Super-simple fougasse

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.

Makes: 2

Prep time: 1.5hrs

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Place the flour, salt, herbs and yeast in the bowl of the mixer, ensuring the salt and yeast are separated.
  2. Add the oil, garlic, and three quarters of the water, then turn on the mixer at low speed to start combining.
  3. Once the dough is almost together, turn up the speed and slowly add the rest of the water. Leave to knead for 8 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 220C.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
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