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Roquefort and pear fougasse

September 28, 2011

FougasseThe first time I ever left England’s shores was in my late teens and I went on my first proper holiday with friends to the island of Menorca.  We stayed in the lovely holiday home of my friend’s Mum’s friend and spent the days lying on the wide sandy beach and the evenings eating the gorgeous food that was cooked for us.  I thought I’d reached paradise as for me, a beach meant Weston-super-Mare.  The local gin made to an old English recipe and the slightly mad fiestas helped too.

Holiday snaps

One evening we went out to a smart restaurant (very different to the tavernas in the village of Santo Thomas) run by an ex-monk; that’s all I can remember about it.  Well not quite all, I remember the starter like it was yesterday (rather than decades ago) – a perfectly ripe pear in a Roquefort sauce.  I’ve loved that flavour combination ever since.

Fougasse

Fougasse is a French relation of focaccia, sometimes stuffed with cheese and olives, sometimes plain, usually slashed in places so it cooks quickly and this makes it look like a bit like a Celtic rune or a cheese plant leaf.

For this month’s Fresh From the Oven challenge, set by Claire from Purely Food, I decided to make a simple version and the most complex I could find.  The simplest recipe (inspired by Richard Bertinet and Lorraine Pascale) used very wet dough with cuts in it.  The more time-consuming was from Dan Lepard.

I adapted both recipes but as expected the first was simple and quick to make – more like French stick in a pretty shape and the second took the best part of the morning, on and off.

Fougasse method

Making the simple recipe

The first version was made with strong plain flour, water, yeast and salt and the teens fell upon in when they came in from school.  It was a show stopper.   I divided the second dough into three and added sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and mozzarella to one and Roquefort and poached pear.  The texture of these loaves was much more like focaccia and almost a meal in themselves.  Fresh pear rather than poached would have probably worked better but the flavours were perfect.  I would make it again as an alternative to focaccia.

Fougasse method

The sponge method - fougasse

Fougasse

Makes 3 Fougasse

Ingredients

500g strong bread flour
350ml tepid water
5g dried active yeast
10g sea salt
Olive oil (optional)

Fougasse close up in black and white

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to its highest setting (around 240 C).
  2. Put the flour and sea salt into the bowl of a mixer or food processor with a dough hook.  Measure the tepid (lukewarm or blood temperature) water into a jug and add the yeast. Whisk with a fork until combined and foamy.  Add the water mixture to the flour and knead slowly for 10 minutes (you can also do this by hand).  The dough is ready when it is smooth and not sticky.
  3. Lightly flour the work surface, place the dough on the flour and form the dough into a ball. Put the dough into a clean large bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.
  4. Leave the dough to rise for at least one hour. Turn out gently onto a well-floured surface; let it spread across the work surface. Sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for about 5 minutes.
  5. Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to cut the rectangle of dough into three triangles (by cutting in a V-shape).  With the point of the triangle at the top, make a slash down the middle. Make three smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the one in the centre. Gently ease open and enlarge the holes with your fingers.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the surface of each loaf if you like.
  6. Gently lift onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

You can find the second fougasse recipe in Exceptional Breads by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington (or online here).  I used wholewheat flour instead of rye and cut the dough into three prior to adding the fillings. I put 70g Roquefort with 50g pear into one piece and 60g mozzarella, 40 g sun-dried tomatoes and a small handful of black olives.  Be very gentle when you fold the dough to incorporate these ingredients.

Fougasse

Do pop over to the Fresh From the Oven site in a few days to see what everyone else came up with.  The Well Seasoned Cook Black and White Wednesdays is a fabulous collection of monochrome food shots and well worth a visit.

Which flavours have your holidays inspired?

47 Comments
  1. September 28, 2011 11:03 pm

    Those look wonderful! Roquefort and fougasse, that is a scrummy combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    • September 29, 2011 7:38 am

      Cheers Rosa – thanks for nice feedback.

  2. September 28, 2011 11:15 pm

    I would love to join you guys at #freshfromtheoven and bake a loaf each month. I love making breads and am trying to learn as much as I can.
    The roquefort and pear fougasse looks so good. I can is smell it from my screen. Yum

    • September 29, 2011 7:45 am

      I’m sure the group would love you to join in. Drop Claire a line at freshfromtheoven@hotmail.co.uk. My yeast baking has improved no end and I’ve met a lovely bunch of bakers through it.

  3. September 28, 2011 11:19 pm

    Wow, how many varieties you’ve made! Scrumptious!

  4. September 28, 2011 11:26 pm

    I wish you lived round the corner – I’d be round like a shot as soon as the scent of Roquefort and poached pear started wafting down the street!

    • September 29, 2011 7:48 am

      I wish you did too Charlie…and you’d be most welcome to come round for a hunk of fougasse.

  5. Anna permalink
    September 28, 2011 11:28 pm

    I can almost smell the baking…mmmm…Cute pic too – I spotted you!

    • September 29, 2011 7:49 am

      Inflicting my old holiday snaps on everyone now!

  6. September 29, 2011 12:31 am

    FABULOUS and what a GREAT combination too!
    Karen @ Lavender and Lovage

  7. September 29, 2011 12:43 am

    Roquefort and pear is such an interesting combination..and can imagine it tastes incredible in this loaf too. Think this is one of the most inspired flavour combinations I’ve seen this challenge :-) gorgeous photos too!

    • September 29, 2011 7:50 am

      This was a great challenge wasn’t it – thanks for dropping by the little loaf and Karen from Lavender and Lovage. Just having a look at your lovely breads now.

  8. September 29, 2011 1:05 am

    They look really great :)
    I like the shapes :)
    I don’t like Roquefort at all, unfortunately :(

    • September 29, 2011 7:51 am

      The mozzarella version worked well – I’m a die-hard blue cheese fan though. It wasn’t a strong taste in the bread actually.

  9. September 29, 2011 9:35 am

    i LOOOVE CHEEEESE :) if cheese was human i’d marry it!

  10. September 29, 2011 10:24 am

    What a delicious flavour combination Sally- I will definitely be trying this out next time! And I love the photographs- so beautiful

  11. September 29, 2011 12:13 pm

    That looks amazing, fabulous flavours and gorgeous photos!

  12. September 29, 2011 12:18 pm

    I’m so impressed that you made 2 different doughs. Which was better? Roquefort & pear sounds like a delicious combination. I love the holiday snaps too.

  13. September 29, 2011 1:56 pm

    Thank you for taking part this month. Love all your ideas for flavour combinations and your photos are stunning. A very inspiring post. I want to find time to bake more fougasse now!

  14. September 29, 2011 3:09 pm

    Sally Please add a tweet this button to your articles !!

    x

  15. September 29, 2011 3:11 pm

    A ripe pear in Roquefort sauce sounds delicious. Nice Fougasse and I love it in black and white.

  16. September 29, 2011 3:16 pm

    I have joined the group. excited to bake with you next month!

  17. September 29, 2011 7:29 pm

    Looks like a professional bake! Really stunning and an amazing flavour combination x

  18. September 29, 2011 8:36 pm

    Which version did you prefer in terms of taste and texture? Is it worth it to go the long way?

    • September 30, 2011 8:32 am

      Hi Katie, They were both very different. The easy version was approved by my teens, I preferred the texture of the longer recipe but it was a more substantial bread. Neither keep particularly well but make great crostini. I made a toasted cheese sandwich with the roquefort and pear bread (more cheese) and it was excellent.

  19. September 29, 2011 11:20 pm

    Sally – your fougasse look wonderful and I, too, love the sound of the pear and roquefort – yum.
    I haven’t managed to get my fougasse done yet but will be going with the simpler recipe.
    Lou.

  20. September 29, 2011 11:44 pm

    This looks like a very fun bread to make with it’s holes and easy too. Love the black and white photo.

  21. September 30, 2011 9:14 am

    I love the shapes and irregualarities of such bread…Looks so delightful to eat.Yum!

  22. September 30, 2011 2:01 pm

    I am a secret blonde – I joined the group but misfiled the ‘how to’ email! This looks like a recipe I could have had fun with. Have a great weekend :)

    • October 3, 2011 9:04 am

      Do join in Tandy – I’ve become a more confident baker and ‘met’ lots of great bloggers through FFTO

  23. October 1, 2011 11:55 am

    Sally!! you are killing me, I am cutting down on carbs, but am so making this, I just want to dive right into the picture and work my way through these mouthwatering Fougasse!!! YUM!

  24. October 1, 2011 3:53 pm

    Very impressive. A barbecued fish conjures up a holiday feeling in me :)

    • October 3, 2011 9:01 am

      Can’t wait to get a fish onto the grill.

  25. October 1, 2011 8:29 pm

    Gorgeous – I sense a newness in your last 4/5 posts and I love the black and white photos.

    This Fougasse looks stunning. I want to scream ‘stop baking’ Sally….I already have your zucchini rolls lined up as the first bake in my new kitchen!

    Well done on the UAE food bloggers group – passion, support and care goes a long way. So proud of you all!

    • October 3, 2011 9:01 am

      Always a pleasure when you comment and this one means a lot. We’re just under 8 hours flight from Lagos so if you ever fancy a trip….!

  26. October 2, 2011 6:39 am

    These look delicious! I want to try the simpler version…

  27. October 2, 2011 12:31 pm

    What beautiful fougasse Sally. Fab shapes. I love fougasse because it doesn’t hang around long, it’s so great to tear a chunk off every time you pass by. I have never tried adding extra ingredients like that though. Love your retro photos!

    • October 3, 2011 8:58 am

      You are so right – the fougasse really didn’t last long. The retro photos are really retro – had to scan them in from a faded photo album. No photo effects necessary!

  28. October 2, 2011 2:14 pm

    What an unusual looking bread. It looks rather rustic with all the large holes. And with all this bread making, you’ve become quite the baker eh! The flavoru combo also sounds very fine dining :)

    • October 3, 2011 8:57 am

      Rustic with fine dining flavours! Cheers Sukaina.

  29. October 3, 2011 1:20 pm

    Gorgeous, perfect fougasse! And I love blending in different flavors and cheeses and the pear/roquefort is stunning! Perfect for autumn!

  30. October 5, 2011 10:52 pm

    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they were futuristic bracelets or funky lotus root. In any case, the shots are stunning. Thanks, Sally, for yet another compelling BWW image.

  31. October 10, 2011 6:30 pm

    Being a bit of a bake-o-phobe I am in awe of these (and yes, they do look like philodendron leaves!). My holidays lately have inspired a wave of Portuguese dishes (yet to be blogged) like sardine paté and carne alentejana; and a resurgence of Greek food in my kitchen (feta wrapped in phyllo is a particular favourite!)

  32. kristinsweets permalink
    October 17, 2011 2:43 am

    I’ve never seen something like this before! I love your site. I’m learning new things every which way I turn! thank you. I’d love to make something like this.

  33. December 2, 2011 6:24 am

    This looks so good, I must try this. Thanks for sharing.

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