Fougasse from Provence

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Fougasse is from Provence. That wonderful region of blue skies, lavender fields and the tantalising proximity of the Mediterranean. 

The Romans brought fougasse to Provence as early as the 2nd Century B.C. when it was known as panis focacius, a flatbread baked in the ashes of the hearth. 

Throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, fougasse could be found: as focaccia in Italy, hogaza in Spain, fogassa in  Catalonia, fugàssa in Liguria, pogača in the Balkans, pogačsa in Hungary; and a sweetened version in Portugal and South America, the fogaça. 

The bread has even come down through history as a saying, an aphorism in French, "il ne faut pas brûler la fougasse". "Do not burn the fougasse" - the time it takes for a stove to reach the right temperature to be loaded with loaves for baking. 

Although my version is plain, only topped with extra virgin olive oil and grey sea salt from the Guerande, far to the north in Normandy, fougasse, can be topped with anchovies, olives, cheese or garlic. It can contain fresh herbs....the choice is yours. 


500 gms of strong white bread flour

350 mls of filtered water at room temperature

30 mls olive oil

10 gms of sea salt

7 gms instant yeast

For the glazing

Olive oil (herb-infused if you wish - I add a little chopped fresh rosemary)

Sea salt crystals


Mixing by hand

If you're mixing by hand or using a stand mixer, add the salt to the flour and mix thoroughly. Then add the remainder of the dry ingredients (except the yeast). Slowly add the oil and then the yeast until you have a sticky mix. Turn the mix out onto a floured board and knead until you have a silky and pliable dough. (There are 'Help' videos and articles in the 'Useful Web and YouTube links' on the lefthand side of this page). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave for an hour somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size. Then proceed to the next stage.

Using a bread machine

Add the flour and the salt to the pan and cover with the liquid. Leave to autolyse for fifteen minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and choose a Pizza programme (45 minutes) or  Baic Dough programme (2hrs 20 mins)  Then proceed to the next stage. 

Ready for 1st proof

1. After 1st proof, knock back the dough on a floured board

2. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (or four if you want a smaller fougasse)

3. Roll each piece out with a rolling pin - you're aiming for a rough / rectangular or an oval shape about 1 inch thick. 

4. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper. 

5. With a knife or the edge of a narrow dough scraper, score two cuts down the centre of the bread and then four to six slashes down each side to resemble a leaf...or arrowhead. 

6. Tease the slashes open and far enough away from the dough that they are not going to join up as the bread expands during the 2nd proof. 

7. Leave to rise for 20 minutes

8. Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.

9. Brush with herb-infused olive oil, sprinkle with salt

10. Bake low down in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

11. Remove from the oven. While hot, brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with more salt. 

12. Allow to cool on a rack. 

13. Place a few sprigs of rosemary as a garnish. 

Happy baking...


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