Thursday, May 10, 2012

provencal olive fougasse - French Fridays w/ Dorie

I love olives and oranges. I used to make a swordfish in a tomato, Kalamata olive and orange sauce that I loved. Needless to say, we chose oranges over lemons. Shara and I set out to make the dough early Monday morning. I had a conference and wouldn't be home Wednesday or Thursday, so had to plan this one out. Again I'm reminded how important it is to read the whole recipe!

I set Shara up with the big chef's knife and the olives. We first had to figure out which had she held the knife in because she goes back and forth still. She seemed more comfortable holding it right handed but it worked out best for us to do it together. Later she commented that if you're just starting out learning to use a knife, it would be easier if the things you're cutting aren't round. Agreed. But they got chopped just fine. Next was zesting the orange. She did a great job but zesting isn't the easiest job either and everything takes practice so she did about 1/2 and I finished up.
The next big decision was whether to use white, whole wheat, or white wheat flour. I went with all white. I had a feeling this bread would not be best with even more flavors added to it and didn't want to take away or change the flavors created with the combination of the olives, orange, olive oil, and rosemary.

Making the dough was fairly straightforward. It needed to be kneaded (ha ha) for 10 minutes, even using the Kitchen Aid. The dough was soft and silky and very similar to a pizza dough. In fact, other than the flavors, I'm not sure of the real difference. I have to look at my pizza dough recipe and really compare. We were supposed to let the dough rise at room temperature for at least two hours. I was on my way to the bus stop, so I put it in the refrigerator and did the rising backward. First you should rise at room temp, then put it in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours and even up to three days. I did the cold rest first, then had it out at room temp for about an hour or so. When I got home from work, I took 1/2 the dough and shaped it, let it rise for about 15 min. then baked it in a high oven. It smelled and tasted wonderful. It was like a flat bread - crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It wasn't very thick, much more like a pizza or flat bread.












The next evening I shaped and baked the 2nd half. This one was much thicker, though I tried to stretch it out to be just as flat as the night before. The difference is that this time it rose much higher. The flavor was slightly more developed, but not very noticeable. I like to find a way to have the dough available for using multiple days, but still keep that original texture.

I can't wait to see what other French Fridays people have done with their versions. I can imagine a lot of playing with flavors, just as one would other types of bread. Come summer, adding in fresh roasted peppers may be nice. The flavors that come to mind are Mediterranean, so maybe a little saffron too? I'm not sure, but again, it's a great building block!
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