Friday, May 18, 2012

Fougasse aux Olives - Foccacia with Olives

Despite the fact that we live in an apartment, we are lucky to have a roof terrasse to eat out or just relax. One of the things I really like about this terrasse is that we can grow herbs: basil, parsley, cilantro, chive, rosemary, tarragon, mint, thyme, etc. (I am looking for chervil seeds to plant some!). There is nothing better to me than cook with fresh thyme or fresh rosemary or to scissor some fresh cilantro, chive and tarragon to dress a salad (why purchase pre-herbed pre-packed salad at the supermarket when you can make your own??) I also like the fact that our children enjoy drowning watering the plants and to go and cut them fresh when needed. They feel empowered with a very important task! At least, by now, they know their herbs... and enjoy eating them, even a lot of them like in a herb yogurt sauce on sliced cucumbers....
We had a mild winter and even though we did not cover our herbs during the winter, I was SO happy to see that our chive and rosemary were back up, ready to grow again (we must have the chive for at least 4 years now!). It did not take me long to use just a little bit, enough to make me feel that I was eating something really fresh, but not too much to give them enough strength to grow bigger in the coming weeks.
I made my first fougasse, French for foccacia, a few years ago. It's a very traditional bread eaten in the South of France where herbs, especially rosemary, thyme and fennel that grow wild in the Garrigue are mixed with local cured olives and Olive oil. Perfect bread, no?
I don't make it often, mostly because, I use my natural sourdough starter to make baguettes these days and have not tried to make Fougasse with the starter. I should just try. Especially now that I have home-grown rosemary... and really because this bread does not need much time to rise; it's therefore easy to start it late afternoon and bake it in the oven for dinner. You should try! If not, just try to grow herbs in your garden or patio and use them everywhere to spice up your summer dishes. If you ask your children to come and help (or even be in charge), chances are they'd be the first ones to eat them on their plate. Worth a lot, no? Bon Appétit!

  • 200g (7 ounces) wheat flour
  • 200g (7 ounces) white whole wheat flour
  • 250g (1 cup) lukewarm water 
  • 75ml (2.53 Floz) olive oil
  • 1 pack of dry instant yeast
  • Pitted black olives
  • Fresh thyme cut
  • 5 g (1ts) of salt
  • Extra Coarse sea salt
  • Extra Olive Oil for brushing
  • Stir together lukewarm water and yeast in a bowl until the yeast is fully dissolve. Let Stand about 5 minutes.
  • In another bowl, mix rosemary (cut in small pieces) and olives (cut in half).
  • Add flour, salt, and olive oil to the yeast-water mixhture. Knead dough until very soft, adding the rosemary-olive mix just at the end of the kneading process.
  • Transfer the dough into a lighly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Pre-heat oven to 450F (225C)
  • Transfer dough onto a baking pan and press with your fingers. Let dough rest & rise for about 15 minutes. 
  • Brush with olive oil, add coarse sea salt
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 450F (225C) or until golden.
My comments
  • You could use all purpose flour instead of the white whole wheat.
  • Ideally, you cook the fougasse on a pizza stone. If you don't have one, don't worry, take your best pizza dish.