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Sourdough Fougasse


sourdough fougasse

Sourdough Fougasse is a French classic that captivates with its crispy exterior, yielding to a fluffy, tender crumb within. Topped generously with fragrant fresh herbs and a sprinkle of flaky salt, each slice is a tantalizing journey for the senses.

With its intricate leaf-like shape, this bread not only delights the palate but also enchants the eyes, making it a centerpiece of any gathering. With as beautiful as the bread is, you won’t believe how easy it is to make!

sourdough fougasse

What is Sourdough Fougasse bread?

Sourdough fougasse bread is a beloved French specialty renowned for its rustic charm and delicious flavor profile. Originating from the Provence region in southeastern France, fougasse is a type of flatbread characterized by its distinctive leaf-like shape, traditionally slashed to resemble the branches of a tree.

This artisanal bread is made from a simple dough of flour, water, salt, and naturally leavened sourdough starter, which gives it a tangy depth of flavor and a wonderfully chewy texture. Often adorned with toppings such as fresh herbs, olives, or cheese, fougasse embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine, reflecting the abundance of herbs and ingredients found in the Provencal landscape.

With its humble origins rooted in centuries-old baking traditions, sourdough fougasse continues to enchant bread lovers around the world with its timeless appeal and undeniable deliciousness.

sourdough fougasse

Three different ways to top your sourdough fougasse

While I typically opt for keeping it simple with olive oil, herbs, and some flaky sea salt, feel free to get creative with your toppings!

Here are 3 different ways to top your sourdough fougasse bread:

  • Savory Seeds Add a delightful crunch to your sourdough fougasse with an assortment of seeds and spices. Before baking, brush the surface of the dough with beaten egg wash, then sprinkle a mixture of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and dried onion flakes over the top.
  • Mediterranean Medley: Scatter pitted Kalamata olives and chopped sun-dried tomatoes across the fougasse dough, pressing them into the surface. Crumble tangy feta cheese over the top, allowing its creamy texture to melt and mingle with the other ingredients during baking. The result is a savory masterpiece bursting with Mediterranean flavors.
  • Cheese Lovers: Begin by generously scattering grated Parmesan cheese over the surface of the shaped dough, ensuring even coverage. Next, crumble creamy goat cheese or Gruyère over the Parmesan, adding layers of richness and depth of flavor. For a finishing touch, sprinkle a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil over the cheese.

When adding additional toppings, I recommend par-baking the fougasse for 5-8 minutes and then topping to avoid them from burning. OR make sure to press the toppings into the dough deep enough.

inside of sourdough fougasse

How to make sourdough fougasse

Baker’s schedule: Feed your starter the night before you plan to mix the dough. Mix the dough in the morning and allow it to ferment for 6-8 hours at around 70 degrees F (adjust accordingly depending on the temperature), refrigerate overnight to bake for the following morning.

Alternatively, after the dough has proofed you can bake it the same day.

Sourdough starter: Ensure your sourdough starter has been fed within the past 12 hours and is at its peak before mixing the dough.

Ingredients:
  • 400 grams of bread flour
  • 280 grams water
  • 8 grams salt
  • 15 grams of olive oil
  • 100 grams active sourdough starter
  • For the toppings: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons of herbs of your choice, 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt.
Equipment:
  • Mixing bowls
  • Food scale
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Bench scraper, pizza cutter, or sharp knife

Mix the dough

  • In a mixing bowl dissolve the sourdough starter in the water.
  • Next, add the salt, olive oil, and bread flour. Mix until all of the flour has absorbed the water. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes.
sourdough fougasse dough

Knead & stretch and folds

  • After the dough has rested, knead the dough for 5-8 minutes or until it starts to come together. I use the scoop and slap method where you scoop under the dough and slap it against the bowl. Using a little flour is okay to assist with stickiness.
  • Once the dough feels stronger, cover the bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. It is okay if the dough is still sticky. It is similar to a pizza dough consistency.
  • After the dough has rested, perform 3 stretch and folds within 30-minute increments.
  • This is where you scoop your hand under a portion of the dough, stretch it a few inches, and fold it to the opposing side. You will stretch and fold all 4 quadrants of the dough.
  • Once all stretch and folds have been completed, coat the bowl with a little olive oil and allow the dough to rest for the remainder of the bulk rise. It should double in size. It takes my dough about 6 hours at 70 degrees F.

Refrigerate the sourdough fougasse dough

  • Once the dough has doubled, it can be baked the same day. However, if you want to long ferment the dough and obtain a deeper flavor I recommend refrigerating it overnight.
  • Keep the dough covered and place it in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours.
doubled sourdough fougasse dough

Shape the sourdough fougasse

  • When you are ready to bake the sourdough fougasse, line a pan with parchment paper and coat it with non-stick oil.
  • Turn the dough out onto the pan and start to work it into a rough triangle shape. It does not need to be perfect.
  • Once you have reached your desired shape, cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes in a warm spot. I place it in my oven and turn the oven light on.
shaping sourdough fougasse

Make the cuts

  • After the dough has rested, use a rolling pin or your hands to roll the dough out evenly into a larger triangle shape. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Using a pizza cuter, sharp knife, or bench scraper, make a cut down the middle and a few diagonal cuts on each side to resemble a leaf-like appearance (see below).
  • After each cut is made, gently pull apart the cuts to ensure they do not seal back up during baking.
  • Once complete, cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes.
shaped sourdough fougasse

Top & Bake the sourdough fougasse

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F while the dough is resting.
  • After the dough has rested and puffed up a bit, brush the dough with olive oil, and sprinkle some fresh herbs and flaky sea salt over top.
  • If adding toppings like cheese, tomatoes, etc. par-bake the fougasse for 5-8 minutes & then top it. This is to avoid burning the toppings.
topped sourdough fougasse
  • Once ready to bake, place the sourdough fougasse in the oven and place a tray with a cup of ice in it right below the sourdough fougasse to create steam.
  • Bake the sourdough fougasse for 20 minutes, then remove the tray of ice, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the desired color. We like ours crispy!
  • You can eat sourdough fougasse warm. It pairs nicely with an olive oil dip. It is best enjoyed on the day of but can last for 1-2 days on the counter, wrapped tightly.

More sourdough bread recipes:

sourdough fougasse
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Sourdough Fougasse

This sourdough fougasse recipe stays true to the heart of this French bread. Yielding a crispy outside with a fluffy inside, and the best part is it is so easy to make!
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
resting time18 hours
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
Keyword: sourdough fougasse
Servings: 1 large fougasse

Equipment

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • Food scale
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Pizza cutter, sharp knife, or bench scraper

Ingredients

  • 400 grams bread flour
  • 280 grams water
  • 8 grams salt
  • 15 grams olive oil
  • 100 grams active sourdough starter

For the toppings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Instructions

Mix the dough

  • In a mixing bowl dissolve the sourdough starter in the water.
  • Next, add the salt, olive oil, and bread flour. Mix until all of the flour has absorbed the water. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes.

Knead & Stretch and folds

  • After the dough has rested, knead the dough for 5-8 minutes or until it starts to come together. I use the scoop and slap method where you scoop under the dough and slap it against the bowl. Using a little flour is okay to assist with stickiness.
  • Once the dough feels stronger, cover the bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. It is okay if the dough is still sticky. It is similar to a pizza dough consistency.
  • After the dough has rested, perform 3 stretch and folds within 30 minute increments.
  • This is where you scoop your hand under a portion of the dough, stretch it a few inches, and fold it to the opposing side. You will stretch and fold all 4 quadrants of the dough.
  • Once all stretch and folds have been completed, coat the bowl with a little olive oil and allow the dough to rest for the remainder of the bulk rise. It should double in size. It took my dough about 6 hours at 70 degrees F.

Refrigerate the sourdough fougasse dough

  • Once the dough has doubled, it can be baked the same day. However if you want to long ferment the dough and obtain a deeper flavor I recommend refrigerating it overnight.
  • Keep the dough covered and place it in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours.

Shape the sourdough fougasse

  • When you are ready to bake the sourdough fougasse, line a pan with parchment paper and coat it with non-stick oil.
  • Turn the dough out onto the pan and start to work it into a rough triangle shape. It does not need to be perfect.
  • Once you have reached your desired shape, cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes in a warm spot. I place it in my oven and turn the oven light on.

Make the cuts

  • Flour the surface of the dough. Using a rolling pin or your hands to roll the dough out evenly into a larger triangle shape. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Using a pizza cutter, sharp knife, or bench scraper, make a cut down the middle and a few (3-4) diagonal cuts on each side to resemble a leaf-like appearance.
  • After each cut is made, gently pull apart the cuts to ensure they do not seal back up during baking. Use some flour if needed to assist with stickiness.
  • Once complete, cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30-45 minutes.

Top & Bake the sourdough fougasse

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F while the dough is resting.
  • After the dough has rested and puffed up a bit, coat the dough with olive oil, and evenly sprinkle fresh herbs, and flaky sea salt over the top.
    If adding toppings like cheese, tomatoes, etc. par-bake the fougasse for 5-8 minutes & then top it. This is to avoid burning the toppings.
  • Once ready to bake, place the sourdough fougasse in the oven and place a tray with a cup of ice in it right below the sourdough fougasse to create steam.
  • Bake the sourdough fougasse for 20 minutes, then remove the tray of ice, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the desired color. We like ours crispy!
  • You can eat sourdough fougasse warm. It pairs nicely with an olive oil dip. It is best enjoyed on the day of but can last for 1-2 days on the counter, wrapped tightly.

Notes

Baker’s schedule: Feed your starter the night before you plan to mix the dough. Mix the dough in the morning and allow it to ferment for 6-8 hours at around 70 degrees F (adjust accordingly depending on the temperature), refrigerate overnight to bake for the following morning.
Alternatively, after the dough has proofed you can bake it the same day.
Sourdough starter: Ensure your starter has been fed within the last 12 hours and is at its peak when mixing the dough.

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Comments

  1. Bea Collins Avatar
    Bea Collins

    A perfect bread with olives, cheese and a glass of red wine!5 stars

    1. Yes!! I love how customizable this bread is ❤️

  2. Very delicious. Fluffy and light. Looks and tastes amazing.5 stars

    1. Thank you Laurie! I’m glad you got to enjoy it!