This recipe for fougasse, the French version of the Italian focaccia bread, is topped with mixed herbs. The flat bread can be slashed to form shapes or the slits can be cut to form a lattice, making the bread easy to pull apart.
1 1/2 cups (375ml) warm water (45 deg C)
1 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
4 cups (500g) plain flour
1/2 tablespoon dried basil, divided
1/2 tablespoon dried savoury, divided
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme, divided
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, divided
2 tablespoons sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons polenta
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Pour water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast into water and let it stand undisturbed until dissolved.
Stir 1/4 the flour, half the herbs, sea salt and 2 tablespoons oil until well blended. Mix in the flour a little at a time until a thick and somewhat sticky dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat the surface. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it rise until doubled; about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape into an irregular oval loaves about 3cm thick. Sprinkle polenta over 2 baking trays; transfer dough to trays. Brush each loaf with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the remaining herbs on top. Make several slashes in the dough with a knife. Cover the loaves with clean tea towels. Let sit until the dough begins to rise again; about 20 minutes.
Place baking trays into an oven preheated to 220 degrees C. Quickly splash a small amount of water onto the bottom of your oven to create steam and close the oven door. Bake until golden; about 20 minutes.
Savoury, or summer savoury, is an aromatic herb. Its scent resembles mint and thyme.
Altered ingredient amounts.
This is a great recipe, after you realise not to add the full 2 tablespoons of sea salt. 1 1/4 tablespoons of sea salt or coarse salt is enough. I actually used flavoured rosemary oil instead of the plain olive oil. Freezes exceptionally well. It is great if baked in a muffin tin too! - 14 Jul 2008
Used different ingredients.
This was an easy, successful foray into breadmaking! It was delicious! I didn't have sea salt so I just used regular salt & added a little to the top before baking - it was just right! I'd make this for guests! - 14 Jul 2008
I made this twice following the recipe strictly. However, it did not rise either time because there appears to be too little yeast. It was also very salty so the sea salt could be reduced a little. - 14 Jul 2008