The success of the Great British Bake Off is rooted in austerity cooking. Home baking took off in a big way around ten years ago, around the time that disposable incomes crumbled. Making a cake is a great way to while away a few hours for less than £10.
Homemade bread is impossibly cheap to make, and fougasse was the technical challenge a couple of years back in the world of the Bake Off.
My simplified version of Paul Hollywood’s recipe uses dried herbs instead of fresh, and incorporates a little garlic purée – because why not.
The dough is very wet, so it’s best to use a stand mixer with dough hook, if you have one. We’re lucky to have been gifted one recently.
Prep time: 1.5hrs
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
- 500g plain flour
- 10g salt
- 7g fast-action yeast (one sachet)
- 1tsp garlic purée
- 1tsp dried sage
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 350ml warm water
- 2tbsp olive oil
- Place the flour, salt, herbs and yeast in the bowl of the mixer, ensuring the salt and yeast are separated.
- Add the oil, garlic, and three quarters of the water, then turn on the mixer at low speed to start combining.
- Once the dough is almost together, turn up the speed and slowly add the rest of the water. Leave to knead for 8 minutes.
- Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place (the airing cupboard?) for an hour to double in size.
- Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 220C.
- Once proved, divide the mixture in half and shape into leaves – using a sharp, oiled knife to add slashes. Re-cover and leave to prove again for 15 minutes (on the countertop is fine).
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly golden and hollow when tapped from underneath. While still hot, brush with more oil and some freshly-cracked sea salt.