The first and last time i had fougassette, was 20 years ago at some close friends wedding in the countryside near Grasse, France. I have always love the traditional fougasse, a big flat bread with holes i use to eat as a kid in Nice. “Fougassette” is a smaller, sugary version, with a delicious taste of orange blossom. In Grasse, there are plenty of flower cultivations everywhere to supply the perfume factories, so i guess someone one day decided to infuse the fougassette with some of them, and that was it!
On our way back from the Valbonne Market, where we met Antonin Streitz, one of our olive producers, we get lost on the road (i know, sounds familiar), and arrived in Grasse where all those memories came back. We drove like crazy all around the little town, asking at a gas station for a good fougassette address, but the guy sent us to the industrial area, to an industrial bakery, no fougassette there, and never heard about it…so sad.
So we decide to try to make one on our own, and then, after a few shots, the miracle happened. Here are the steps to our Riviera Kitchen fougassette:
By the way, and that is for the gas station guy, it seems that THE fougassette address in Grasse is the Bakery Venturini, 1 rue Marcel Journet, 06130 Grasse (closed on sundays and mondays). We gonna try it soon and let you know.
Yield: 4 loaves
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
zest of 1 mandarin
1 tablespoon fleur d’orange extract
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Place the warm water, honey and yeast in a large bowl. Allow to sit 5 minutes, until the yeast has bloomed. Stir in one cup of the flour, extract, zest, one teaspoon sea salt and 2 tablespoons of oil until well blended. Mix in the additional flour, one cup at a time until a sticky dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and return to an oiled bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel and let it rise about one hour.
Punch dough down, and divide into four quarters. Shape into ovals, about 1 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle cornmeal over 2 baking sheets; transfer dough to pans. Brush each loaf with olive oil, and sprinkle the remaining salt on top. Make several slashes in the bread, cutting through the dough with a knife. Cover the loaves with clean, damp dishtowels. Let rise again, about 20 more minutes.
Place baking sheets into a preheated 450F degree oven. Quickly splash a small amount of water onto the floor of your oven to create steam, and close the oven door. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.