Baking · Bread

Provence: Olive and Rosemary Fougasse

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I found out how to make bread rise! This may not sound like much, but this has been a major issue for me recently – there just isn’t anywhere warm enough in my house! However, thanks to a tip-off, I found that by turning my oven to Gas mark 4 for 5 minutes and then turning off, enough heat is generated to all my bread to rise! Result!

Fougasse 2

This recipe is another from the cookbook of Le Cordon Bleu, and is for a delicious, flat loaf flavoured with rosemary. (The original recipe calls for thyme, but I had fresh rosemary in the garden and just couldn’t resist! The fougasse is a form of flat bread baked in a wood-fired oven, and was used to check the temperature of the oven was correct. Fougasse is from Provence, and often includes other ingredients such as cheese, olives and anchovies. The Italian foccacia is from the same family of breads, and is made in a similar way.

Fougasse 1

This bread is simple to make, and great for summer picnics and outdoor meals as it has quite a dense texture which doesn’t crumb easily. Just be warned – it is very moreish, and won’t last long!

Olive and Rosemary Fougasse

Ingredients:

  • 300ml warm water
  • 15g yeast
  • 500g strong plain flour
  • 5g salt
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 60g olives, stoned and sliced
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

Make your starter dough, by dissolving the yeast in the water, before adding 120g of strong plain flour. Mix briefly before covering and leaving in a warm place until doubled in size.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the salt, 50ml of water, olive oil and the olives before mixing in the starter dough. Start to knead the mixture until all the flour is incorporated, before shaping into a ball and scoring with a large cross. Again, cover and leave in a warm place until i has risen to double its original size.

Preheat the ovento 445°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the risen dough out to about 4cm thick and place on this sheet. Cut slits in the dough, pulling slightly to create a gap in the dough. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle over the salt and rosemary. Bake about 35 minutes until golden brown (cover with foil if it starts to burn)

Bread · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge · Uncategorized

France: Pain Brié

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Much as I hate to say it, there is only so much cake that you can eat. Particularly as a baking blogger, the question of what to do with the remaining cakes. I’m lucky in that I have a very hungry younger brother who is a willing tester for many of the recipes when he is back from university, but otherwise it can come down to just Max and I to eat it, which can leave you feeling very fat. The problem was partially solved when my mum provided me with some lovely small round baking tins which belonged to my grandmother, but even so!

Every so often then I make something else, and today that something is bread. I have mixed feelings towards bread – I love tiger bread and could quite happily eat half a loaf in one sitting, but as much of the bread around these days is plastic white sliced sandwich bread, I don’t tend to eat much of it. Homemade bread is a different matter, but my house is not made for baking bread, and I find it almost impossible to make it rise! The only way I’ve managed to successfully get dough to rise is to place the bowl on a pile of books stacked under the bathrooms heated towel rail – not the best situation to be in!

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However, when I make bread, I remember why it’s worth all the hassle! This loaf is a prime example of how good proper bread can be – a Normandy-style bread, filled with both black and green olives and rosemary. Delicious for a picnic, and very simple to make! It can be served either hot or cold, and does not need any topping to improve it – the ultimate one hand snack! The recipe is taken from Rachel Khoo’s book The Little Paris Kitchen

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Pain Brié

Ingredients:

Fermented Dough:

  • 10g yeast
  • 10ml warm water
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

The bread:

  • 5g dried yeast
  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 85g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • a knob of butter
  • 300g fermented dough

The filling:

  • 50g green olives, chopped
  • 50g black olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 20ml olive oil

Instructions:

First make the fermented dough, something that must be done the night before. Mix the yeast and warm water and stir until all the yeast has dissolved. Place the flour and salt in the bowl and quickly mix before adding the yeast mixture. Stir to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight before continuing.

The next day, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, before mixing the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, fermented dough and butter before bringing together to form a ball. On a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until smooth, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Make the filling by mixing together the olives, rosemary and oil. Roll out the risen dough so that is it 1 inch thick and about the size of a piece of A4 paper. Spread the olive mixture on top of the dough, and roll up lengthways into a long roll. Place join-side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Us a sharp knife to cut deep slits in the dough (ensuring that you d not cut all the way through!)  and cover with a damp tea towel before allowing to rise for 1 hour (it should have doubled in size).

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 9/240°C/475°F with a baking tray in the middle and a roasting tin in the bottom. Once hot, slide the roll (still on the baking paper) onto the hot baking tray, and pour a galss of water into the roasting tin. Bake for 5 minutes before reducing the heat to gas mark 7/210°C/425°F and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.