Fougasse Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper
Shiny bits of glistening roasted red pepper peek through the slits of this very festive fougasse (pronounced foo-gahz), a rustic peasant flatbread with a moist and chewy crumb. The red peppers are easily blackened using a gas or charcoal grill giving the peppers a rich and smoky flavor perfuming the entire fougasse.
Only slightly adapted from the original recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the dough is a pre-mixed high moisture dough, a technique developed by authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois which helps home cooks re-create the once time consuming great European breads. This peasant bread dough makes four loaves of bread. I used one-fourth for the roasted red pepper fougasse and refrigerated the remainder for later use.
This is my contribution to We Knead to Bake #14 whose challenge this month was a stuffed savory bread. Thanks to Aparna for creating this Facebook baking group.
Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse
- 1 pound (grapefruit size) of pre-mixed European Peasant Bread (recipe below this one)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, or equivalent jarred roasted red pepper, drained and patted dry
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Olive oil for brushing the loaf
- Whole wheat flour for covering the pizza peel
- Cut the bell peppers in quarters and flatten for easier blackening. Place a grill basket on the rack of a gas grill. Preheat on high for ten minutes. When ready, using tongs, oil the grate with a folded paper towel pad dipped in olive oil, taking care not to lose the paper towel in the grates.
- Place the flattened peppers in the basket and grill until skin is blackened, 8-10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the grill and place in an empty bowl. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes for the skins to loosen from the steam.
- Peel the peppers, discarding the blackened skins. Some of the dark skins may stick to the pepper’s flesh which is okay. Cut into strips and set aside.
- Twenty minutes before baking the fougasse, preheat the oven to 450°F with a baking stone placed in the middle of the oven. Place an empty broiler tray on the lower shelf.
- Dust the grapefruit size piece of dough with flour and shape into a ball. With a rolling pin, shape into a large flat round about 1/8 thick. Add more flour as needed since you will need to cut slits in the dough that do not close up. Place the dough on a whole wheat covered pizza peel.
- Cut angled slits in the dough only on one half of the round. You may need to still add more flour so the slits stay open. Carefully, spread the holes open with your fingers.
- Place the roasted red pepper strips in a single layer on the unslit side of the dough round. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and dried thyme. Dampen the dough edge, fold the slitted side carefully to cover the peppers and pinch to seal. Brush the loaf with olive oil.
- Slide the fougasse directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water in the pan beneath and quickly close the door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then slice or break into pieces to serve.
Blackened Red Peppers
Dough Preparation with Placement of Roasted Red Peppers
European Peasant Bread
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 5-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Mixing and storing the dough-Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5-quart bowl or lidded, but not airtight, container.
- Mix the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, a spoon, food processor or a heavy duty stand mixer. If using a spoon, you may need to wet your hands to incorporate the last bits of flour.
- Cover and let rest at least 2 hours until the dough rises and collapses.
- The dough can be used immediately after initial rise, but easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded container (not airtight) and use over the next 14 days. For the fougasse recipe above, remove a grapefruit size portion of the dough and proceed with recipe.
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