|Provencal Olive Fougasse|
I am not the bread baker in our house that distinction goes to my husband, Trip. He started baking bread about 20 years ago as a way to alleviate stress after work. Pounding and kneading dough is great therapy... plus you get dinner out of it.
So, Trip took a go at Dorie’s Fougasse recipe and found it quite intriguing. He has made olive loaves in the past and was a bit hesitant to put lemon zest into the dough. The result was very pleasing; the zest was a tart contrast to the brininess of the olives, though in the future the whole family agreed that he should use half the amount of zest Dorie recommended.
The Fougasse turned out a little purplish. My husband remembered after the fact, that it is best to take the dough out of the mixer, flatten it out, and then evenly spread the olives across the dough, then roll the bread up into a ball. This way you gently press the olives into the dough which prevents the purplish juice from spreading through out the loaf.
As far as Dorie’s tips Trip really liked the idea of using a pizza cutter to make the cuts into the loaf. He found this advice really helpful for shaping the bread.
Because my husband is a serious bread maker we own a bread stone and keep bread flour on hand. We understand that this loaf is meant to be something that a person can throw together midweek for a nice appetizer, but the whole family felt that this bread did not have the crust or springiness of my husband’s usual loaves.
|Balch Family's Breadmaker|
Trip explained that a bread stone really helps give the bread more spring. He also usually puts a pan of water in the oven under the bread in order to add humidity. This method makes for airy irregular bubbles in the dough as it bakes. The structure of bread is so important to how satisfy it is to eat.
When Trip makes this loaf again, which he definitely plans on doing, because we all really liked it’s flavor, he will incorporate his usual baking techinques along with replacing the all purpose flour with bread flour. The higher protein content of bread flour along with the bread stone and water pan all add to creating a bread that will be airier and chewier.
Overall, we can’t complain three hits with Dorie’s recipes. The Balchs are loving our weekly French dinner night.