Tuesday 4 October 2016

Fougasse (GBBO Technical Challenge)

It's good, but it's not right!

I did another timed challenge last night, belatedly tackling last weeks "floral" challenge...a herby bread shaped like a leaf. I'd never heard of it before, so resorted to digging out a recipe. In principle it looked fairly simple...a basic, if somewhat wet, dough, with some chopped herbs added, and then shaped and cut to resemble a leaf.

2 Hours?? If you go through the BBC recipe and time it out you'll be lucky to do it in 2½ hours. I set the oven up as a proving drawer again, with the plan to get the first prove down to 30 minutes from 1 hour. I was unhappy with the first prove...it didn't really move, and I suspect the yeast (I ran out of my normal "fast action" stuff, and instead used a tinned version, which I'd not had great results with before). The dough was very wet, probably too wet really, and was virtually un-shapable...the cuts didn't hold, even with copious amounts of semolina and flour. again, I've had this before, and it might just be the flour I use is a little less thirsty than some other brands. I shall try this again with less water

The end result wasn't terrible...tasted OK, looked OK, but it didn't look correct. I was right down to the wire on time, with the second loaf coming out of the oven with 3 minutes to go, just enough time to give it an oil glaze and sprinkle on the salt!

Fougasse - Recipe


  • 500g strong white flour (+ more for dusting and handling)
  • 10g fine salt (+ more for sprinkling)
  • 7g fast-action yeast
  • 10g olive oil (+ more for drizzling)
  • 350ml warm water
  • 2tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • Semolina flour (for dusting)
  • ½tsp dried oregano
1) Put the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil into a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment

2) Add 2/3rd of the water and begin to mix

3) Add the rest of the water as the dough comes together

4) Mix for 9 minutes...it's a wet dough, but it should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl by this point

5) Chop up and add the rosemary, thyme and sage, then add to the dough.

6) Mix for another minute so the herbs are evenly distributed

7) Transfer to an oiled bowl, and leave to prove for 1 hour (I did 30 minutes in an oven at ~40'C)

8) Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment

9) Turn the dough out onto a surface heavily dusted with flour and semolina

10) Split it into 2 equal parts, and transfer to the baking trays

11) Shape into oblongs

12) Do 2 cuts to resemble a leaf stem, and 5-6 cuts either side to represent leaf veins

13) Prove for another 20 minutes

14) Heat oven to 220'C

15) Drizzle olive oil over both loaves, and sprinkle with the dried oregano

16) Place in the oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes (I did 25 minutes for the loaf on the top shelf, and 30 for the loaf on the bottom shelf)

17) Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt