2 June 2009


Along with family celebration of me aging, I got a whole bunch of lovely presents. Among these were two books I'd had my eye on for a while - Richard Bertinet's Dough and Crust.. A you perhaps remember, I went to his place for two master classes last year. They were for Viennoiserie and Patisserie, but since I started making the kneadless bread last year, I've become a bit obsessed with bread.

So today I opened up the first book, Dough, and made one and a half batch of the basic recipe for white bread. The first recipe is for fougasse, something I first experienced in 2001, when I went to Montpellier to learn French. That was my last attempt of many to learn that language and I doubt I'll succeed, but the fougasse stayed with me. There was a bakery called Paul and they had something very misshapen and with olives in it. I loved it and had done some search on the internet, but all there seemed to be is focaccia.

7 g quick yeast
750 g white strong flour
20 g salt
525 g water

As Richard mentions, fougasse is from the same family of breads, but the way he does it, it is just beautiful to look at, not remotely close to what I bought in that bakery. So you can imagine my joy when the first thing I spot in my new book is Fougasse.

Now, I'm familiar with the method of working the dough, I've done it a few times on the brioches, but today I really didn't feel like slapping dough for 20 minutes, so I followed the instructions for the mixer, which worked ever so nicely.

I did end up over-resting the dough, as I made the saffron sponge cake in between. And I also had to take a break and watch the DVD that came with the book, just to make sure I did things correctly. The whole was surprisingly easy, I almost felt a bit cheated on that there was no shaping etc needed.

The only thing I didn't do (although I started on it) was to use a baking stone/thick tray upside down. I've yet to get hold of a baking stone, so I put in a baking tray, but once the fougasses were ready, I didn't have the confidence to slide them onto the trays, but used my thin baking sheets and put them in. Two things really - first of all, doing it with a swing would most likely have resulted in my beautifyl breads being quickly speeded onto the flame that comes out at the back, thus requiring a brand new oven most likely. Second, they would lose their beautiful leaf shape.


Sadly I was a bit stingy with flouring the baking sheets, so a couple of the breads had to be cut off when they were done.

What I also had confirmed is that my oven is unacceptably leaky. I generously sprayed with water just before and just after I put in each lot of fougasses and yet, I ended up with a sort of dull and very soft crust.


So definitely fine tuning required - put a pan with water in at the bottom and keep it there for the duration of the baking. Also move on to olive oil dough, I think that'll work rather nicely or put stuff in before the dough is left to rest - olives, sundried tomatoes, etc.

But I was unable to resist and had one for lunch and Lundulph and I had one each with our salad for dinner and we dipped in the oil from the pickled roasted chillies I made recently.


One word - YUMMY!

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