The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

fougasse ideas and tips please!

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Sadassa_Ulna's picture
Sadassa_Ulna

fougasse ideas and tips please!

I started making "plain" fougasse using wild yeast levain; I began a few weeks ago when my baguette dough was more slack than usual. It was so tasty - all that crust - that I have been experimenting ever since.

I would love to hear your add-ins and salt proportions. Also, what would be the most "authentic" fougasse flavors.

One problem I have is finding a method of transfer. The first fougasse I made I shaped it on parchment paper then transferred the whole thing (paper and all) to the pre-heated baking surface. Another time I turned a baking sheet upside and oiled it up, then shaped the fougasse on that; then I put the [not pre-heated] sheet in the oven. The latter method worked very well and the oil really made it tasty but I am curious to know if there are other methods.

Last, because I am using wild levain, I am trying to figure out when the best time to start shaping is. In my last experiment I had left the dough in a bowl out on the counter, and by the time I took it out is was SO airy and definitely at peak. I quickly shaped it and baked it - and it was delicious - but I am guessing that the shaping took some air out. My question is how many minutes or hours do I let it sit AFTER I've shaped it?

Thank you for reading this,

S_U

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Try adding fine corn meal (or polenta) to the flour on your bench when you form the fougasse.  Then sprinkle some on top.  It makes it very crispy and tasty.

proth5's picture
proth5

the region most known for fougasse - herbs de provence would make a lovely topping. Also, I generally add about 10% of olive oil to what reads like a baguette dough to make fougasse.

Other than plain - I enjoy making fougasse with oil cured olives (or any olive from the region) and during the late fall when I render leaf fat to make lard - with the cracklings left over from that process. (10-15% of either by weight to the dough).

Pretszel salt, while not traditional, might also be nice.  If you wanted to stay true to the terroir, you might want to try "fleur du sel du Camargue."

One key to getting the lovely shape for which fougasse is known is to let it proof and then elongate it and cut the slits after proofing.  Yes, you will knock some air out of it - but that is in keeping with the nature of the bread.

I put mine on parchment and then use a peel to transfer that to a baking stone.

Hope this helps.

Marty's picture
Marty

This is from the PBS program "Baking with Julia". A baker named Craig Kominiak made a fougasse. In the book of the same name he does all of the cutting first. He then brushes with oil and adds herbs and salt. The rest before baking is ten minutes. This was for a yeast dough so it may not help you, but I thought I'd mention it.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Try adding strips of roasted (blackened then peeled) capsicum (sweet, usually red bell peppers) with black olives and feta, or sun-dried tomatoes and olives, or walnuts, goat cheese and capsicum, or chorizo, onion and olives.

Sadassa_Ulna's picture
Sadassa_Ulna

Thanks for the tips and ideas everyone, they sound great.

Fatmat's picture
Fatmat

This isn't fancy or classy, but sometimes, straight out of the oven,  I brush mine with melted butter, finely chopped garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. 

Koochiching's picture
Koochiching

I make the Italian version in my bread machine, dump the finished dough on a large silicone baking mat, then punch it into the required shape and thickness.  I let it rise for about an hour, then use a wooden spoon handle to punch many deep depressions in the risen surface.  I sprinkle on olive oil, coarse salt and a few powdered herbs, and let it rise again for about 30 minutes.  Then, using Ove' Gloves, I pick up both sides of the silicone mat under the completed bread loaf, and place the mat and its contents on a pizza stone in my preheated oven.  About 28 minutes later I can remove the finished loaf and place the silicone mat in the sink to cool off.  I find that wet hands dipped in cornmeal make the shaping much easier...

Although my silicone mat is less than 1/16 inch thick, it has been used many times without any ill effects.

kooch