FFWD – Provençal Olive Fougasse

A close shot across the surface of the baked fougasse.

I once knew someone who believed that a restaurant that didn’t bring bread to the table shortly after you were seated didn’t deserve a clientele. I’m not that strict, but a meal started with bread fulfils some deep-seated ideas of sharing and conviviality for me, especially when the bread is homemade.

Bread-making is a satisfying activity, beginning with the tactile pleasures of kneading and shaping the dough. By the time it’s brought to table, all the senses become engaged. Knowing that the bread has been made to share with exactly those people around the table engages the heart, as well.

I made two loaves of this fougasse during the last bakestravaganza with my family. What was planned as a day’s baking stretched into a weekend, as much of what we were making needed time to rise and rest between steps. You can see what we worked on together over here. I also managed to catch up on the Navarin Printanier from a couple of weeks ago (which I’ll post about soon) and this week’s fougasse.

I put together this dough late the second night and baked it between the steps of our other recipes. My niece zested a lemon for me while I chopped olives and rosemary. These were added to the dough at the end of the kneading process (all hail the KitchenAid, once again). Once the dough had risen, it went into the fridge for an overnight rest (right beside the brioche dough we’d prepared for the pecan sticky buns that were going to keep us busy for much of the next day).

Dough before rise.

Dough before rise.


The dough reminded us of pizza dough, a little sticky and stretchy, but ultimately agreeable. It was easy to roll and slash the dough into the traditional leaf shape, but my attempt to make a salmon shape with the second piece of dough turned into an oval of bread with asymmetrical slashes. Not ugly, but not elegant, either. We ate it first.

The finished fougasse, with the second loaf in the background with some cornichons and pickled asparagus.

The first loaf disappeared that afternoon, as people passed through the room where it was cooling, and we shared the second with our dinner of lamb stew. Pulling pieces from the loaves gave us almost as much pleasure as eating it and it was just as good on its own as it was sopping up the gravy of the stew. Sharing one loaf, all hands breaking off their portions, made our meal seem like a feast and a celebration of the cooking and baking we’d done together over the weekend.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Provençal Olive Fougasse


31 thoughts on “FFWD – Provençal Olive Fougasse

  1. What fun times and great to cook and eat with those you love. Your fougasse is beautiful and a perfect bread to share. I’m excited for the sticky buns, but have not yet begun, thanks for the reminder…I’d better go find some I love to share the buns!

  2. Elegant writing and lovely images! I was also happy to see that I am not the only one who may be “behind” in my posts.

  3. You just HAD to go and mention pizza – definitely craving it now. 😛

    Your bread looks delicious though! I bet it was awesome with the stew.

    1. I might try my hand at gluten-free pizza next week. We’ll see how it goes. The bread was amazing with the stew.

  4. Theresa…yea the dough was a bit sticky but manageable and I really enjoyed shaped it LOL! Yours look great and you have done a great job on it.

    1. Thanks, Elin. I was worried that the dough would be too sticky to handle well, but it was pretty good-natured.

  5. Perfect looking fougasse. What a fun way to play catch up with recipes, enjoying the company
    of family. Wonderful job.

    1. I use that little gem of a word every chance I get! I’m finding it really rewarding and a great excuse to spend time with my nieces.

  6. I think it’s so wonderful that you bake with your nieces and mom! What great memories you’re creating! Your fougasse looks fabulous! Glad it was enjoyed by all!

  7. I love when you write about baking with your family – bakestravaganza is a new word for me, however. I imagine that this fougasse was quite wonderful with the lamb stew. You plan better than I do. It’s week to week to week for me. Never do any combos. But, I will make this again. Won’t you?

    1. Thanks, Mary. I’m sure I’m not the first to have coined bakestravaganza, but I’m awfully fond of it. I’ll definitely be making this again and playing with the ingredients, too.

  8. Teresa, first off an apology that until now I did not find the time to properly read your blog(s) and comment…you write beautifully and it is so nice to read that you and your family cook and bake together – photos, text and story look and sound very harmonious!

    1. Yes, it was good to have Kat helping. Both girls have started coming up with baking projects on their own, now. I love hearing about their experiments and adventures.

    1. Thanks! I’d like to try this dough as a pizza base – I think the texture and taste would work well.

  9. Your fougasse looks great. I love how the salt just sparkles. It’s wonderful that you are sharing all this baking with your family. Can’t wait to read about your sticky buns on Tuesday.

  10. I love that you served your black olive fougasse with lamb stew, that sounds so good!
    We really enjoyed this flat bread and nibbled on it for a few days;-)

    1. It was a really good accompaniment for the stew, which I’ll post about tomorrow, finally. I wish we’d had some leftovers of the bread. It’s good to hear that it keeps well.

  11. I love baking/cooking and eating together as a family and friends! This bread is definitely a family friendly recipe and is awesome to eat!

    1. Thank, Erin. It’s been lovely spending time with my nieces and doing the Baking With Julia projects with them.

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