Fougasse: less (middle) is more (crust).

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“What IS that – thing – sitting on the cooling rack?”

“Man, that is UGGGGGGG-ly!”

“Is it edible?”

I tell you, I got a ration of… teasing from my King Arthur Flour bake-mates last week, when I made this – “thing.”

This fougasse. Despite its ugly-duckling looks, a true swan in the world of classic French yeast breads.

You like crust? This bread has a greater crust-to-middle ratio then probably any other. Interesting flavors? While the typical fougasse is simply topped with olive oil and salt – perhaps a sprinkle of herbs – there’s no law that says you can’t add whatever you like to the dough before you shape it.

I happen to like golden raisins. And walnuts. And cheese. Yes, all at once.

You know, like the fancy salad you can get at your finer restaurants: “Salad of Watercress, Strawberries, Gorgonzola Dolce, and Candied Pecans with a Champagne Vinaigrette.”

My toned-down, middle-class, bread version of this dish features walnuts, golden raisins, and good ol’ American blue cheese. Same idea; different players.

So if you’re not afraid to face the taunts of your beauty-conscious family and friends, give this crusty bread a whirl.

Ugly, after all, is only crust-deep.

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You’ll start this loaf the day before with an overnight starter.  Combine 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour; 1/2 cup cool water; and 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast.

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Stir to combine. Cover, and set aside at room temperature.

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Next morning, you’ll see that the starter has softened and developed bubbles.

Now, if you don’t want to wait for an overnight starter, you can substitute 1 cup of sourdough starter – either fed starter, or unfed (right from the fridge). This is a great use for that cup of starter you’d otherwise discard, prior to feeding your sourdough.

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Combine the starter with 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

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Mix to form a rough dough.

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Then knead for about 7 minutes, till the dough is smooth. It’ll be a bit sticky; notice the little bit of “cling” at the bottom of the mixing bowl? This is fine; better sticky than dry.

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Place the dough in a lightly greased container. As usual, I’m using an 8-cup liquid measure, so I can track its rise.

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Allow the dough to double in size. This will take about 90 minutes or so. Towards the end of the rising time, put the crumbled blue cheese in the freezer to firm up; this’ll make it easier to knead into the dough.

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Gently deflate the dough, and add 1 cup walnut halves, and 1/2 cup golden raisins.

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Knead them in, gently and quickly as you can. You don’t want to break up the walnut halves too much.

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Here’s the blue cheese; use a firm variety, not one of the ultra-soft blue cheeses. I bought this one already crumbled, in a plastic container.

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Add 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese…

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…and knead it in by hand.

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Don’t go crazy trying to make the dough smooth; it won’t happen. It should look about like this.

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Gently shape the dough into a tapered oval with an indented end, about 10” wide x 12” long.

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Allow it to rise for 45 minutes, covered. Then cut a vertical slash all the way through the dough to the parchment or pan underneath.

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Cut three diagonal slashes on either side of the vertical cut.

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Pull the dough apart at the slashes, then gently pat the fougasse to an even thickness.


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Cover it, and let it rise for an additional 45 minutes, till it’s puffed up a bit.

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FYI, here’s a simple ladder, if you’d like to do this shape instead.

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Since this bread isn’t the best-looking loaf ever to come down the pike, you can add some “makeup” if you like. Just prior to baking, brush it with 1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water. This will add a nice sheen to the crust.

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Bake the fougasse in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes…

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…till it’s golden brown.

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Remove it from the oven. Cool it on a rack, or right on the baking sheet.

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Pull off pieces to serve.

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Ah, melted cheese… nothing better!

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And here’s the interior – nice crumb, tasty filling.

Because of the starter, fougasse will stay fresh for several days. And, feel free to add your own favorite fillings. If you’re a fan of the strictly savory (hold the raisins, please), try our Olive & Onion Fougasse.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Walnut, Raisin, and Blue Cheese Fougasse.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Hahn’s Bakery, Geneva, IL: Fougasse country bread, $5.00

Bake at home: Walnut, Raisin, and Blue Cheese Fougasse, $4.13

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. cindy leigh

    ahhh….. I bought one of these at a small town convenience store/bakery/deli a few years ago. Forgot the name. But it was good. I think it had been baked with fresh halved grapes vs raisins. I thought it would be a cool thing to pack in a picnic basket. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Alyce

    I have never used a starter. Can I make it the night before, leave it on the counter all day and then make the bread for dinner? Will heat, (it is 100 today) do it in? Thank for your help!

    Alyce, best to make the starter in the morning, rather than let it sit 24 hours in 100°F heat. You can also make it the night before, then refrigerate. And, if your kitchen is really 100°F, you’ll want to cut the yeast down to just a pinch – 1/16 teaspoon or less. BTW, if you’re making bread for dinner, be sure to leave yourself enough time; this particular loaf goes through about 3 hours of rising all told, plus the baking time. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  3. Mags

    Ugly is only crust deep…LOL!

    This is such a different recipe and of course curiosity will get the best of me and I’ll have to try it.

    Reply
  4. Mike T.

    Mmmm, Jeffrey showed us this in bread class. He made it with chile powder or something, I forget. It was a nice and spicy one with a kick of heat, but not too intense. I’ll have to give it a go when I’m back to eating carbs… *sigh*

    Mike, I sympathize; I TRY to do the low-carb thing. It’s a challenge. Is that why we haven’t heard from you in awhile, because you’re being good? Nice to see your name here again – I was getting a little worried! PJH

    Reply
  5. Maria

    Oh heavens! It was the picture of the cheese oozing out that got me. And, Mags is correct. Ugly is only crust deep.

    This looks yummy. I’m going to try this recipe once the weather becomes oven friendly again. 100+ is no time to turn on the oven, a/c or no a/c.

    Whew, Maria – we’re having our first temps. in the high 80s, after a VERY cool/gray summer, and we think we’re sweltering when we haven’t even reached 90°F yet. Stay cool – and file this one away for fall. PJH

    Reply
  6. Kathy

    How is this bread ugly? Man, I must be crazy, ’cause that’s one perfect package to me: homemade, lots of crust, tasty add-ins, yeast-risen, easy to eat.

    GREAT work!

    Well, Kathy, I think it’s because we’re in the midst of photography for our holiday catalogues – so “gorgeously photogenic” is the name of the game at the moment. This humble loaf isn’t gorgeous, in the sense of “perfect, not a hair out of place, the ideal color palette;” but it definitely tastes good, and I’m glad you like its looks, too! PJH

    Reply
  7. Paul Kobulnicky

    This is good. I have been doing something similar with a basic focaccia dough (made with a starter), filling it with interesting sweet or savory fillings and then forming them into “twist” rolls. I’ll have to try this cutting and shaping since the dough is very similar. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Janknitz

    AHA! Caught you weighing out ingredients on the scale (picture of blue cheese crumbles) but you only give volume measurements????

    Why not volume, too for us breadgeeks out here?

    That looks delicious! The recipe on the web, will give volume or weight your choice. Mary @ KAF

    Yes, we JUST started including ingredient amounts in the blog – the full info. has always been in the recipe, which links from the end of the blog. We always measure by weight – so much easier! PJH

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  9. Claudia in Tucson

    I can’t wait for cooler weather, 103 today yesterday 108 so baking is on hold. I am a garlic nut so Olive Oil and chopped garlic with the cheese will be my choice. Will have to let you know how it comes out. I thought your finished picture was just great.Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. Thanks

    Reply
  10. Barbara

    This is like the ‘Elephant Man’ of the bread world…hideous on the outside – wonderful and lovely on the inside. Actually, it doesn’t look THAT hideous ;-)

    This will definitely be a must try!

    Reply
  11. Armida

    Hi PJ!
    I do not like blue cheese at all, but I love the idea of combining cheese with nuts and raisins. What other kind of cheese could I use?
    Oh, and the fougasse looks really attractive.
    Thanks for the great recipes,
    Armida

    Armida, anything sturdy enough to knead: Swiss, cheddar, provolone, Parmesan, even mozzarella. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  12. MYRNA SOSSNER

    With the temp here in West Palm Beach in the high 80′s and into the 90′s, I shall wait a while to tackle this. BUT in the mean while, please, please — where does the name Fougasse come from and what does it mean?

    From Wikipedia: “In ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked in the ashes of the hearth (focus in Latin). This became a diverse range of breads that include “focaccia” in Italian cuisine, “hogaza” in Spain, “fugassa” in Ligurian, “pogača” in the Balkans, “fougasse” in Provence and “fouaisse” or “foisse” in Burgundy. The French versions are more likely to have additions in the form of olives, cheese, anchovies etc, which may be regarded as a primitive form of pizza without the tomato. Fougasse was traditionally used to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The time it would take to bake gives an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread can be loaded.” Interesting, huh? PJH

    Reply
  13. Gail

    This loaf looks tasty, not pretty, but tasty! Do you have the estimated carb count in a serving (one ounce serving, right?), fiber or sugar in grams? I love that the recipe is ‘tough’ enough to handle unfed starter. I notice that you also add yeast, but no sugar. Does this mean that we have to add the raisins (or grapes per the message above?), as food for the yeast?

    Gail, actually, yeast is pretty good about manufacturing its own sugar – it simply converts the starch in flour into sugar. And sorry, I don’t have the nutritionals for this – it’s a long story, with which I won’t bore you, but it’s VERY difficult getting nutritional info. done on these recipes in anything approaching a timely manner… we just have a very slow system for that, sorry! PJH

    Reply
  14. ecentipede

    i love the history lesson in the comments this time! although i always appreciate beautiful food, my only real requirement is great taste, so this will be on my (very long) list of things to bake. i promise not to tell the bread it is only an oven tester.

    OH, good one…. oven tester. I’ll have to remember that! PJH

    Reply
  15. DonnaR

    Hmm, never had one of these before. It’s interesting. Not sure it’ll be a favorite or not. The blue cheese is a little salty, so I wish I had added more of the sweet. BUt I’m eating it hot (who can resist :); the flavors may meld a little better when cool. Final verdict later.

    Reply
  16. Sara

    Very intriguing because I usually have unfed sourdough starter around. I saw that you also had an olive and onion version of the same type of bread that used white and whole wheat flour half-and-half, in quantities that were just about what I had left. I didn’t have any of the “add-in” ingredients, so I roasted some garlic and added the garlic cloves instead. The result is quite good. However, nothing I could do would keep the slits in the bread open. The last rising brought the dough together, I opened the slits again, but they pretty much closed up during baking. So, what’s the trick? Should I have cut down on the added yeast? cut back the rising period?

    I found the best trick is to simply make the slits enormous. Make them 3″-4″ across, if you can. You could also cut back on the final rise, too. You could let rise for about 30 minutes, cut the slits, make them wide, then bake immediately. Give it a try – PJH

    Reply
  17. Barb-OK

    I got raves from our company and my husband today. I served it with a huge salad and grilled chicken tenders on bamboo sticks. It was a simple but gorgeous meal. When I say raves, it was from one end of the meal to the other. They loved it! The recipe is going into my permanent collection. I divided mine up into two pieces of dough to make it more manageable for my small oven. Thanks for posting this.

    Great, Barb – I’m happy for your success! Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  18. Linda Hanes

    My favorite bread in the world is rosemary fougasse made by a little bakery in Berkeley CA. (Acme Bakery, I believe) Since I only get there about once a year, it is a real treat.

    I didn’t even know there WERE other fougasse ingredients than rosemary, but this one looks very intriguing and I’ll be baking some soon.

    Reply
  19. Heidi Q

    I think this looks beautiful! I’ve read all of the entries here to get ideas in the savory department– I’m not such a fan of raisins. I think I’m going to have to take a fresh blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee out to the porch to contemplate what I can make my own fougasse with. I am completely intrigued by this beautiful creation!

    Reply
  20. cindy leigh

    I’ve got company coming next week.
    I think I’ll make 2:
    one with dried cranberries, bleu cheese, and walnuts
    one with roasted garlic cloves, sundried tomatoes, pignoli nuts and fresh rosemary. Maybe some rough chopped parmesano reggiano.

    Will your Bakers Shine work on top vs the egg wash?

    Now, what to make for dinner? Maybe souvlaki with your previous flatbread recipe! And a greek pasta salad with a lemon-oregano-mint dressing.

    Sure, Cindy, the Quick Shine would work just fine. Souvlaki – or since we’re going Greek, spanakopita? Pastitsio? Moussaka? LOVE Greek food, and your salad sounds wonderful – I’ll be right over! PJH

    Reply
  21. Candace

    PJ, my order was just delivered, and OH WOE! The big spatulas (pie crust size) are “no longer available?” Not “back ordered” or “out of stock” or “coming soon to a KAF near you” but “no longer available.” Please say this isn’t so!

    Candace, IS so. Manufacturer quit making them, and there was only one manufacturer. But the yellow-handle one, I find, works fine – it’s what I use now. Very handy. PJH

    Reply
  22. non

    Looks good to me!

    How long does fougasse stay fresh? And does it freeze so it can be made in advance?

    thanks

    Fougasse will stay fresh a couple of days, more if you reheat for about 8-10 minutes in a 350°F oven. I’d make it up to the point of being shaped on the pan, then freeze. Thaw, rise, and bake – for the best possible outcome. PJH

    Reply
  23. Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

    I’ll have to make customized individual fougasses: My husband hates olives, my youngest son hates onions, and everyone hates raisins except me.

    Reply
  24. Barbara Gabioud

    If I use my Zo bread machine on the dough cycle (one hour and 50 minutes) do I still have to do step 4 and let it rise again? Doesn’t the dough cycle include that? Generally bread gets two rises. One before it is shaped and one after it is shaped. So if you do it in the bread machine, you would skip step 4, as that happens in the machine. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  25. Brenda

    I am new to all of this and would like someone to tell me why unbleached four is better than bleached. Thanks

    Bleaches are added to flour to chemically whiten it. The addition of certain bleaches can “age” flour immediately, but some vitamins are destroyed in the process and the nature of the protein becomes permanently altered. You’ll find King Arthur flour is cream colored rather than stark white as no bleaches are ever used. Information on our website at: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/flour/home.html ,may also help you understand why we believe in our flour. Irene @KAF

    Reply
  26. Candace

    PJ, I just looked up the recipe for Olive and Onion Fougasse. It calls for “golden baking onions (“french fried onions”)” What is that? Not those crispy fried things that come in cans?

    Your theory is exactly right! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  27. bobbi

    I made this bread yesterday and it turned out great thank you KAF for the recipe I added fresh herbe instead of rasins the sourdough flavor was incredable

    Reply
  28. Hilary

    This was great!! I made it with about 1/2 C of white starter and 1/2 C of whole wheat starter – I have trouble with overflow starter sometimes!

    The bread didn’t rise ‘up’ as much as I thought it would, but it tasted great – I used dried cranberries, toasted pecans and a little parm. I will add this to my recipe cards and baking rotation.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
  29. Jeri

    Ugly maybe, yet impressive looking. Shaping was easier than I expected…I started out thinking “I’ll just do a ladder” and ended up doing the tree. I kneaded mine by hand, used sourdough starter, added oregano & garlic powder, feta and pine nuts. Oh my! I can see endless possiblities for this bread. For the carb-phobes…I ran my recipe through a calculator and it came out to 45 carbs for 1/8 loaf. It’s worth every one of them!

    Reply
  30. cindy leigh

    ohhhhh….. Ive got these on a retard in the refrig now.
    I made one with roasted garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, sundried tomatoes, a few chopped oil cured black olives, and diced parmegano reggiano. I used the olive oil from the roasted garlic in the recipe.
    The other is bleu cheese, walnuts, and dried cherry flavored cranberries.
    Im so happy because each step of my recipe came out looking just like yours. Including before and after-rising volume, kneading in ingredients, (I did that by hand), and shaping/forming.
    Instead of going immediately to a room temp rise, I had to put mine in the refrig though, got to go pick up last college kid from the airport.
    I’m making them for a dinner tomorrow. Not sure if I will bake today, or let them retard overnight. I’m guessing, with the sourdough base, they would be OK to retard overnight?

    Hi Cindy Leigh,
    Yes, the dough should be fine overnight, especially since this is more of a flatbread than a high riser. Have fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  31. Richard Christensen

    I-m from southern Utah, St. George, Utah.. I run a one man Dutch Oven Catering business, or should I say a hobby..I have looked at your as you call it [thing].. i\I believe that I can duplicate this over a camp fire in one of my Dutch Ovens I-ll keep you posted on the out-come… I have an unfinished web site to show what i can do..

    Good luck with it, Richard – PJH

    Reply
  32. Joyce

    I have a question about keeping your flour. I have an umopened bag with a ” Best if used” date of 6 months ago. The bag has been in a cupboard and maintained at an even Temperature around 68 degrees.
    Is it OK to use or do I need to pitch it?

    Thank You

    Joyce, if it’s all-purpose or another “white” flour, fine. If whole wheat, best to pitch it – PJH

    Reply

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