The Bake Off: Fougasse

I have never in my life heard of Fougasse, and having google translated it, I can confirm it translates from French to English as 'Focaccia'. When I saw this technical challenge, I was actually delighted - It's the first one I've done at uni, and I thought to myself "I can do that", I mean, I was kind of correct...

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g fine salt
10g instant yeast
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing (I used vegetable oil - #studentlife)
350ml warm water
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra to finish (I used dried)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (fortunately my flat mate had fresh thyme, but think dried would have worked well, too!)
2 tsp chopped fresh sage (I used dried)
fine semolina for dusting (I didn't actually use this, and it was fine!)
½ tsp dried oregano
crushed sea salt, to finish

1. Oil a 3 litre square plastic container (I didn't have 3 litre one, so I just split the dough in half before I let it prove and used two 1.5 litre containers instead).
2. Put the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl, either in a mixer with a dough hook, or use a free standing mixer with the hook attachments. Add the oil and 3/4 of the water. Mix on a slow speed at first, then as it starts to become more dough like, add the remaining water slowly (I probably didn't need all of the water and this is probably why I encountered problems later on, so just be mindful of that!). 

3. Using a medium speed, mix for 6-8 minutes, then incorporate the rosemary, sage and thyme evenly through the dough. The dough is a very slack mixture, but you should be able to easily peel it away from the sides of the bowl. Tip into the container(s) and prove for at least an hour until doubled in size.

4. Line 2 baking sheets (FYI, handy tip is to make sure both sheets fit in your oven before putting the mixture on them... not that this happened to me, or anything). 
5. The dough, once proved, should be "bouncy and shiny". Dust your surface with the flour (and semolina if using) heavily. Tip the dough onto the surface - I suggest maybe kneading it a little if it seems to slack as it was slightly too wet for me, hence why I didn't get many slits. 

6. Put the dough onto each baking sheet and spread out. Use a pizza cutter (and spatula!) cut down the middle of the ovals, one on top of the other, making sure to stop 2 cm from each end. Make 12 diagonal cuts in the dough - unlike mine as the mixture was just a little too wet for them to stay... emphasise the wholes before putting in the oven to ensure they stay during baking.
7. Place the sheets in plastic bags and prove for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. Spray/drizzle oil over the top of the loaves, sprinkle over the oregano and bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took more like 25 minutes, but then again I am using a rubbish, tiny, student oven). The bread should be hollow on the base when done, remove from the oven and then brush with oil and sprinkle sea salt over the top. Do a photo shoot of your bread as it will look amazingly rustic and very Instagrammable (optional).

Patience Factor 8/10 (Honestly, this isn't that bad, especially when you consider that it's dough!)
Easiness 8/10 (the creation of slits didn't happen, but everything else was pretty damn easy!)
Taste 9.5/10 (so delicious...)

As you can see, this actually turned out pretty well -  in fact, I have to admit it was probably my favourite bake to date, despite the lack of slits and the oven controversy! Have you tried making Fougasse? Who do you want to win Bake Off? Let me know... Have a great rest of the week!
Becky xx

*As always, the recipe was taken from here and isn't mine.*


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