Finally a bread recipe. And with olive oil, black olives, rosemary...
We're making Olive Fougasse for our week's recipe from Around my French Table, by Dorie Greenspan, for our FFWD group.
Baking with yeast is my favourite hobby. There's something about working together with the yeast that I find challenging and fun at the same time.
I've been baking focaccia for years, but only made fougasse, it's French cousin, once, with a sourdough starter that I kept for years. It was time consuming but very rewarding. This time it's a straight dough that gets the flavours deepen by staying overnight in the refrigerator, a very reliable way of getting more flavour and better crumb out of most doughs.
Olives, black and pitted, and rosemary are added, which pair extraordinarily with olive oil, a main ingredient here. The addition of lemon or orange zest I never used before.
I pitted my olives by crushing them with the palm of my hand and tore them apart with my fingers, and also I used lemon zest because that's all I had, and only a few gratings with my microplane grater (such a good little gadget) because I just went with my instinct and stopped at maybe half a teaspoon.
The dough was easy to put together and then the stand mixer did the rest. And though it's sticky and messy to work with it's not difficult if you, like me, choose to do a free-form shaped fougasse. Just some flour on the work surface, unload the dough, pat it a bit with floured hands, dump it in the floured baking sheet and work with whatever shape appears.
Mine turned out better than I thought, with no merit on my part.
There are two standard shapes, one as a leaf (the most popular) and then another one as a ladder. This way you get more crunchy crust and less crumb. Which works well for me.
The taste is really good, with all those great Mediterranean ingredients working so well together. The almost whole olives and coarse salt on top are a must for me, they round up the final flavor of the bread.
This bread should be eaten right there, warm from the oven. I tore mine in chunks and dipped them into rosemary infused olive oil.