Enjoy a traditional French bread with Celia Brooks Brown's recipe for a classic fougasse, flavoured with lashings of olive oil
By Celia Brooks Brown
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 1 hr 30 mins proving
  • Effort: medium



  • 500 g strong bread flour
  • 7 g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating
  • 300 ml hand-hot water
  • 3 tbsp polenta or semolina


1. Place the flour in a bowl and mix in the yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre and add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

2. Start stirring in the water to form a dough. When most of the water has been incorporated and the dough is still quite sticky, knead it in the bowl with one hand to incorporate the rest of the flour, stopping before the dough feels dry.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, dry surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

4. Pour some olive oil into the bowl and pop the dough back into it, turning the dough so that it gets a coating of oil.

5. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to prove, preferably in a warm spot, for 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.

6. Smear olive oil over a baking tray and evenly sprinkle over the polenta or semolina. This will prevent the bread from sticking and give the crust a toothsome crunch.

7. Punch down the proven dough and stretch out into an oval on the baking tray. Make diagonal slits on each half like a leaf pattern.

8. Cover with the tea towel and prove for another half an hour, no longer or the bread will become hard and dry.

9. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

10. Drizzle olive oil over the dough oval and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. More olive oil can be poured over when it comes out of the oven if desired, for a super-crisp texture and rich flavour.

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