Fougasse is a type of French bread, whose shape resembles a wheat leaf. It comes from the Provence Region and may be considered a close relative to Italy's Focaccia. Fresh herbs in the dough and a good brushing of evo oil after baked, this is the bread of choice for the fundraiser Bread & Circus.
Song of the day: Circus - Britney Spears
[This post is sponsored by Firefly Theatre and Circus. We have been compensated but all opinions are our own. We support only products and causes we believe in.]
Bread and Circus
On Friday, April 30th, 2021 at 6pm MT, join us with Firefly Theatre and Circus for Bread & Circus! Learn to bake Fougasse Bread from the comfort of your home with the chefs at Get Cooking. While the bread is rising and then baking, you will be dazzled and entertained by circus acts from all over the world. Moreover, there will be live music streamed right from your computer.
Panem et Circenses
It is a Latin phrase by Juvenal meaning bread and circus acts. During the Imperial rule of Rome, the Government decided to provide bread and entertainment to its subjects to appease their discontent. In simple terms, if they could distract them, and keep their bellies full, the public would be out of their hair.
In today's times, and the challenges we face, people are feeling frustrated and discouraged. That's why we all need sustenance and joyfulness. We always hear about the food industry i.e. restaurants suffering, however, artists, musicians, performers, are also having a very hard time. We love the arts and we love food, so you can imagine the excitement, we had to jump on board and help out in any way we can.
If you don't join us for the event, and you want to make fougasse, head to the recipe. The dough is quite easy to make, especially if you are using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. If kneading by hand, you just need a good arm work. Like us, you can add fresh herbs to the dough (we used sage, thyme, and rosemary), or olives. After the resting time, divide the dough into two and have fun shaping them.
Shaping the Fougasse
In order to create the pattern typical to a fougasse you need a plastic dough/bench scraper. You could shape it into whatever you want, although, traditionally, the ones you see here are the two most used patterns to resemble a leaf.
Focaccia vs. Fougasse
Even though they have some similarities, they are quite different.
- I find fougasse to be easier and faster to make, and the texture more like bread.
- Focaccia has oil in the dough and in the pockets. However, fougasse has oil on top only after baked.
- The multiple rising times are quite long for the focaccia, while fougasse only requires a little more than 1 hour to rise.
- Lastly, you use a knife to cut focaccia, while you tear off pieces of fougasse with your hands and eat it.
This herb fougasse is so aromatic from the herbs and the evo oil on top. The texture is a mix of crisp and softness. It eats well as bread, or as part of an appetizer platter, dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar.
The Magic of Circus
I am sure a lot of you can relate to these memories. I remember from a very young age, going to the Circus. It was a time of joyfulness, laughter and awe! Every year we would go and we would always leave with sore laughter and smile muscles, and a feeling of peace and fulfillment. A good childhood memory for me if I want to exercise those muscles again, and bring that feeling of joy and peace into my life!
This year with the current pandemic situation, those large entertainment gatherings are nonexistent, however, being the resilient beings that we are, we are not going to let that rain on our parade. Firefly Theatre & Circus is doing just that. A wonderful fundraiser where proceeds will directly support the 24 circus artists and muscicians involved in the event. For $100.00 per household your family can enjoy a lovely night of Bread & Circus. This includes a bread making kit in your order which you have until Thursday April 29th at noon to get, delivered right at your doorstep (available for the Edmonton area only). Your package will also include a virtual cooking class learning the making of fougasse. Furthermore, entertainment consisting of incredible circus performers, and live music! All of this in the comfort of your own home.
We are all in this together, let support each other and share a little joy!Print
- 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour or farina 00
- 200 ml water (110-115°F), you might not use it all
- ¾ tsp (2.5 g) active dry yeast or 5 g fresh yeast
- ½ Tbsp salt
- evo oil for oiling the bowl and brushing the top after it's baked
- optional: 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (sage, thyme, rosemary); 3-4 olives, chopped, to add to the dough
- Add the yeast to about 100 ml of the warm water. Mix and let bloom for a couple of minutes.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour and the bloomed yeast. Start mixing on low, scraping the sides to incorporate the flour.
- Lastly, add the salt and the rest of the water a little at a time. Mix on medium speed for about 3 minutes, then add the chopped fresh herbs, or olives, if using, and keep mixing for a few more minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides and the bottom of the bowl, and is not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Lightly oil a medium-large bowl. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm room temperature space for around 1 hour and 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Flour generously a work surface, tip your dough onto it and generously flour the top. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Gently, using your fingertips, stretch it and shape it into a rectangle. Dust with more flour, then, with a plastic dough/bench scraper, cut the rectangle into two lenghtwise.
First fougasse pattern:
- Place one rectangle of dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Use your fingertips to shape it into an oval -more or less.
- Using the long end of your bench scraper, score two separate cuts down the centre of the bread, and five angled slits on either side. Pay attention not to cut through the outside of the dough so that it stays intact. Gently stretch open each of the cuts creating a leaf-like pattern. Cover with a towel while working on the second piece of dough.
Second fougasse pattern:
- Place the remaining rectangle of dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Use your fingertips to shape it into an oval -more or less.
- Using the longer part of your dough/bench scraper, make a single large cut down the middle of the oval, then three cuts at an angle on either side, using the smaller end of the scraper. Pay attention not to cut through the outside of the dough so that it stays intact. Gently stretch open each of the cuts creating a leaf-like pattern.
- Preheat the oven to 430°F convection or 440°F regular bake. If you have a pizza stone, place into the oven now, on the middle rack. Place some water into a small baking pan and put it on the lower rack underneath the stone. If you don't have the stone, use baking sheets.
- For those of you using the stone, slide the fougasse on parchment onto the stone, after about 5 minutes remove the parchment so that the fougasse is directly on the stone. Bake for a total of 12-15 minutes, checking it, and turning on the broiler in case it needs some color on top. If you're using a baking sheet, place the parchment with the fougasse on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden. If you find your top is not coloring, turn on the grill for a minute or so. Check it to make sure that it doesn't burn.
- Take out of the oven and brush the top with a generous amount of evo oil.
- Repeat this process for the second fougasse. If possible, you can bake both at the same time with a large baking sheet or pizza stone.
You can make the dough plain, or be creative with the fillings: herbs of your choice, olives, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions.
- Prep Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: bread, fougasse, provence, focaccia, oil, herbs, homemade
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.