The picture of the fougasse in Baking with Julia was irresistible; I had to give the recipe a try. I loved the way that the surface of the dough was covered with little bubbles. (to watch the original PBS episode, go here; for the recipe and to see how some other bloggers have fared with it, try here, here, and here)
The recipe’s versatility was another draw. In the book, contributing baker Craig Kominiak (Executive Chef, Ecce Panis Bakeries) shows how the dough can be used for focaccia as well as fougasse, and even shows how to make a sweet fougasse that is topped with blueberries and crumb topping.
The basic recipe makes two to three breads, which means that you can try fougasse, focaccia, and blueberry fougasse with one batch. I ended up making pizza and two fougasse.
The dough needs to be made 24 hours in advance. I ended up using one portion of dough for a pizza a day after preparing the dough. I made my first fougasse after the dough had fermented for two days in the refrigerator. My second fougasse, made with dough that had been in the refrigerator for four days, was definitely the best.
My first fougasse was a shaped per the recipe directions, but I found it difficult to transfer the large floppy shape to my small baking stone.
I had the large openings that you want with fougasse, but the shape became somewhat distorted because the bread was falling off the edges of the baking stone as it baked.
The flavor and the crumb were quite nice, though, with large holes and a chewy texture.
The second fougasse was easier to manage because it was more compact and fit better on the baking stone.
The bread was a bit thick and some of the openings closed up during baking. I actually preferred the bread this way, though. I sprinkled the second fougasse with fresh rosemary, garlic chives, and thyme.
I am sending this over to Yeastspotting.