Fougasse Bake-Off

Let's get creative for August (gosh, are we into the 8th month already??) and make fougasse, sourdough, of course. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, you can basically make a batard, flatten it, and slit, then prove. If you do some googling, you'll see it comes in various open, holey, decorative shapes.  Here's something, baked by our missing Mick, to inspire you. As you can see, it doesn't only come plain, you can add cheese, nuts, herbs, bacon, and lots more.

Jump in!



A new bake-off!  Yeeaaah!!

you're on!

for a start (though I didn't bake it this month, so it doesn't count)
here is an old fougasse of mine, along with some baguettes
baked in my oven in Australia.
not sure what my dreadful oven in the UK will do to them



coz I've got a question. 

Does one prove the dough, slit, then bake quite immediately, or,

Should one 1st prove, slit, 2nd prove, then only bake?

I've never made one before. The recipe I'm looking at says to slit, then prove, whereas Celia told me hers says only one prove, slit and bake. I can see pros and cons in both ways. What did you do for yours? (Looks great, by the way, and I'm sure no oven's going to stop you from producing perfect breads. Absolutely adore your bags' ears.)


Teep, the one prove, slit, bake method only works for yeasted fougasse.  It leads to quite a heavy sourdough one.  I'm going to try a new idea I had in my sleep last night for shaping. ;)

Would love Dom's advice here...


I can't remember exactly what I did last time.
What I would be inclined to do is to bulk for a usual length, then shape into a flat bread and prove for a couple of hours (perhaps a little underproved?). I would cut and stretch the dough just before baking.

I think if you cut and then prove, the holes will tend to close. The dough probably needs to be a little underdone to tolerate the handling at the end.


Some success here.  What I did was bulk prove, then shaped it into a long flat log (by flattening it out into a large rectangle, and then making a three way pastry fold).  I then let this rise in a floured teatowel for another hour, and then cut off segments, which I flattened out and cut up.  Nice textured crumb, not heavy or dense in any way.  We've scoffed one already! (The last pic reminds me of 70s crazy quilting). :)

The last one is really cool! Thanks for the tips, to mix dough for one now....4.30pm...hmm...perhaps to bake tomorrow morning.

How do you eat it? Besides with hands?


With some black olive tapenade, I make some with figs like my friend and blogger David Lebovitz did. Of course some rose wine would be nice too!

...I'm a biiiiig David Lebovitz fan.  Love his chocolate book - his chocolate chip cookie from there is our house standard.

I had my fougasse with baked pumpkin soup this morning.. ;)

This is FUN! My fougasse is not as smooth as Dom's nor the holes as pretty as Celia's nor the shape as perfect as Mick's, but I had a great time. I didn't really follow any formula for the dough, didn't measure the liquid; there's milk powder, potato flakes and bacon. It turned out a bit wet and was tricky to handle, so you see liberal use of tapioca flour everywhere to help unstick the mess. After all that, I must say it's a bread I'll make often. There's more crust all over, lovely, crispy crust which won't give you a chance to wait. And the crumb was very light and soft.

See how I tore into it when the bread was not quite cool enough...

My next fougasse, which should be soon, will have cheese in it. Mmm....


What? You're still around? When are you flying off?

TP, I think they look wonderful!

Can't you give us a pretend recipe, at least? ;)

I wish Graham would play too.  How about it, Grae?  Are you joining the fougasse bake-off?  :)

1/3C milk powder dissolved in a cup of water, boiled, cooled, add
1/3C potato flakes (which I found...finally! a cake provision shop)
around 3 T melted butter
few rashes of bacon, chopped to bits
1C very active starter
4C strong flour
1t plus sea salt
more water to mix

After 2 hours of stretch and fold, into the fridge it went. This morning, I let it warm up for an hour. Did more stretch and folds for 2 hours. Shaped. Rested half an hour. Slit. Rested 15 mins. Bake. Formed the 2nd fougasse when the first one was halfway through in the oven.

After 2 hours out of the oven, I can still hear a nice crisp sound as my girls bite into it downstairs, a light lunch with chicken ginseng essence/soup. Don't think hubby will get to eat any. Oops.


I wish Graham would play too.  How about it, Grae?  Are you joining the fougasse bake-off?  :)


Yes, I will play with you Celia and TP and all. This Sunday Maedi and I will bake our very own fougasse, I promise. It will be a bit of a collaboration because Jesse Downes and Rob Booth (from Flour bakery) will be watching over our shoulders and are sure to let us know when they are not happy with our technique. We will get photos up ASAP. If anyone is in Brisbane on Sunday 10 August, please come to the Ekka to join in the baking. PM me if you need directions. Graham

Yaaay!  Can't wait to see it.  I'm going to have another go this weekend as well - last batch went down a treat with the kids.

That's fabulous! Wish I could be there.

Plan is to pop a cheesy fougasse into the fridge to retard overnight this Friday to bake on Saturday morning.


Dear me, Graham, I have asked for a long time to see some of your bread, as well Maedi! And low and behold TP and Celia have done it!

Can't wait to see the results, I haven't baked a fougasse yet! My latest bakes have been standard levain, today a couple of whole wheat, not 100 % but if they are nice I will post them! Will give the fougasse a shot at the end of the week, perhaps with pancetta? Or as they say in France Lardon.
Celia invited me over for Fougasse Bake-Off.  I have never done one before but will give it a try.  Maybe this weekend I'll have time to do one.  Sounds like a fun thing to do.  

This also my first post here so hello to all of you.  Looking forward to all the sourdough fun.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Heeey, nice to see you here, LD !  Having seen what you can do with focaccia, I can't wait to see what you'll produce in fougasse! :)

As an aside, I read an interesting recipe in one of Richard Bertinet's books recently, where he uses cabernet grape flour - have you ever heard of that?  Apparently it's being made in Canada from the dried and powdered skins leftover from winemaking.

Looking forward to your fougasse. But don't stop there, check out our 2 recent bake-offs...Spelt and Filled Breads. And, of course, there's the mother of all bake-off threads, The Great Baguette Bake-off. Bake-off threads are never closed...feel free to join in anytime the bread spirit moves you.;)

Have fun!

Celia we have lots of grape skins here at work.  Three years ago we crushed 52,000 tons of grapes.  I think I might look into trying some grape skins in my breads.

TP like I said I have never done fougasse so it is a whole new world for me.  I have an idea on the shape and the cuts and a few other things but don't have a clue how it will turn out.  Those other threads are really long.  It looks like you have a lot of fun doing the bake-offs.  I have a picture of my focaccia online if Filled Breads is the thread where it should be posted.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


We would love to have your focaccia (if only, literally!) at the Filled Breads thread.


Here is half my first attempt at fougasse, the rest got eaten before I could find my camera.

My second go with olives, capers and toasted pine nuts. The shape is a bit compact as I was running out of room on the baking tray.

You are a neat eater, lol!!! A beautiful sight, nevertheless!


Ok since half of my bread gets taken to work for the true taste test.  I need to know how to pronounce the name of this bread.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot



Great bread, Firebeard!!  I've got two batches on the rise today...

It has taken me a few days to get time to post the photos, but here is my first herby Fougasse.
Need more work on the cutting and shaping - I didn't find Mick's suggestion (in the other forum) of using a plastic dough scraper all that easy.

OK flavour. Seemed to stale very quickly for sourdough (I didn't get to eat it the night I baked it unfortunately). The middle loaf was an attempt at Peter Reinharts fougasse variant starting from a baguette - didn't work brilliantly.

and here's a white leaven for good luck made at the same time


Cool, Dom!  I also find flatbreads go stale faster than loaves, not sure why.  What herbs did you put in?

I had a thought last night - maybe we could roll out flat pizza rounds, and then cut eyes and mouths into them and call them "Tubby Toast" (if you don't know what that is, then you don't have small children who watch Teletubbies). :)  I wonder if it would work...

Hey Dom I love that pic of you white leven the way the slash has opened up, what hydration are you useing?

Where does Fougasse originate from? Are there any traditional recipes available?

It strikes me as a useful bread because of its dramatic shape and it is easy to tare up to go with soups etc.

I have been adding some olive oil into my dough to help the bread keep moist. Like bread buns with the high surface area Fougasse seam to go stale quickly.

How are other people making the cuts? The best way I have found so far is to push an oiled scraper straight down through the dough.


Lovely, Dom! I echo the staleness factor. My fougasse was good to eat for 6 hours. After that, the crust became very chewy and the crumb not at its best.

My cheesy fougasse plan lost to fudge banana cookies and chocolate chip cookies.


Inspired by TP's use of potato flakes, I threw in leftover mashed purple congo potatoes from dinner last night - this made the dough stupidly wet and difficult to handle, but it produced a lovely lilac coloured bread with a light and airy texture.  Pretty happy with this!

It does look AMAZING, Celia!!

Kamut and cheese fougasse:


oiling the scraper sounds like a good idea

Fougasse is usually associated with the South of France, and as I understand it the term is often used generically in the way that we would use 'focaccia' - a filled or topped flat bread, sometimes cooked on the hearth.
Specifically, there are two features of 'fougasse' that are reasonably distinctive. The laddering/cuts that we have all been trying to emulate are a characteristic feature (though not always present). Some forms of fougasse are made specifically at Christmas as a seasonal cake/bread. I think that such versions are usually sweetened, and may contain orange flower water/anise.

I haven't found a particular traditional recipe - I suspect that like focaccia almost any dough can be used - depending upon what is available. I have looked at a number of french recipes on the net (I don't know of any good professional/serious amateur french baking forums), and the recipes vary. Sourdough versions seem fairly unusual!



Thanks for the information. Orange flower water sounds interesting, I might play with the idea of a sweet flavoured loaf.


Your potato loaves look really great.

This is my latest loaf, olvies, capers, toasted pine nuts and cheese. I mixed it up yesterday evening and left it in the fridge over night.

Wow some nice looking bread up above.  Here is what I cooked up.  I see now I need to work on making my holes bigger.  This design just came to me and I think it will make a great looking bread some day.  Maybe someone else can have a try at it.


It smells great.  In a few more minutes I'll know how it tastes.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Nice looking bread, Duane!!  How does it taste? :)

In order to get the holes to stay open, I have to stick my fingers in them and give them a really good tug...

Well the bread tasted so good that I believe that someone much better than me made it.  I put it in a pizza box and took it over the the neighbors house for dinner.  The pizza box was a perfect way to transport the bread.  We had Butter, Balsamic Vinegar, and Olive Oil to accompany the bread.  There was also a bottle of Rose Wine open.  We just about inhaled half of it before dinner.

I did the oiled scraper trick to cut the holes but they kept on closing up.  The holes were open when I put the bread in the cooker but I didn't think they would stay that way.  Next time I will figure out how to make bigger holes.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Here is my second go at Fougasse for the bake-off. I used dough that I was making for some Mill loaves (30% WM, 10% rye), and shaped into a flat bread. Let rise for ~2.5 hours, cut with oiled scraper and pulled apart. Rest for 30 mins then baked.

A little singed around the edges, but I was quite happy with the shape. Will dig in for lunch with hummus.

The oiled scraper was easier - but I think it also helped that this was a stiffer dough.


FYI - A good tool to use is a paint/putty scrapper.  They come in different sizes so you can control the size of your cuts.

Yep, I second Tony's suggestion on using a scraper. I forgot to say I use a flour-dusted one (I've got 2 sizes). 

LD: I can see the beauty in your design. Thanks for sharing that. After opening the hole as big as I can, I dust it with some tapioca flour (because I have a big bag of it).

Erm...where is the father-and-son fougasse we have all been waiting for?


I had a thought last night - maybe we could roll out flat pizza rounds, and then cut eyes and mouths into them and call them "Tubby Toast" (if you don't know what that is, then you don't have small children who watch Teletubbies). :)  I wonder if it would work...

Yesterday, we went to a bakery/restaurant opened by our ex-PM called The Loaf, the most high-end bakery in Msia you can say. If you scroll across here, Celia, you can see a bread with a face, which the bakery is famous for, though this bread is a brioche, not a fougasse. Kids will like this fougasse I'm sure. Great idea, Celia!


Sometimes if I'm doing pizza and people are not quite organised yet, still waiting for someone or for some other reason it's not quite time to start cooking pizza.  I take a pizza base that is ready to go, drizzle a bit of oil on it, sprinkle a little salt on top, cut some holes in it and drop it on the pizza stone.  Voila! Pizza Fougasse.  Gives people something nice and crunchy to munch on while they wait.  No photos unfortunately as it's normally at time when the kitchen is crawling with people and kids getting ready to make pizza.


Gosh, the wealth of tips and tricks one can get out of these bake-offs!


Seeing some gorgeous photos of fougasse on the homepage.  Graham, are they yours?  :)

One of these fougasse is shaped by me (the best one, of course), but that is all the credit i can claim. They are creations of Rob Booth and Jesse Downes of Flour bakery on the Gold Coast. I learn't enough on the day (the Ekka baking demo) to attempt my own tonight (the dough is currently in bulk proof stage).

Jesse and Rob's baking at the Ekka was brilliant and they have a certain energy together as a team that is completely positive, pro-active, nurturing, quirky (all that stuff), despite the fact they were dog-tired on the day.

I took some video and now we have so much good film of bakers and events it is hard to know how we will ever get it all edited. There is a good section of Rob doing fougasse and I will make an effort to get that up in a day or two.

Smashing! Can't wait for the video clips and more pix!


Zatar spice topping

Thanks TP. My bake last night went well, the pic above a shot showing the 'zartar' style spice topping inspired by Rob and Jesse. The dough is 40% leaven and about 70% hydration, using organic stone ground 'unbleached' flour (I think a more suitable term for sifted stone ground flour is simply 'sifted').

Next time i want to finish the dough a little warmer, as this dough took 5 hours in bulk fermentation and another 2 - 3 hours proofing on trays at 20C. I think 24C to 25C would have been more appropriate.