Fougasse

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After a couple of unusually hot days in California, I couldn’t help but feel some anticipation for summer. I spent the weekend by the pool, bbq-ing, indulging in my favorite ice cream, and watching travel videos of the French Riviera. I also made this delicious French olive bread, fougasse. 

Fougasse

I love watching those travel guide films, especially when they share views of the beautiful lavender fields of Provence and glimmering turquoise waters of the Cote d’Azur.

To quell my pressing need for a dose of Southern France, I made this Provencal olive bread called fougasse. Eating the flavorful bread, warm out the oven, I could almost feel the sea breeze on my face and smell the lavender trailing through the air.

fougasse

Fougasse is the French equivalent of Italian focaccia bread, as it’s made with fresh herbs and good olive oil.

Fougasse differs, however, in that it usually has more than just herbs in its dough. Additions can range from chopped olives to lardons (bacon) and fromage (cheese).

In this classic version, I utilized rosemary, thyme, and oregano, along with some delectable mixed olives. The combination is absolutely intoxicating.

fougasse fougasse

This recipe yields 2 “loaves” of fougasse, but no one can be sure since it always seems to disappear faster than one can count.

You’ll notice the fougasse is also shaped a bit differently, but it’s nothing to be weary of. The dough is simply stretched into an oval shape and then slashed in specific areas to make the bread look like an ear of wheat.

I’m never too concerned with how the bread looks. Instead, I enjoy the pattern of the bread for the ease it lends to tearing this bread apart into bite-size pieces.

This is the kind of bread that’s perfect for a tapas gathering, where the group is intimate and everyone can enjoy picking at this delightful bread throughout the evening.

fougasse

Fougasse

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 46 minutes

A Provencal bread infused with the flavor of olives and shaped to look like an ear of wheat. 

Ingredients

  • 14 oz . all-purpose flour, just under 4 cups
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 250 ml warm water, a little over 1 cup, 115°F
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 2 tbsp chopped olives

Instructions

  1. To a measuring cup filled with the warm water, add the yeast. Give it a gentle stir, then let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and herbs in a large bowl. Once the yeast is frothy, pour the yeast mixture into the flour, along with the olive oil, and stir the dough with a wooden spoon until it starts coming together into a ball shape.
  3. Grease your work surface with olive oil and turn the dough out onto this surface. The dough may still look somewhat shaggy, this is OK. Use the heel of your hand to knead the dough into a smooth ball. If it's still looking shaggy after a couple of attempts to make it look smooth, drizzle a little more olive oil and knead again.
  4. Grease a large bowl, then transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rest for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease with olive oil. Regrease your work surface (if needed) and turn out your dough onto the surface. Slightly stretch the dough out into rectangular shape. Add the chopped olives, then fold the dough corners in to sort of "seal" the olives in. Knead the dough, turning it over every now and then, to evenly disperse the olives throughout the dough.
  6. Split the dough in half. Loosely cover one half with a sheet of plastic wrap and let it be. Take the other half of dough and transfer it to your prepared baking sheet. Stretch out the dough into an oval shape. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and make a vertical cut down the center of the dough (not enough to split the dough in half, but just create a divide in the center - refer to photos). Make 3 separate, smaller cuts along each side of the center (again, refer to photos). Brush the bread with some olive oil.
  7. Bake the bread for 16 to 20 minutes, until golden throughout. Repeat the shaping and slashing for the remaining half of dough. Then bake as instructed.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 909
fougasse

33 thoughts on “Fougasse”

  1. hi so there is only one proofing time (one hour) , we don’t have to cover and let the dough proof a secod time after shaping and before baking? and for that one hour proofing time, what are we looking for, is for it to get double in size? thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Sylvia! That’s correct, just one proof. And yes, you’ll want to look for dough that’s expanded in size. It’s best to store your dough in a warm, draft-free environment for this to happen. I like to turn on the oven’s warm setting for 30 seconds, then turn it off. Then I put the dough in that environment for an hour. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I followed this recipe exactly and it did not turn to it well at all. I questioned the amount of yeast (just 1 t for almost 4 cups of flour) but followed the instructions anyway. No bueno. Will try again with a more standard amount of yeast.

    Reply
    • Hi Susan, I’m sorry your bread didn’t turn out the way you wanted. The yeast is correct – many fougasse recipes will range from 1 tsp to 1.75 tsp of active dry yeast. This is because fougasse isn’t a bread that is supposed to get much height. I’ve never had trouble with this amount of yeast and flour, so I would try also testing your yeast next time to make sure it’s really bubbly and frothy to ensure it’s activated well. If the temperature of your water is too warm, it can kill the yeast and if it’s too cool, it will never activate it. Hope you have more luck next time! 🙂

      Reply
  3. This bread is very delicious soft inside crusty outside. I used my bread machine to make the dough , then followed the shaping instructions . I did add extra olives just personal preference . I guess I didn’t make my cuts deep enough as they filled in while baking. I have been baking bread for 2 years and haven’t bought any since then. I do find that your instructions need to be a little more detailed. Example how big should the first rectangle be, how big should each oval be . Also your total time of 46 minutes can’t be correct as the I initial rise is one hour. I think an inexperienced baker would have difficulty . However an experienced bread maker will figure things out themselves

    Reply
    • Hi Cheryl! Thanks so much for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the bread. 🙂 Just a note for all recipes on this site…the timing listed is only for preparation and cooking…the recipe card doesn’t list any kind of resting time. While it might not feel accurate as a whole, I find that if I incorporate the resting time into the prep time, many readers are turned off and think that something like “2 hours” of preparation, for example, is all hands-on work. 🙂

      Reply
  4. There’s a bakery (we have two in this small town of Kittery, Maine, I absolutely LOVE both of them!) that is along the route I take my dog for a walk, and they have this fantastic fougasse. I usually get two big ones and eat them all day. I absolutely love it. But the are not that cheap ($5.95 for a big one and $4 for a small one, small one doesn’t even make me happy). So I googled the recipe and there are many. But I am going to try your recipe first (cause yours is the first “personal” blog on the list, and I trust personal blog recipes more than flour company’s or cooking channels). Hopefully it will come out as good looking as yours (since I don’t know what yours tastes like….sorry :P). Will definitely let you know!!

    Reply
    • That’s so neat that you can even find this bread near you – what a treat! I hope you enjoy the recipe – I always love tearing off piece after piece of this one! 😉

      Reply
    • Would this be the Beach Pea? I went to college at UNH and I would always stop by to grab one of their fougasse. Usually finished it in a few hours with some chevre goat cheese. Delicious!

      Reply
      • Hi Meg! I’ve never been to the Beach Pea – I just looked it up. From the images, it looks like it’s the same. I mean if they call their bread fougasse, then I’m sure it is. It is certainly delicious with chevre! <3

    • Hi Cheryl! I’ve never made it in a bread machine so I can’t say for sure, but I would assume that it would be just fine! 🙂

      Reply
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  6. Ok… pinning, yumming, sharing! I not only love this recipe but the way the bread looks in that web-like pattern is just so stunning! I have a serious addiction to bread and just behind that are olives. So you can imagine how perfect this is for me. I’m in FL now visiting my husbands family (you want hot… come here!) 😉 But as soon as I get home – this is going in the oven!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kathleen! I’m with you on that addiction – this bread will definitely satisfy the craving!! And I hope you’re back in cool Cali now where you can enjoy this bread! XO

      Reply

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