For Sawyer’s French class holiday party, he wanted to bring in some bread. Since he brought in baguettes for the last party, he wanted to choose something different. We found a French holiday Fougasse recipe in my Mom’s Celebration Breads cookbook that is sweet to the tongue and interesting to the eye. I love baking with Sawyer – he’s a natural in the kitchen.
We made a double recipe so he could have a large loaf for the party and several smaller loaves to give as gifts to his teachers. The bread comes out light, sweet and with a unique orange-anise flavor that isn’t overbearing.
This particular Fougasse is called la pompe à l’huile which means the oil pump (and refers to the olive oil in the recipe).
Fougasse (la pompe à l’huile)
For Sawyer's French class holiday party, he wanted to bring in some bread. Since he brought in baguettes for the last party, he wanted to choose something different: a fougasse that is sweet to the tongue and interesting to the eye.
For the sponge
- 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
For the dough
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water *
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds crushed
- 2½-3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the topping
- olive oil to brush over finished loaves
- confectioner's sugar to sprinkle over finished loaves
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water to soften. Add the sugar and flour and beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
Add the sugar, oil, orange flower water, salt, zest, anise, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and pat into a 10 by 14-inch rectangle with rounded corners. Carefully place on a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet, reshaping if necessary.
Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise for 35 minutes. The dough will not double.
Using a sharp knife or razor blade cut diagonal slits all the way through the dough, starting about 1 inch from the center of the loaf and ending about one inch from the outside edge. Gently spread the slits open to about 1 inch. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake for 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.
Brush with additional olive oil. Just before serving, sprinkle the Fougasse with confectioner's sugar.
* we substituted 3 tablespoons of fresh squozen orange juice.