The fougasse is a traditional bread from Provence. Bread is a French specialty, there are hundreds of varieties from every region of France. For example, the baguette comes from Paris and larger loaves are from other parts of France. This bread, made from olive oil and olives, is made in Provence with the ingredients that we have in abundance. This is the case for each French recipe, it comes from a particular region for good reasons, that is to say because of the indredients they have in that region.
If you are lucky enough to travel to the south of France, it is essential that you go for a walk in the food markets outside. These are magical places. When I was a child, my parents had a house in Provence and we went there every summer. My favorite time was when we went to the market. I went there to taste the delicious olives that came from the region. There were also the tapenade (olive spread) that I liked to spread on good bread. The fougasse is the perfect balance between the good bread and the olives of Provence.
It’s very simple to find good olives in the USA. In Pennsylvania, I always find them in the salad or sandwich areas of Giant, Whole Foods or Wegmans. The most important thing is to have your favorite olive. We also find delicious olive oil here and in any type of supermarket. I advise you to invest even if it costs a little more, you will not regret it.
Finally, don’t be afraid of making your own bread. I know that it always seems a bit exotic with yeast, but this bread is very simple to make. You don’t need to wait for hours. You only need an hour for the dough to rise. However, you will need some energy to knead the dough, this is why I advise you to use a mixer with a dough hook if you like to make your own bread.
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe that I simply love with olive oil.
Follow directions for yeast. Once yeast is bubbling and ready, add enough water to make two cups.
Mix the flour with the salt and oregano. When the mix of yeast and water is ready, add it to the flour with the olive oil. First mix with a spatula and then knead with your hands for 10 minutes until you obtain a homogeneous dough that detaches from the sides of the bowl. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, first knead with it on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase speed a little more and more for 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a clean bowl with olive oil at the bottom. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise for an hour (or two if you have the time).
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Knead on a countertop again and mix the olives and the dough, add some flour. Cut dough in half. Take a pastry roll and roll the dough lightly so each dough is 3-4 inches high. Make six small incisions in each dough and place on baking sheet. Add some olives on the top to decorate. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Place on a cold baking sheet to let cool before eating.
You can eat this bread as is, with olive oil or other dip.
Mary is a photographer, food stylist and recipe developer. She is French and grew up in Paris. "It is the beautiful country where I learned to love good cooking". Mary presently lives in Philadelphia with her husband.