I'm always looking for creative ways to use extra dough. Laminated Fougasse is a perfect solution for those of you who have a few chunks of French dough lying around. I learned this technique from Christian Vabret at a Bread Bakers Guild of America event in 2007. Vabret is the creator and mastermind behind the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Baking Cup). It was an honor to attend one of his courses. He, like many seasoned French bakers, glowed with passion and joy when talking about bread.
Fougasse is a traditional French flat bread. Just like its cousin, the Italian focaccia, it is often used as a means of getting rid of bits of leftovers. Most often, fougasse is filled with olives, lardons, cheese, and/or nuts. My fougasse is a throwback to my grandma's raisin stuffing while embracing the traditional roots of the classic French fougasse, thus..."Fougasse du Temps Perdu" or "Fougasse of Times Past."
I should note, I majored in French in college, during which time we spent no less than 3 days discussing the madeleine scene from Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu.
To assemble this loaf, first, make the filling. I pureed raisins, caramelized vidalia onions, rendered bacon fat, coarse black pepper, fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme in a food processor. The resulting paste is a little bit sweet and a little bit savory, just like the stuffing I remember.
Use a one pound scrap of French dough for the base of the fougasse. Roll the dough into a 12" by 6" rectangle, spread four ounces of the paste onto half of the dough and fold the dough over. If you've ever laminated puff pastry or croissant dough, it's the same idea. Press the edges of the dough together to seal in the paste. Roll the dough into a second rectangle, this time 6"x 18" and fold in thirds toward the center as shown above. You may need to use a liberal amount of flour when rolling the dough but be sure to brush it off before making the folds. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and repeat this step.
Let the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes before rolling into a 12"x 6" rectangle. Cut through the rectangle using a pizza cutter or dough knife in the pattern illustrated above. When you pick the dough up to transfer it onto the peel (I recommend using a piece of parchment as it can be really sticky), pull the cuts open to transform the lump of laminated dough into a beautiful fougasse. I baked mine at 425°F for about 20 minutes. It should be slightly puffy and crispy but not too dark. After it is baked, while it is still hot, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
This is the perfect bread to present to your host(ess) the next time you're invited over for dinner. Fougasse is a very communal loaf. It's fun to break off pieces and pass around as an appetizer or meal time treat.
If you would like more information about the recipe or procedure for making this fougasse, please email me!
All photos courtesy of my dear friend Hana from Haniela's Food & Photography
I am submitting this bread to The Wild Yeast Blog's weekly YeastSpotting post.