EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
Fougasse is a stunning French Flatbread with a crisp crust and a slightly chewy crumb. Easy to make it is pronounced as ‘foogaas’. This flatbread actually quite famous in the Provence region of France. However, it is believed that the it originates from the Rome. Panis focacius the Roman flatbread was cooked in the ashes of a wood burning hearth called focus.
What is Fougasse?
Fougasse is patted with the hands into a leaf shape and then cuts are made to resemble the veins of a leaf. The open areas actually help the flatbread to bake well to achieve that crispy crust. Intially, I thought that shaping the bread and the recipe must be difficult.. like most French Cuisine recipes are. But, how wrong I was! It is one of the easiest and yummiest flatbread that I have baked at home.
How To Enjoy Fougasse.
Hubby and I enjoyed the warm bread dipping it in some olive and balsamic vinegar mix. Leftovers was warmed up the next day and enjoyed with some soup. Serve it with stew, as a side bread, or with pasta. Mop up the sauce with the bread. Serve it as a part of your starter or appetizer with different cheeses and olives. Next on my list is melted brie with fougasse.
What Is Provencal Herbs/ Herbes De Provence?
As the flatbread is famous in the Provence I chose to use Provencal Herbs. Provencal Herbs is a mixture of thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory and lavender buds in some cases. I bought ready made Provencal Herbs and added lavender buds.
What Else Can You Add or Top Fougasse With?
Most fougasse are sprinkled on top with sea salt. You may use any fresh herbs on its own or a mixture. Add olives if you like. Sometimes grated cheese is added. However, it is mostly brushed liberally with olive oil. Sun dried tomatoes is another option.
How To Shape Fougasse?
Best way is with your hand. Using your fingers, pat the dough into a flat oval shape or any leaf shape you prefer. Watch the video below. Always use a sharp knife to make the cuts. Also open them up. Initially you may feel that the ‘holes’ are too big but remember that when the dough ferments again, the holes or cuts will become smaller.
A Bit About The Group:
In brief, every month a new theme is chosen by members. Furthermore, the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme.
As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group. The other participants try and guess the secret ingredients. Towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Additionally, members get to know each other and interact with them.
This Month’s Theme
This month Anu who blogs at Ente Thattukada suggested flatbread from India or International. I finally got down to making Fougasse for the theme. Anu made crispy and flaky Sindhi Koki which one can enjoy for breakfast or with any curry.
This month too I got two partners Poonam and Seema.
Poonam blogs at Annapurna, suggested that I use yeast and herbs as I had indicated that I wanted to bake a flatbread. As for Poonam, I suggested that she uses yogurt and salt to make a flatbread. With those two ingredients, she prepared a delicious Stuffed Garlic Bread.
Seema’s original partner had to back out so I gave her two ingredients to make her flatbread. With jowar(sorghum) flour and oil she made these delicious breakfast banth gobi jowar besan parathas. What I liked is she used purple cabbage. What an awesome idea.
Some More Flatbread Recipes On My Blog:
Check Out 26 different Flatbread Recipes from India.… yes India is a treasure trove when it comes to flatbread. There are way more than 26 varieties all over India.
Turkish Pide – a thin crispy flatbread best enjoyed with some white soft cheese, or any topping of your choice. Enjoy it with some coffee or tea or along with your meal.
Olive and Rosemary Focaccia is our family favourite.
Iranian Barbari Bread – a breakfast flatbread usually served with soft white cheese available locally and some Iranian jam.
My all time favourite are theplas, Gujarati flatbread.I make so many different varieties of them.. well have to as I make them once a week.
Pita bread is my all time favourite for sandwiches.
Homemade Wheat Flour Tortilla are easy to make and you can use any filling to make them into wraps, quesadilla, enchiladas, taco, etc.
Ingredients Required For Fougasse
- Flour – I have used all purpose flour. You may use a mixture of plain flour and wheat flour. Will need extra flour for dusting.
- Yeast – I have used Instant dry yeast. If you don’t use the instant type then you need to ferment it in the measured amount of warm water for 10 minutes before adding to the dough.
- Herbs – use any herbs of your choice, dried or fresh. I chose Herbes De Provence and added some dried lavender buds.
- Lavender buds – optional. Not necessary to add. I added as authentic herbes de Provence has some in it.
- Olive Oil – use good quality flavourful olive oil. Need some to add to the dough, for brushing on top before baking and some for greasing and brushing.
- Salt – I added normal salt in the dough. Used sea salt for the topping.
- Water – normal tap water but warm. It should not be too hot otherwise it will kill the yeast. If it is too cold then the yeast will not ferment.
Watch How To Make Fougasse
- 1½ cup plain flour
- 1 tsp instant active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
- ¼ tsp lavender buds
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- some flour for dusting
- some olive oil for greasing/brushing
PREPARATION OF THE DOUGH:
- Add flour, salt, instant yeast and herbs in a mixing bowl. Can add some lavender buds too if you wish.
- Add oil and rub into the dough.
- Add the warm water and make a dough.
- Dust the worktop with some flour.
- Knead the dough on the worktop for 5-10 minutes, till it is smooth and silky.
- If the dough is a bit sticky don't be tempted to add extra flour. Instead rub your hands with some olive oil and knead the dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball.
- Place it in the oiled bowl. Cover and allow it to ferment in a warm place.
- The dough should double in size. Mine took 2 hours. The time will depend on how warm or cold your kitchen is.
SHAPE THE DOUGH:
- Line a baking tray with some parchment paper. Brush it lightly with some oil.
- Dust the worktop with little flour again.
- Remove the dough from the bowl onto the worktop.
- Gently with your fingers, pat it into an oval shape.
- Transfer the flatbread to the prepared tray.
- Pat it some more into a leaf shape.
- Using a sharp knife make a cut in the middle of the leaf leaving about an inch or so intact at both ends.
- Make 3 diagonal cuts on both the sides to resemble the side veins of a leaf.
- Using your fingers, open up the cuts into wide holes.
- Brush the shaped dough with olive oil.
- Sprinkle some sea salt over it.
- Cover the tray with a damp cloth.
- Allow the shaped dough to ferment for 30-40 minutes, till it is double in size.
- When 10 minutes of the fermentation time is left, preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Bake the fougasse for 15-20 minutes till it is golden brown on top.
- Remove the fougasse from the oven.
- Place it on a wire mesh to cool a bit.
- Enjoy warm fougasse with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip or with some cheese. Can have it also with some soup, pasta, stew, etc.
- If you are not using instant active dry yeast, then you will need to ferment it in the warm water for 10 minutes. Then add to the flour.
- Add fresh herb/herbs of your choice.
- Add chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, cheese to the dough.
- For a crispy crust, brush the fougasse well with olive oil before baking.
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