Fougasse aux Herbes de Provence

March 25, 2014

FEELING INSPIRED by a comment from reader Virginia Embry Marx, I recently made Fougasse aux Herbes de Provence. Are you familiar with this French version of Italian focaccia? It’s dense and delicious.  It’s powerfully fragrant. And it’s a breeze to make.

In case you’re wondering, fougasse is pronounced “foo-GAHS.” Try shouting foo-GAHS!!! at the next driver who cuts you off in traffic.

I don’t know why that last sentence popped into my head.

Please don’t hold it against me.

Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast in 1 1/2 cups warm water, and set aside until the mixture foams — 5-10 minutes.

Then pour 3 tablespoons good olive oil into the yeast mixture.

My idea of good olive oil? Green and fruity.

I’d mention the brand I use, but I’m afraid someone will tell me it’s the worst brand on the market.

And then I’ll be forced to hang my head in shame.

Blow the dust off your standing mixer, and attach the dough hook. Tip 4 cups of flour into the work bowl.

Add 2 teaspoons of salt, and blend at low speed for a few seconds just to combine.

Please forgive this ghastly photo: Add the yeast mixture to the flour.

With the machine running at low speed, add 2 tablespoons of dried Herbes de Provence.

There are all kinds of mixtures called “Herbes de Provence.” Mine, which came in a bottle, contains rosemary, marjoram, thyme and savory. If you have dried lavender petals on hand, you would not be wrong to add them to the mix. A teaspoonful would be nice.

I grow lots of lavender ‘Munstead’ here in summer, but I never dry the petals. Instead, I use them fresh. They are screamingly-delicious in these shortbread cookies.

Oh, to see my lavender plants again! Just now they are buried beneath 2 inches of ice.

It’s been a long, vengeful winter.

Boost the speed to “medium,” and knead the dough until it looks and feels fairly smooth — about 5-7 minutes.

Then coat a big mixing bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, and then invert it so that both sides get filmed with oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and set it someplace warm until the dough doubles in volume — about 2 hours. In my old, drafty house, the only warm spot in winter is a common heating pad set to “low.”

The heating pad works like a charm.

After the dough has doubled, dump it onto your work station, and cut it in half. Return one half to the oiled mixing bowl.

If you’d like your fougasse to resemble a leaf (this shape is common in France), just pat the dough into a 12-inch-long oval.

Then transfer the loaf to a lightly-oiled baking sheet.

And speaking of baking sheets…after dealing with cheap, impossible-to-clean models, I finally bit the bullet and purchased some “commercial” grade sheets. What a difference! With just soap and water, and virtually no scrubbing, they resume their shiny newness.

Shall we make this leaf look a little more…leaf-like? Grab a knife,  and cut 6 diagonal slashes into the dough. In the photo above, I’m using a plastic knife in order to avoid scratching my aforementioned baking sheet.

To keep the slits from slamming shut, open them up with your fingers, as shown.

Lightly brush the leaf with olive oil…

And then cover it with plastic wrap (or a slightly-damp kitchen towel), and let it rest until it puffs a little — about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, set the oven rack at the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Oh. Shape the remaining dough into a leaf, a ghost, a tree, or, heaven forbid, a snowman. There is no limit to the fougasse-forms you can make.

Bake until the bread turns a gorgeous shade of brown — 15-20 minutes. You can eat it right away.

Fougasse aux Herbes de Provence is delicious as-is. But it is even better when dipped in good olive oil.

Note: Add a little minced parsley and garlic to the oil, and your mouth will have an orgasm.

And here, for your utter convenience, is a copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:

Fougasse aux Herbes de Provence
As made by Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons dried Herbes de Provence

Special Equipment: A standing mixer outfitted with the dough hook (or, you can knead the dough entirely by hand); 2  lightly-oiled baking sheets; a pastry brush

1. In a bowl or a 2-cup measure, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. When the yeast begins to foam (in 5-10 minutes), add the olive oil.

2. Tip the flour and salt into the bowl of the standing mixer, and blend at low speed for a few seconds. Turn the machine off, and add the yeast mixture. Then resume blending on low speed, and add the herbs. Increase speed to medium, and knead until the dough feels fairly smooth – 5-7 minutes.

3. Coat a mixing bowl with oil. Add the dough, and flip it to coat the other side. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and set someplace warm until the dough doubles in volume – about 2 hours. Then punch down the dough, place it on your work surface, and cut it in half. Return one half to the oiled mixing bowl.

4. Pat the dough into a 12-inch long oval. Transfer the oval to the lightly-oiled baking sheet.

To create a leaf-design, use a plastic knife to cut diagonal slashes through the dough. Use your fingers to open up the slash marks, so they will hold their shape during baking. Lightly brush the loaf with olive oil, cover it with plastic, and let it sit in a warm place until slightly puffed – about 20 minutes.

Repeat step #4 for the remaining dough.

Meanwhile, set the oven rack at the lower-middle position; preheat the oven to 450°F.

5. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant – 15-20 minutes.

Think you’ll try this beautiful bread? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I cherish your thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Nanci says:

    Yum! Another great recipe Kevin! thank you

  2. Trudi Dido says:

    and I will try it with gluten free flour thanks !
    my mouth is watering just from reading the recipe
    Congratulations on your fifth year. ! and yes you gave me a scare saying you were retiring. I was hoping you were kidding and so relieved to read that next line!

  3. Teresa says:

    Wish I had a new blender ;-) I could use for this. Looks amazing~

  4. Marjean says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Please tell me this recipe is going into your cookbook AND the aforementioned cookbook is almost done and will be available SOON? Like this weekend?

    I have no patience…

  5. Brenda says:

    I had purchased a big thing of Herbs de Provence late last fall and now I know why. Thanks! Can’t wait to try this. It sounds wonderful!

  6. Catherine Pica says:

    Kevin, I adore the funnies you add when describing a recipe. And I think everyone here LOVES Lily! Thanks always for the great ideas and wonderful recipes! <3

  7. Keila says:

    Sounds wonderful! Enjoy a slice for me, as I can’t have any with the diet I am on :(
    I always enjoy checking out your recipes!!!

  8. Robert Meehan says:

    You keep on like this and I’ll be forced to purchase a mixing machine with a dough hook. Unless of course lightning strikes and i win one. :) But boy could I do some bread cookin’ with one of them babies!!! :) How does one do this kind of kneading and mixing by hand if one doesn’t have the aforementioned machine?? I have a little hand mixer and an abundance of brute force and ignorance. Better go to bed now, I’m obviously too tired. :)

  9. Rosemary says:

    I live in a drafty old house too (and love it!). I find the best solution for me when leaving bread to rise is to preheat the oven to 150F…then when it reaches that temperature turn the oven off but leave the oven light on. The heat from the light creates a nice cocoon of warmth inside my oven – perfect for getting bread dough to rise! I do have a very old heating pad that belonged to my mother (circa 1940′s) (which I love to snuggle with when I’m not feeling well…it’s like a hug from Mom). I’ll have to give that a try too.

  10. Greta Piukala says:

    Oh the taste of Italy ! a little coffee bar on a narrow street in Rome,giving the the whole street a sense of warmth and comfort. The fresh pastries baking and the steaming coffee ,this is where Kevin’s bread belongs,and we are so blessed to have it right here for us to try. Thank you ever so much Kevin for bringing back these wonderful memories to me.Hugs Greta

  11. Brenda Johnson says:

    Heady aroma of herbs and yeast… crusty crackly outside, soft and chewy inside….(the rosemary really comes through- such a great addition!!!) This was delicious right out of the oven- and I’m happy to report- it re-crisps well with just a few minutes in a hot oven! (Without great restraint there would have been nothing left to re-crisp- it’s THAT good!!!!) Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!!

  12. Gay sullivan says:

    The wind is howling here in Dutchess county. I think that I might have to distract myself and try this delicious sounding bread. Where are you Spring??

  13. Perfection. This is happening TODAY.

  14. Adrienne says:

    So I saw this post this morning… and it decided my day. I made spaghetti, this bread and home made raspberry sorbet for desert. The bread was PERFECT with the spaghetti! So tasty! I did sprinkle just a tiny bit of sea salt on top before baking because…well I like salt what can I say.

    Thanks for this recipe! I’ll be making it again FOR SURE! It’s so easy and delicious!

  15. Kate says:

    mmmm that looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  16. Allison K says:

    Herbes de Provence is one of my favorite seasoning blends (love to use when roasting poultry), and I adore fugasse–there was a fab baker at the Moscow Farmer’s Market when I lived there a decade ago–I’d buy a leaf from him nearly every Saturday morning. Therefore, I *must* try this recipe sooooon!!!! Thanks, Kevin!!

  17. ingmarie peck says:

    Made your Polpettines the other day ,they were great.So this week I am going to try the bread
    so Thanks for the recipe.
    I will have to hand knead this (good thing I go to gym)
    Thank you.

  18. Diane H Hinkle says:

    Oh, wow, does that look good! I have never seen a bread I did not like except if it contains onions (I am allergic to onions of all things.) I am going to make this and I am going to eat every bite. And I’ll bet another fan named Janet is thinking the same thing. Thanks for another simple but great recipe.

  19. Sherlie Magaret says:

    I just made my pizza dough and it is your recipe halved so I guess I know what I am doing with it today. All I need to do is add some herbs. Yummmm, I cant wait!

  20. Joni Davis says:

    Perfect day to try this – with our forecast being blizzardly (is that a word?) and from 3-15″ of wet heavy snow expected between today and tomorrow! Getting frustrated with winter – as I’m sure many are! Actually have a pot of chicken soup on the stove …. and it’s almost April! I certainly will try this recipe so I can focus on it and not the snow!!!

  21. Suzanne says:

    absolutely will, Kevin….another miserable day here in Nova Scotia too… so this will be just the ticket to brighten up this day!!
    Perfect with my soup for tonight’s supper as well!!
    Thanks, what a great recipe – and as I make my own Herbes de Provence, I am excited to try them on this gorgeous bread!!

    Cheers,

  22. Mary Anne says:

    What a delightful recipe! Since I don’t have the machine to make this bread, I am sending the recipe to my daughter and granddaughter. Which ever one comes thru with a tasty treat, is in the will!

  23. Cilla says:

    Try Chaffin Family Orchard’s olive oil! They are a small farm in California and have a limited supply, but it is wonderful and you KNOW you are getting 100% olive oil of the type you order. They still have 3 varieties available for 2014, I think. But they do sell out fast!

    http://www.chaffinfamilyorchards.com/

  24. Ardelle says:

    I’m sorry if you heard me ‘howling’ as I read your lively description of how to make and eat this wonderful foo-GAHS – er – Fougasse. Some years ago I use a similar description to describe a wonderful dish I had made “and your mouth will have an orgasm”. I don’t think my saintly sister has recovered to this day. :-)
    I am soon to sit down to Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili topped with cilantro and wour cream laced with fresh lime zest and juice. Alongside will be my freshly baked personally developed bread.. I will send the bread recipe on to you sometime – it is so yummy – Perfect fresh from the oven with organic local honey and organic butter….
    I have had a year long ‘gig’ making dinner 2 nights per week for a busy family. They have recently moved to another part of the country and I really miss doing that. It’s a long story how this came to be but worked so very well. Wish I could land another gig like that.
    I look forward to you column every week -

  25. Ardelle says:

    oops! Sour cream….

  26. Ardelle says:

    To Robert Meehan – don’t be too envious of us with the machines with the dough hook. Yes, I use one but really like doing the final kneading by hand – is really a great stress reliever for me :-) . I grew up making bread from age 9-10 and love the process and the reward. Originally using home starter then moving to cake yeast and now dry yeast. Making bread is almost a spiritual experience. I recommend using organic flours because of the GMO issues

    I love all the comments too…

  27. Marye DD says:

    Love the idea of adding lavender! I love your blog!

  28. Maricela Infante says:

    Love your blog and recipes!

  29. Trisha says:

    Oh no, I just used up by big bottle of Herbes de Provence. I use it in soups and stews. Never
    thought of bread. Trying this for sure. Now I just have to find the Rodelle brand again-forgot where I found it. It has Thyme, Fennel, Basil, Savory and Lavender. Yummy. I think it would be good mixed in a butter and used on warm French bread. You have me wondering about fish or meat loaf or ——–

  30. Nancy Mette says:

    The bread looks delicious. Will try it with my next batch of soup. We love soup.Love your website.So many great ideas.

  31. Judy P says:

    Sound so good!! What brand of olive oil do you use that just might happen to be available in Missouri??? Love your recipes, love your funnies, and am truly thankful that you added the cut and paste version of your recipes. It took for ever to copy them before!! :)

  32. Sarah says:

    I am making this to go along with our dinner tonight. I’m using my bread maker to do the initial kneading for me (Ahh! Don’t hate me too much! With 6 kiddos running around, I need all the help I can get!!). It already smells AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to see how it comes out! Happy Blogaversary, btw!

  33. Rachel says:

    I am in the middle of baking this now – although with a difference. I have used parsley, chives and marjoram from my garden, added grated cheese and caramelized onions :-D

  34. Arlene Slobecheski says:

    I wish you lived next door so that I might have the chance to enjoy your lovely garden and smell all the delicious and maybe even sample, goodies you prepare.

  35. Anne Callaway says:

    I have made this delicious bread five times now, and it is such a winner. The aroma, the texture, the taste lure us to overindulge! We like it with everything: seafood bisque, lasagna, chicken cacciatore, shepherds pie, or just dipped in good evoo! Thanks Kevin, for sharing another winning bread!

  36. Alicia O'Neal says:

    This recipe is absolutely superb:) Thanks Kevin.

  37. Savannah says:

    This bread is darling, Kevin. I added walnuts and fresh rosemary from my herb garden to this recipe. The bread turned out fabulously and it is worth making more than once. Thank you!

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