Savory Herb and Olive Fougasse Bread
Flecked with bright herbs and briny olives, this savory fougasse is a gorgeous Provençal flatbread with dramatic slashes resembling ears of wheat. Not unlike an Italian focaccia, fougasse is slightly chewy with a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
It’s a simple bread, but one you’ll want to tear into — especially surrounded by a charcuterie or cheese board. Just snap off a section of this shareable, tearable bread and dip in some olive oil with finely chopped herbs.
My foolproof recipe is as easy as delicious and can be made the same day (or leisurely overnight).
Tips for making fougasse.
When it comes to flavoring a fougasse, there are almost limitless variations. You’ll often find loaves studded with olives and showered in herbs (which just happens to be my personal favorite). But, asiago, red onion, or even speck work beautifully. I also like to mix in a Calabrian chile for a bit of heat. You do you.
I also start my fougasse dough with a poolish — a loose preferment of equal parts flour and water and a bit of commercial yeast left to ripen over 8-12 hours. Bread made with a preferment has an improved structure, a deeper-colored crust, and a more complex flavor than those without.
It can be tricky to get the dough to not stick to the work surface or the blade of your knife. I suggest shaping the bread directly on the sheet pan and using a pizza cutter to make the cuts. You will use less flour when handling the dough and be less likely to mangle the overall shape.
That said, DO be liberal with the olive oil — both before and after baking. Brushing with oil before baking ensures a crispy crust. Brushing after baking ensures deliciousness.
Let me know below if you make this fougasse or if you have any questions!
Herb and Olive Fougasse
- 1 cup 120 g bread flour, spooned and leveled
- ½ cup 118 g filtered water, 70°-75°F
- ⅛ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 ¼ cups 390 g bread flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 cup 235 g filtered water, 100°-105°F
- 2 tsp 10 g kosher salt
- 2 tsp 6 g active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp 25 g extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 Calabrian chiles , finely chopped, or a large pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- ¾ cup 105 g kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Make the Poolish
- Mix the flour, water, and yeast in a 1-quart container. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
Make the Fougasse Dough
- Add the poolish, flour, salt, and water to the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on the lowest speed until the dough is shaggy, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Add the yeast to the mixture. Turn the mixer on low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Turn the mixer up to medium and continue mixing for 3-5 minutes. Add the herbs, chiles, and olives, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Don't. worry if the olives aren't fully distributed.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Halfway through, punch down the dough and fold the sides over itself. Re-cover the bowl and let rise for the remaining time.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly oil the top of the parchment.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Divide the dough into two and place it on the prepared sheet pans. Using your fingers, flatten each piece into a 12×8-inch oval and then gently stretch the bottom to form a rough triangle. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Make two vertical cuts in the center of each oval using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Reach under the dough and spread it apart to open up the cuts. Then, make six diagonal cuts on each side of the center cuts. Again, reach under the dough and gently spread it outward to form the leaf shape. Let rise uncovered until noticeably puffy, about 20-30 minutes.
- Generously coat the dough's surface with olive oil using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with more olive oil.