Fougasse is a flat bread from Provence, but it’s origins are much older. Panis focacius was a flat bread made in Roman time cooked in the ashes of a wood burning hearth (Roman: focus). Now is a classic of southern France cuisine and this recipe for fougasse bread by France’s most famous baker, Eric Kayser, is fairly easy to make.
Makes: fougasse bread x 4
Preparation time 15 min – resting time 3 h 15 min – baking time 18 min
500 g (scant 4 cups/1 lb 2 oz) all- purpose (plain) flour (T55)
300 g (11⁄4 cups/101⁄2 oz) water at 20°C (68°F)
100 g (scant 1⁄2 cup/31⁄2 oz) Liquid Levain (you can find the recipe here)
5 g (11⁄2 tsp) fresh yeast, crumbled
10 g (2 tsp) Guérande sea salt
30 g (2 tbsp/1 oz) extra-virgin olive oil + extra for brushing
100 g (scant 1⁄2 cup/31⁄2 oz) crème fraîche
100 g (scant 1 cup/31⁄2 oz) grated Emmental cheese
200 g (7 oz) goat cheese, sliced
1 Put the flour, water, levain, yeast and salt into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix and knead for 5 minutes on low speed, then for 7 minutes on high speed. Add the olive oil and knead for another 3 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 2 hours at room temperature. Midway through the rest, deflate the dough by folding it in half. It will have increased in volume by the end of the resting time.
2 On a floured work counter, divide the dough into four equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, turn it around on the work counter, bring the edges in to the middle and press down. Turn it again and shape into a ball, tucking the seam underneath. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough, then cover them with a damp cloth and rest for 15 minutes.
3 Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into oval flatbreads, around 40 cm (16 inches) long and about 5 mm (1⁄4 inch) thick. Spread one half of each flatbread with crème fraîche, leaving a 2-cm (3⁄4-inch) border around the edge. Sprinkle with grated Emmental and top with slices of goat cheese.
4 Use a dough cutter to make 3 wide slashes on the ungarnished half of each flatbread, then fold it over the other half. Seal all the edges. Place the fougasse on lightly oiled baking sheets. Cover with a damp cloth and prove (proof) for 1 hour at room temperature.
5 Place a baking pan on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 235°C (455°F). Once the oven is hot, pour 50 ml (31⁄2 tbsp/13⁄4 fl oz) water into the hot baking pan. Put the fougasse and pan of water into the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Lower the temperature to 220°C (425°F) and bake for another 14 minutes.
6 Remove the fougasse from the oven, brush them lightly with olive oil and cool on a wire rack.
Extracted from The Bread Book: 60 artisanal bread recipes from one of the world’s greatest bakers – French chef, master baker and best-selling author Éric Kayser. Published by Phaidon Press 2022 Available on Amazon and all bookshops on line and in the high street. Photography © Massimo Pessina
Éric Kayser comes from a long line of French bakers, and is the founder of the award-winning international bakery Maison Kayser.
More French bread recipes
Want more France?
Discover more fabulous destinations in France with our free magazine The Good Life France
Love France? Have a listen to our podcast – everything you want to know about France and more!
All rights reserved. This article may not be published, broadcast, rewritten (including translated) or redistributed without written permission.