Fougasse as I initially knew it was a plain type of bread with exaggerated slits and shaped to resemble a flat oblong or a broad taro leaf. The one above was created in the likeness of fougasse from Foix in southwestern France. It includes lardons, creme fraiche and gruyere cheese and looks like a big open-faced submarine sandwich.
The recipe for the dough makes 2 fougasse:
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 2 cups white)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 3/4th cup warm water (add more as necessary)
1 package instant dried yeast
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add water and oil. Sprinkle in the yeast and allow to dissolve. Stir until combined and scrape out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Punch down and proceed to the filling and rolling step.
For one fougasse I used 3 ounces of guanciale (pig jowl) cut into strips and cooked until the subcutaneous fat turns transparent. Divide the dough equally into two, flatten each into oval shapes 16 inches long and 9 inches wide. For the Foix version, spread with a half cup of creme fraiche. Top with 1 cup of grated gruyere (another half cup wouldn’t hurt), then add the guanciale (or pancetta). Gently roll into a log but it doesn’t need to be done tightly. Pinch seam to seal, flip over and make a slit halfway through the length of the roll. Sprinkle with a few leaves of dried thyme and several grinds of black pepper. You can open it up a little but the roll will relax and expand during proofing. Place in a warm spot free from drafts and let rise about 40-50 minutes. Bake at 390°F until golden brown; about 25 minutes. What you get afterwards is this incredibly wonderful and fragrant loaf oozing puddles of melted creme fraiche and gruyere in the crevices. I burned my mouth devouring half of it in less than 10 minutes then remembered that MotH might want a taste of it too. The best part was tearing off the end and dunking it into the hot ooze.
Fougasse à la Moi
With the other piece of dough try whatever cheese, spreads and vegs you have in the fridge. For this meatless version I used 1/2 cup of creme fraiche, crumbled feta and ligurian olives in the roll. After baking, it was topped with leftover eggplant spread aka babaganoush.