The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fougasse with refrigerated dough

davesmall's picture

Fougasse with refrigerated dough

I like to keep bread dough in the refrigerator at all times so I can make something on a whim. 'Something' often means a pizza, ciabatta, pita bread, or fougasse. My favorite is a wetter version of the boule dough recipe in the book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day. My recipe is 2 pounds flour (I use General Mills Harvest King), 28 fluid ounces water, 1.5 tablespoons instant yeast, and 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt. Mix together but don't bother kneading. Let rise two hours. Punch down and refrigerate overnight or for up to two weeks.  I keep it in a plastic shoe box. Once you have this dough you can tear off a piece and make a variety of delicious eats. (note: See my pizza recipe using this same dough

Today I made a simple Fougasse which is a staple on the French Riviera. 

This is so easy and so delicious. Tear off a 1 to 1.5 pound piece of your refrigerated dough. Stretch and fold four or five times on a well floured surface. The dough will be sticky so use plenty of flour. Form a log about 13 inches long and press down so it is about 3 to 4 inches wide. I form the loaf on a Silpat Silicone non-stick mat on a cookie sheet but parchment paper works just as well. Cut slits with a pastry knife and spead the dough as shown in the photo so the three legs are wide apart and won't stick together when the dough rises. Cover with a clean damp dish towel and let the dough rise for one to two hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush the dough with water using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or so until nicely browned.

Prepare a dip with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and one crushed garlic clove. 

Serve hot out of the oven. Tear off a piece and dip in the garlicky olive oil. This is really delicious. The bread has a crispy crust with a chewy center and fairly large holes. The salt and the olive oil make a great marriage.

wally's picture

Fougasse is one of my favorite fun breads.  Like pizza without the sauce.  Nice job!  Try with some nicoise olives if you like olives.


davesmall's picture

Hi Larry - Yes I know there are variations to Fougasse and olives are one of the most popular. But I like this recipe plain with the coarse sea salt.

Hope you'll try the recipe and let me know how you like it.

davesmall's picture

Fougasse is very forgiving. You can mix herbs or olives in the dough and you can vary the toppings as you have done.

There is a French Bistro in Houston that serves Fougasse fresh out of the oven. The owner immigrated to Texas from Nice on the French Riviera. Their Fougasse is so good that it's a reason to dine at that restaurant. They serve it hot straight out of their wood burning brick oven. The simple shape in the photo above was inspired by their version. So was the sprinkling of sea salt on top. Served hot out of the oven with a garlicky good quality olive oil for dipping and your guests will love it. I have to make two loaves, one for my son and one for the rest of us :-)

I've experimented and found that it comes out best when you use a very wet Ciabatta type dough which yields a nice crust with chewy center. When shaping the loaf you do need to spread the legs as far apart as you can or they will grow together as the dough expands. I use a cookie sheet with non-stick silicone liner and I don't use steam. However, I do brush the loaf with water just before sprinkling with coarse sea salt so the dough is wet when popped into the oven. 

You can also make fancier shapes with more slits as Leucadian has done. However, if you travel to the French Riviera, I think you're more likely to find a simple shape with 3 or 4 legs as shown above. Even street vendors sell Fougasse there.

davesmall's picture

Fougasse seems to have become our family favorite and most demanded. Here is another edition made with the same recipe. This time a larger four legged version. I used coarse Hawaiian Black Sea Salt which give it the color contrast and enables the salt to show up better in the photo.

Notice that the top leg in the photo is only about half the width of the bottom leg. I did a poor job cutting the slits to form the legs. However, the bread was still good eating even though not symmetrical. 


Fougasse Variation

nycbaker11's picture

Looks great. Must try it soon