french fridays with dorie: provençal olive fougasse

One of the things I want to do more of in the kitchen is bake bread. While much of the time involved in bread baking is waiting time, my waking hours at home are limited, and even recipes that rise in the refrigerator usually need a couple hours out of the fridge to rise before baking. That means the bread is never quite done to coincide with a meal. It frustrates me that I can’t make it happen.

I’m very excited about this week’s Dorie recipe. I might have found a workable option in fougasse. Fougasse is not a loaf of bread for sandwiches and taste, but it’s just right to accompany a meal. I would liken it to a French or Provençal foccacia. Timing-wise, once the dough has risen in the refrigerator overnight, it only takes 45 minutes or so from fridge to table. Warm yeasty bread with dinner. Awesome!

The yeast is proofed in warm water, then combined with olive oil and mixed in with the flour. I also want to add more whole grains to my diet, so I used half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour which seemed to work well. The KitchenAid did the work of kneading while I pitted and chopped oil-cured olives, minced fresh rosemary, and zested an orange to mix into the kneaded dough.

I don’t know what it is about them, but I really like oil-cured olives. They are so fragrant and soft. They sort of remind me of savory prunes (which I mean as a praise for them, not an insult).

The dough did need to spend an hour or so rising, but the bread proofing setting on my oven does a great job at that. The setting holds the temperature at 100 degrees F, and the inside of the oven is draft-free. I did this after dinner, before bedtime. Then it’s into the refrigerator for a minimum 6 hour chill or up to 3 days.

After the First Rise

Wednesday night, I made half the dough into my first fougasse, after it had spent nearly 48 hours in the fridge. I quickly rolled out a rectangle, made some decorative slashes, and let the bread rest for about 15 minutes while the oven preheated. The bread was brushed with olive oil and water, and sprinkled generously with coarse kosher salt. Then, it’s just 20 minutes in the oven and voilà! Warm bread with dinner. My fougasse accompanied a potato chip tortilla (Dorie’s recipe too).

Early this morning, I made four mini fougasses with the remaining half of the dough. I also sprinkled coarse grey sea salt on top instead of kosher salt. I like the sparkly effect. These will make the perfect individual accompaniments to today’s lunch.

Petit Fougasses

Having made on fougasse, my mind is wild with ideas of what I can do with this recipe. I make even smaller fougasses for individual lunch-time servings to go with a bowl of soup or a salad. I’m also salivating over other mix-ins, like sun-dried tomatoes, some hard cheese cubes, or abundant fresh herbs. Other suggestions anyone? I can’t wait to try this again.

To see how my fellow Doristas did with their fougasses, check their link at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

(Special note to my fellow Baking with Julia friends, I’m decided to sit this Tuesday out. After reading the sticky bun recipe through several times, I just don’t have it in me to make a recipe with that much butter in it. I’ll have to vicariously enjoy your creations. Can’t wait to read about them.)


Posted on 11 May 2012, in Baking, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Your fougasse came out lovely.
    The refrigerator is the best tool for many bread doughs – I totally use it to cheat breads to fit into my schedule :-)

  2. I love your petite fougasses! What a great idea!

  3. Yours look fantastic! I also think they’re perfect for things like dinner parties since they don’t take much time at all once they’re out of the fridge.

  4. I couldn’t find the oil cured black olive in the shop so I used black olive in brine instead, but just the same it turned out great too :) Yours surely must have taste nice with the oil cured ones .

  5. Beautiful! Love your petit fougasses, too! :)

  6. thekitchenlioness

    Very lovely looking mini fougasses – I love variations on Dorie`s recipe, different herbs, different shapes – nice to read that you enjoyed preparing this recipe. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Great recipe and easy to make. Tricia and both had success with it, and
    it was simple to prepare and bake. Yours look delicious and your photos are

  8. I too was pleasantly surprised about the convenient timing of this recipe. I’m jealous of the bread proofing setting on your oven – how handy!

  9. I often feel the same way about bread, after all the rising and falling and rising and falling, and finally baking, it never seems to be done at a time which is convenient to me. No wonder professional bakers have to wake up so darn early!

  10. I really enjoyed this wonderfully flavored bread! I think it will make a great appetizer…with a little cheese and olives to nibble on! Yours looks beautiful!

  11. Great idea on the minis!

  12. What a great idea to make mini-fougasse! Very cute. I also enjoyed making this and can’t wait to play around with different variations.

    I am thinking about sitting this week out with BWJ as well, Betsy. Can’t get excited about that much sugar and really want to make the double chocolate banana tart instead. I hope you have a great weekend!

  13. Mini-fougasse. Individual servings. What a great idea. Like you, this was such a delicious, simple and great-looking artisan flatbread, I want to make it again and again. Just need those variations. Probably going to sit out the TWDBWJ sticky buns also. Although they look yummy I have baked toooooo many dessert items the past three weeks and am showing that largesse on my hips.

  14. Jealous that you found the oil cured olives! I just used normal canned ones.

  15. Love your little breads. Now that I see how this should turn out I’m excited to bake this bread again. I think the oil cured olives made this recipe…the flavor was terrific. As I think about it, I probably added some of the oil along with the chopped olives…I kinda dumped it all into the dough…not much, but probably enough to make my dough a little softer than it should have been. Anyway, I’ve learned something about the olives and something about this bread…all good. Enjoyed your post.

  16. Oh how yumy!! I can only imagine how good this would be warm from the oven

  17. This is a great bread for fitting into one’s schedule – very forgiving. I think the recipe is a great base for all sorts of variations, too. Sun-dried tomatoes sounds like a good one. We made the sticky buns and it’s a very long process. Luckily, we have a lot of family in the area and were able to spread out the finished product quite easily. It would be easy to overload on something that rich.

  18. have you ever tried baking bread from Peter Reinharts “Artisan Breads Every Day”? *All* (well most) of his recipes take no more than 20-40 minutes to whip together (by hand or shorter with a mixer) and rests overnight in the fridge for up to four days, giving you ample time to prep before hand and bake it in time for your meals. I absolutely love his recipes and he describes the processes so very well and with such detail that you cant go wrong. It’s probably worth looking into, if your interested! :) Looks great this week!

  19. Looks good! The little ones are cute.

  20. Beautiful flat breads! I like the idea of making variations on the basic fougasse recipe. Sun dried tomatoes with herbs sounds good, also nuts with herbs. I will be making this again over the Summer to serve as an appetizer with cheese. Next time I’ll try the minis, they really are charming;-)

  21. I think this was a hit with everyone! Yours looks perfect…and I like the idea of adding some whole grains ::) I’m in the midst of making my sticky rolls…whoa, it IS a lot of butter!

  22. Glad you were inspired by this recipe. I enjoyed it too.

  23. I love the idea of mini loaves for lunches or individual servings! I also love the idea of adapting this recipe to many different things, it gets the mind thinking!

  24. I had the exact same thought about this recipe – I love fresh-baked bread, and am always looking for recipes that can actually be made after work. I’ve never heard of an oven with a proof setting, that’s so cool. I’m trying to get more whole grains into my diet too, so it’s great to hear that this worked with half whole wheat. I’ll have to try that next time!

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