I had a wondeful week in Fes, I attended an amazing wedding (one of my cousin’s). It’s always such a pleasure to see family, gather in such cheerful moments and remember those who are gone as well.
Above all, it’s so nice to see old women, cook by tradition and career (they ‘ve been working for a famous Moroccan caterer for years), come and cook for 100s of persons, to be there when all is getting done from scratch, to see the giant pots and “couscoussiers”. They never needed to go to any school for that, but they carry traditions and old time favourite recipes, slow cooked for hours, throughout the day, in my auntie’s big kitchen! Heaven.
Oh, it’s been a crazy week. I got to sample some of the 25 types of cookies and petit-fours made for the ceremony (homemade please, it’s a tradition, we only call caterers to serve in our family)… I had to wait for the other 10 versions which will be presented the same day (those need attention and should be made the same day). Oh, plus the wedding cake…What an experience! I’m not going to tell you about the cooked food! It’s already too much at this stage.
Ok, I skipped dinners, I had the wedding cake the next day…I’m back with some kilos which I don’t dare checking…
Back to my house, determined to cut on sweets and other bad things. As much as I enjoy my little garden and the quiet environment, the internet provider is frustrating me! I can hardly check my emails, not to mention posting recipes.
If I can get to post anything tonight, you will be able to see my fougasse with black olives, which I have made a while ago.
We love fougasse aux olives in our family. We just don’t like the price we pay for it. Besides, by the time to get home, one bite to taste, the next thing you know that it’s already gone before even engaging in a proper meal.
So I kept browsing the internet to find the closer-as-it-gets type of fougasse we like. I finally tried this recipe which is derived from all those I’ve read..
Not that I’m expert in the matter, but from what I guess while enjoying my favourite fougasse, I suspect the following: A fougasse should be made using a starter dough or a fermented dough. Plus, it needs a generous amount of olive oil.
2 big fougasses aux olives
Prep: 30 min – Proofing: 2 hours – Baking: 20 min
Pâte Fermentée (fermented dough)
- 170 g Bread Flour
- 100 g of water, lukewarm
- 1/2 tsp of dry yeast or double of fresh yeast
The main dough
- 300 g of bread flour
- 150 of whole wheat flour
- 300 ml of water, lukewarm
- 1 tsp of salt (olives are salty)
- 1 tsp of dry yeast or double of fresh yeast
- 30 g of extra virgin olive oil + about 15 g for shaping
- 1 tbsp of thym
- A small handful of pitted black olives (or green, or both, or sundried tomatoes)
Note: Flours are differents from a country to another, their % of absorption can be different. Adjust the quantity of liquid accordingly.
Make the fermented dough (1 to 2 days ahead)
Combine all ingredients and knead until it becomes elastic and smooth. The other way is to keep about 300 g of dough of your daily baking to be used for the purpose.
Place in a bowl with a space for the dough to ferment. Cover with cling film.
The day the fermented dough will be used, remove from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature and rise a bit but not much.
Make the main dough
Mix yeast with a ¼ of lukewarm water and let sit for 5 to 10 min until you see the yeast coming to life.
In a different bowl, cut the fermented dough into little cubes or chunks and mix it with almost all the remaining liquid.
In the main bowl where you will be working the dough (I use my kitchenAid’s bowl), place the mixed flours, the salt the rest of the ingredients. Start the kneading process, just like any other bread.
Add the remaining liquids as needed. Some folks add the olive oil in the beginning, as well as the olives. Some leave it until the end of the kneading process. I like the olives almost blended within so
I throw the batch about 3 minutes before the kneading process is over. I also incorporate the olive oil at the same time. I stop the machine once the dough absorbes it all. Using a kitchenAid, you need 8 to 10 minutes to have a nice smooth and elastic dough.
I stop the stickiness by adding 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour or semoulina flour. I finish with thym.
Let it rest for about an hour or until it doubles in volume. Press it gently to remove the gaz. Shape it into fougasse.
Shaping the fougasses
On a floured surface, gently roll the dough and flatten it at the same time, about 1 cm thick. The dough should be a bit sticky and very soft. You should cover your fingers with olive oil to help you in this step.
The tricky part is to transfer the fougasse onto a baking sheet. I admit that I finished shaping it on a parchment paper which I’ve brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with fine semoulina.
Make incisions with a pizza cutter or something very sharp and pull to the outside to stretch the fougasse and the incisions. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for another 45 min to an hour.
Brush the top of the fougasse with a good olive oil, you may sprinkle some sea salt at this stage.
Bake the bread in a heated oven at 220-240C for about 15 to 20 minutes.
You might want to brush it again with olive oil when it’s just about out of the oven. Let cool before tasting it.