As much as I would like to get involved in some time-consuming baking project, I just can't at the moment. Still I've been becoming more of a "baking-junkie" lately :-), so I just have to bake at least once a week. Handling the dough, shaping and finally seeing those breads come out from the oven has a soul-warming effect for me. It can also be terribly frustrating, if it doesn't turn out as it should. Giving my time constrains at the moment, having something that can be kneaded, shaped and baked in a few hours time is great. I was also feeling like playing a bit so I decided to make some flavoured fougasse. Fougasse is the Provencal brother/sister of the Genovese focaccia. It is often sweet, with anise seeds and orange zest as flavouring, but can also be savoury: herbs and olives versions are quite common. What I really like about fougasse is the shape, like a slashed leaf or a ladder, depending on the slash pattern. I decided to do 4 small breads each with a different flavour. Here is what I made (from left to right in the picture above): fougasse aux fromage, cheese, fougasse aux lardons, bacon, fougasse aux olives, er... olives :-) and fougasse aux Roquefort, with the famous blue cheese.
Fougasse is quite easy to make. I won't give the recipe here simply because Deb has already written a very nice post about it. You can find her post, with the recipe here. I just used her recipe for the dough, leaving out sugar, anise and orange flower water and reduced the yeas by 1/3. Once I had my basic fougasse dough I weighed it and divided it into 4 equal pieces, into which the extra flavouring ingredients were kneaded. I then let the 4 balls of dough raise for about 2-2 1/2 hours. I then shaped them. To do this I patted them into an oval about 1/2 cm thick (1/4 in) and made the slashes with a razor blade. To keep the slashes from closing back on themselves I used my fingers to widen the slash wile stretching the dough. Each fougasse ended about twice the size of the unslashed one. I proofed them for about 1 hour and baked them for 20-25 minutes at 200C/400F (pre-heated oven).
-fougasse aux fromage: I added 80 g (2.8 oz) of grated gouda to the dough. Just before going into the oven I sprinkled another 2 Tbs of grated cheese on top.
-fougasse aux lardons: Here I used about 50 g (1.8 oz) bacon (more and it will taste too salty), in one piece, cut into lardons and pan fried till slightly browned.
-fougasse aux olives: 40 g (1.4 oz) of pitted green olives, roughly cut. Here it is really important that the olives are VERY WELL drained, otherwise you'll have to add extra flour to get the dough to have the right soft consistency. Before baking I topped the fougasse with a few olive rounds.
-fougasse aux Roquefort: for this one I added 50 g (1.8 oz) crumbled Roquefort.
All four tasted great. I might have baked them at a slightly lower temperature to get them a bit darker, but no big deal there. My favourite was the fougasse aux lardons, great pork-y taste without being too fat or salty. The weirdest was the Roquefort one. It tasted good but the cheese got completely mixed with the dough as I kneaded it in, and at the and the bread had a greenish streaked appearance. The olive fougasse was the softest/fluffiest, probably because of the liquid coming from the olives. A good hint that the dough could be made even a tad moister to start with. I'll keep these in mind for some picnic, they would be great eaten on a sunny field... oh well, will have to wait a bit for that :-)