This herby bread is of French origin and designed to make two large loaves that resembled big, flat leaves. Recipe is modified from Paul Hollywood, as featured on the Great British Bake Off. Amounts are provided below in cups and in weight, with a recommendation to follow the weight for more accuracy.
Course: Bread, Side Dish
Keyword: french, yeast bread
Author: Beth Cato
2 large baking sheets
2Tablespoonsolive oil plus more for greasing and drizzling
500gramsbread flour plus more for dusting (1 lb, 2 ounces)
10gramsfine sea salt(1/4 teaspoon)
7gramsinstant yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
350mlwarm water(12 ounces)
4teaspoonschopped rosemary plus more to finish
2teaspoonsdried Italian seasoning
fine cornmeal for dusting, or substitute semolina flour
sea salt flakesto finish
Grease a large container with some olive oil. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a mixer with a dough hook (or with a dough whisk and arm muscle), combine the bread flour and sea salt. Add yeast, followed by the measured olive oil and most of the warm water. Mix on low speed. As the dough comes together, slowly add the rest of the water. Continue to mix on medium speed for about 7 or 8 minutes. Add the herbs and make sure they are evenly distributed. Dough should be quite elastic and easy to work with.
Dump the dough into the oiled container. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until at least doubled, about an hour. Dough should be bouncy and shiny.
Dust a work surface with extra flour and cornmeal (or semolina). Tip the dough onto the surface. It should be loose and flowing. Divide dough in half.
Place each piece of dough on the prepared parchment. Spread into a flat oval, then use a pizza cutter to slice twice down the middle (to make a stem) with six cuts on the side of each leaf (see photograph for example). Gently stretch out the dough to emphasize the holes.
Cover both loaves with plastic wrap and allow to set for 20 minutes as the oven preheats to 430-degrees.
Brush or spray additional olive oil atop each leaf, then sprinkle on the dried oregano.
Bake for about 7 minutes, then switch positions of bread on the oven racks. Continue baking another 8 minutes or so (15 to 20 minutes total) until each fougasse is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven. Immediately brush more olive oil on top, followed by a sprinkling of sea salt.
Bread is delicious fresh or at room temperature. Loaves can be well-wrapped and frozen for later enjoyment.