougasse all about? CRUST! Cuts in the dough give us more crust and less crumb and as it's almost a flat bread... even more crust.

We could use our favorite dough recipe to make the fougasse, and fill it with the filling of our choice (or leave it plain). Make a ladder or a leaf shape. I like the leaf shape best, but as I made plenty of those already, I decided to make the ladder one this time. It was also easier to get them on the stone side by side this way. I did not fill it, 'cause I just made some hummus that went really well with it.

If you like crusts too, bake along and sent your entry to Elizabeth. (deadline 29 October). Take a peak at the other Fougasse that the Babes baked. (Links in the side bar)

(makes two)
  • Your Favourite Bread Dough
  • Corn Meal
  • pizza stone, vaguely optional but highly recommended
Mix, knead and allow your favourite bread dough to rise to double. If you are adding anything like olives, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, caramelized garlic cloves and/or walnuts, mix them into the dough near the end of kneading it or on the first turn of the dough. If you are wanting herbs/spices on top, please add them just before baking.
  1. Shaping: About an hour before baking the fougasse, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and press it out into an oval (or a rectangle; or a circle). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1 cm (1/2 in.) thick.
  2. Sprinkle corn meal  on the peel - or an upside-down cookie sheet. Lay the shaped dough on the peel. Using a pizza wheel and "swift, decisive strokes" cut a design of a leaf or ladder into the dough. Take care not to cut through the outer edges. From the edges, pull the dough outwards to make sure the cuts are spaced. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and allow to rise. (Robertson allows the shaped bread to rise first and does the slashes at the last minute. Naturally, because of my stellar reading skills, I didn't notice that until I had already made fougasse several times by slashing it directly after shaping it.) ³
  3. Just Before Baking: Drizzle with olive oil and scatter coarsely ground sea salt over top. (You can also do this step just after the bread is baked; that is what Robertson suggests. Or you can forget to add the olive oil at all, as I did the last time.)
  4. Baking in the Oven: Put a pizza stone on the middle or top shelf of the oven and turn it to 400F (200C). Transfer the fougasse onto the hot stone and bake for about 15 minutes, turning it around at least once to account for uneven oven heat.
  5. When the fougasse done, remove it from the heat and allow to cool on a well-ventilated rack. To serve, break it apart and dip it into good quality olive oil with herbs if you want.

(inspired by Chad Robertson's fougasse recipe on page 139 in "Tartine Bread" and Patricia Wells' fougasse recipe on page 191 in "Patricia Wells at Home in Provence")
I used this dough:
Focaccia Dough

1 tsp dry yeast
300-330 g water
1 TBsp olive oil
1 tsp malt syrup
350 g bread flour
140 g whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients in a spiral mixer until you have a souple dough. Place in a  greased bowl, cover and let rise until it doubles.

(based on the focaccia recipe in "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field)


Karen Baking Soda said...

Hmm Ilike that ladder shape! And hummus.. love hummus! Too bad I'm the only one here. Nice and golden Lien!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

We've come up with great new fillings/flavorings I now have to try.
After this I must try the ladder ;-)
Variety is the spice of life.
Gorgeous ladder Lien!

Elizabeth said...

Excellent. I love how dark gold it is. And the ladder shape is easily as beautiful as the leaf shape.

Hummmmmmmus... must make hummus....

NKP said...

Mmm, beautiful crusty ladder! Looks wonderful, Lien. ☺

Astrid said...

Lovely shape Lien! :)

Katie Zeller said...

Now THIS is the bread to have with foie gras - why didn't I think of that earlier? Looks wonderful.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

That looks delicious with the hummus, and perfectly shaped!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

i enjoyed making the ladder, too. And hummus is a great accompaniment!