How to make Fougasse
This French flatbread is crunchy on the outside and soft within. Learn how to make a Fougasse loaf with our easy step-by-step guide.
You will need:
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g fresh yeast or 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 10g fine sea salt
- 350ml warm water
You will also need:
- Dough scraper (great for working with sticky dough) – find one for £5.75 on our online shop.
This recipe makes 1 loaf (serves 8). Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 18-25 min, plus rising and proving.
Make the dough up to step 3 and leave to rise slowly overnight in the fridge, covered with cling film. Bring it back to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.
Richard’s tips for success
- The dough is meant to be sticky; avoid adding extra flour.
- Be gentle when you turn the dough out onto the floured baking sheet. You don’t want to knock out any of the air.
- Get your oven fully up to temperature before baking.
- A hot oven gives a better crust.
- Try part-baking your fougasse. Bake for 7-8 minutes (depending on size) until the crust starts to form. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then wrap in non-stick baking paper. You can freeze it if you wish. To serve, defrost at room temperature if frozen, then bake in a hot oven for 8 minutes until golden.
1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the fresh yeast. Using your fingertips, rub the yeast into the flour (if using dried yeast, just stir it through). Make a well in the centre and add the salt and water. Work the mixture with one hand in the bowl until it comes together and forms a soft dough. Or if you have a dough scraper, use that to bring it together.
2. Form the dough into a ball, then turn out onto a floured work surface. Gently knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Don’t add any extra flour – the dough will be sticky but will become easier to work with.
3. Put the dough into a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
4. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Put a baking sheet into the oven to heat. Don’t knock back (press the air out of) the dough; carefully tip it onto a separate flour-dusted baking sheet and let it spread out to a rough leaf shape, about 2cm thick. You can gently tease the dough into shape with your hands, but be careful not to knock out any air. Generously flour the top of the dough, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes to prove.
5. Using the edge of your scraper or a sharp knife, make 1 large slash lengthways through the centre of the dough to the work surface, but not all the way to the ends. Make 3 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the central one. Gently open out the cuts with your fingers and shake off any excess flour.
6. Carefully slide onto the hot baking sheet. Bake for 18-25 minutes until golden (ovens vary, so check after 18 minutes) and the base sounds hollow when gently tapped. Rest the loaf on the tray for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
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