Fougasse has a fancy name and an even fancier shape, but this beautiful loaf of white bread is more humble than it seems! Known as the sister bread to focaccia, this is a great recipe to have on hand for both everyday breads and fancy occasions.
What is fougasse?
Pronounced foo-gaas, this loaf is most similar to focaccia, but with the quintessential slash marks that bake up to look like a sheath of wheat. It has Roman origins, but nowadays is associated with the Provence region in the south of France.
Lots of recipes call for no topping or just some sea salt, which are both delicious, but we’ve got a special blend of herbs and cheese that you won’t want to miss!
This recipe by Taste of Home contributor Holly Balzer-Harz is easy to make yet very impressive, so you’ll look like a French baker in no time. It makes two beautiful loaves, so you can reserve one all to yourself!
4 cups bread flour1-3/4 teaspoons salt1-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast2 tablespoons olive oil1-1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115F)2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese1/2 teaspoon dried basil1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Step 1: Make dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and yeast. In a separate small bowl, combine water and oil, then add to the dry ingredients. Use a dough hook and beat on low for 2 minutes, then beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Stir in herbs and parmesan.
Step 2: Rest dough
Oil a large bowl, then transfer the dough into the oiled bowl. Rotate the dough ball once or twice to grease the top and sides. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Step 3: Score the loaf
Preheat oven to 425. Lightly flour your hands and your work surface. Turn the dough out and divide it in half, then place each half onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover one dough ball and set aside.
With floured hands, shape the dough ball into a long oval. Use a sharp knife and make one long cut down the middle, leaving 1 inch of uncut edge on each end. Then make four smaller diagonal cuts on either side, so the dough resembles a leaf shape. Stretch the dough as needed to emphasize the cuts.
Cover with kitchen towels and set aside while you shape and score the other loaf. Allow both doughs to rise, covered, until almost doubled, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, dried basil and additional grated parmesan.
Step 4: Bake
Bake loaves until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet trays midway through. Cool on a rack and then enjoy immediately!
Fougasse is a delicious blank slate, ready for all sorts of toppings to take it to the next level. Any topping you’d like on focaccia, you’ll love on fougasse. Try it with chopped olives and whatever hard, grateable cheese you have on hand, like parmesan or gruyere. Or elevate your fougasse by drizzling the oil from sun-dried tomatoes on top before it’s cooked off. And of course, you can’t go wrong with the classic combo of rosemary and sea salt.
How to Store Fougasse
The best time to eat your fougasse is the day it’s made, though day-old leftovers can still be enjoyed. You can also freeze it. Once it’s cooked and fully cooled down, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, defrost at room temperature for several hours and then reheat before eating.
What to Serve with Fougasse
Fougasse is the perfect accompaniment for so many delicious foodsfrom appetizers to the main course, to a snack all on its own. It can be enjoyed with olive oil dip, any creamy dip or alongside a cheese board with your favorite cheeses. It would be lovely to dip in some warm soup in the winter, or served with a roast chicken and some vegetables. However you eat it, you’re going to love it!