For me, there is no better smell than the smell of fresh home made bread baking in the oven, and it is a great fun way to involve all the family. Also, it is much cheaper than the majority of supermarket bread and tastes much much better.
Fougasse is a type of bread from south France, which has slashes in to represent a leaf shape.
Note- in the pictures I am making a double sized batch so if you make it yours will only be of half the size.
If you are using dried yeast or another type of yeast follow the instructions that come with it- some have to be activated in the water or need added sugar for example.
This is my first instructable, I hope you like it! Please give me some feedback!
Step 1: Ingredients
The ingredients in bread aren't exactly very fancy. All you need is flour, water, yeast, and salt, but sometimes I like to add some olive oil. Perhaps a small handful of chopped olives too.
Ingredients (makes about 4 fougasses)
500g strong white bread flour (high gluten content)
350ml warm water
10g good sea or rock salt (plus a little more to sprinkle on top afterwards)
10g fresh yeast.
(optional) a couple of spoons of olive oil
(optional) a small handful of olives
(If anyone asks, I'm terrible with imperial measurements, but 500g of flour is about 1lb, and 350ml is about a cup and a half. 10g is two spoons full. Just don't rely on these imperial measurements, Its best if you do a quick internet search and get more accurate figures for yourself.)
It is important to use flour with a high gluten content, or it will not rise as well, but fresh yeast can be substituted with dry yeasts. Just follow what it says on the packet.
Sometimes you might need a little more flour or a little more water, it depends on how humid it is where you live and how old your flour is. Usually, you will just know if you need more or less.
In the pictures I am making a double batch so yours will not turn out to be as big as mine.
Step 2: Mixing
The name says it all.
If your salt is not already ground up, use a mortar and pestle or a salt grinder-inator to grind it to a rough powder.
Mix in all the dry ingredients- the flour, the salt, and the yeast, before slowly pouring in the water while mixing. Add any other ingredients now if you want to.
Keep mixing until it is of roughly the same consistency throughout. This should just take two or three minutes only.
Now flour your hands and a clean surface and tip it all onto the surface, and then proceed to the next step.
edit- littlered1100 suggests adding the salt after kneading, as It keeps the flour more stretchy and doesn't risk killing any (much) yeast. The only problem with this is that often the salt is less well combined so you occasionally end up with a mouthful of salt but usually you hardly taste any.
Step 3: Kneading
With the dough on the floured surface, knead it for five to ten minutes.
There is no right or wrong way to knead dough (usually), just keep punching and folding and kneading until it is a lot harder and doesn't stick to your hands as much. You'll be able to feel when it's done.
Step 4: Leave It to Rise
When you are happy that you have kneaded it enough, dust the bowl with flour (or just get a clean one) and put the dough back in.
Put a tea-towel under the tap until it is wet and then squeeze out as much water as possible, then place it on top of the bowl and leave it in a warm room for an hour or until it is almost doubled in size.
Step 5: Begin to Shape the Dough
After your dough is fully risen, take it out of the room and cut it into four pieces. Try not to be rough with it or you will squeeze out all the air and it will taste stodgy. If you do accidently do this you can let it re-rise back to size again. Sometimes I do this on purpose as it enhances the final flavour as it will be more aged.
Oh, and preheat the oven to full whack now. ours goes up to 250*c or over 400* Fahrenheit. Up to a point, the hotter the better.
Step 6: Continue Shaping the Dough
With a knife, make cuts into each piece so you get a sort of leaf shape. But there is no need to have just this pattern, you could use your creativity and make all kinds of different shapes. I made a smiley face one once.
Optional- Sprinkle a little bit of coarse sea salt on just before cooking, and brush it off immediately before serving.
Step 7: Time to Cook
I find that cooking time varies from time to time, but it is usually around 10 minutes or so. Just set a timer for 8 minutes and keep checking every 2 minutes after.
It will be crispy and just starting to go golden brown when done.
You can let yours cook for a little longer than I did, but I'm impatient so I took them out too early!
Step 8: Enjoy Your Yummy Deliciousiousness
Be careful when taking them out of the oven, because ovens are hot! (duh)
Eat them just a minute or two after taking them out of the oven, they are yummiest when still piping hot!
They are nice with garlic butter and mozzarella cheese...
I hope you liked my first instructable, please give me some feedback on how you found it!