Bu now that the holidays are over and the cold weather is still hanging on, my thoughts turn to soup (like Missy's butternut squash soup, or Jan's tortellini soup which I made on Monday). But with soup, I always like a nice crusty French bread. My second oldest, Ana, is our bread maker and although she makes a great baguette, I was craving something I ate many times in France.
Why do I post pictures? Mine never look anything like this. Anyway, this is from the the goodfood website. I didn't use their recipe, though, since I already had one in my head. (Surprise!)
This recipe takes almost no ingredients but it takes almost all day to make. It's not a quickie or a crock pot type dish. Which is why the flavor is unique. There are quick flatbreads out there and some focaccia breads that only take about 30 minutes rising time, but this recipe is a multi-step process for a reason. You can't fake this kind of flavor! So, if you love artisan bread, try this one out. It's perfect with a hot stew on a cold winter's day.
Besides the bread, there are usually some additions like ham, bacon, onion, chives, goat cheese, etc. I had onion and some ham slices. It'll do.
Sautee these in a pan for a few minutes with a little olive oil until the onions are carmelized and the ham is cooked.
Mix 1/4 tsp yeast, 2/3 cup water, and 1 1/2 cup flour together and mix well. Place in a warm spot with a towel covering for FOUR HOURS. (No, really. And the first time I made this a few days ago, the dog knocked the bowl over onto the floor, which I didn't realize until I went to check on it three hours later. I had to start over and it was a seven hour wait to step three, haha.) So, set a timer and carry on with your day until it goes off (or your kids remind you that you're in the process of making bread).
During the four hours, the bread will rise and fall (like Rome). Put down that fiddle, Nero, and add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 2/3 cup water and knead for about five minutes. Now place the bowl in a warm place (away from the dog) and let it rise for about an hour. We don't want it to fall this time, so if you have quick rise yeast, check on it periodically.
Verbiesles, but my school was in Chaumont. It's funny... with Google street view, I can actually "walk" up and down the street in front of my friends' house. Isn't that hilarious? They said the Google view of my house is only from up in the air, so apparently, street view Google has made it to their little village sooner than they've made it to mine.) Anyway, their grandma was from Provence. I think there are Northern versions of this to look like trees, but she made hers like leaves, so that's what I'll do. Fougasse is traditionally baked to test the heat of the wood fire ovens before they put in the larger loaves (no thermometers on those things).
My camera was fogging up from the steam so I decided to put it down and eat! I hope you all enjoyed the process of making traditional fougasse from start to finish.
Also, please pray for the people of France as they recover from the recent terrorist attacks. Je Suis Charlie is a phrase people have posted as a sign of support during this time. I'm never sure how much good it does to post a meme or change a facebook picture, but my friends there say it has truly touched them to see such a unified front from people around the world, from instagram to twitter to facebook to imgur.
Until next time, stay warm and eat good food!