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Herbes de Provence Fougasse with Crackling or Olives

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Servings 4 small loaves
Author Simply Luxurious

Ingredients

Yeast Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons dry, active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water

Dough

  • 1 pound white bread flour
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-wiring olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives or crackling (cubed pig's fat) optional - the olives can be added to the top, but they don't' provide the full desired flavor this way.

Instructions

Making the Dough

  • Mix the dry yeast, warm water and sugar together in a small bowl until incorporated and then let set for 5 minutes. You are feeding the yeast essentially with the sugar, so you will begin to see small bubbles occur in the mixture. This is a good thing.
  • In the bowl with the yeast add a handful of flour and mix in with the wet yeast mixture until a wet dough is formed. Let sit for one hour on at room temperature.
  • At a slow speed/pace, add the salt, Herbes de Provence and the remaining flour to the wet dough. Once all the flour is added creating a slightly wet dough (you may not need all the flour or you may need a little more. Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes. When complete, the dough should be soft and smooth.
  • Place the dough (a ball shape) into a bowl, cover well with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, and up to a couple of days. Allow the dough time to rise to twice its original size (this will be done in eight hours and it will hold unless you touch it).

Making the bread

  • Heat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a large baking sheet in the oven to warm.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and separate into four separate pieces.
  • If you are adding crackling: Cube in small squares the crackling (pig or duck's fat). In a skillet, cook as you would bacon - rendering the fat and cooking it until crisp. Drain the fat and keep the cooked crackling.
  • Add the olives or crackling, if you are using these ingredients, to the dough now before you roll it out.
  • Roll each ball into a rectangle of about 8 x 5 inches (approximate). Cut three slashes in each bread dough and gently open up the slashes, enlarging the slashed areas. Brush with each bread dough with olive oil
  • Reduce the heat of the oven to 450 degrees and place the bread (which should be put on parchment paper on a baking sheet) onto the hot pan in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.