Fougasse with Black Olives. Our Fougasse with Black Olives is the perfect centrepiece for your next afternoon tea.
Makes 2 large ovals
1 tsp dry yeast
4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 tbsp Italian dried herbs
1 cup black olives, pitted, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
Pour 1 1⁄2 cups warm water into a large bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until yeast bubbles, about 10 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup of the flour, 1 tablespoon dried herbs, olives and 2 teaspoons of sea salt, then 2 tablespoons oil until well blended. Mix in enough flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a thick and slightly sticky dough. This can be done in an electric mixer with a dough hook.
Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, or in a mixer for the same amount of time.
The dough should form a ball. Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add dough and turn to coat in oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel. Let rise in a warm draught-free area until doubled, about 1 hour. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Sprinkle the 2 sheets generously with cornmeal. Punch dough down.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; halve. Press each half to a 28cm x 20cm shaped oval. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Brush each oval with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle each with dried herbs and cornmeal.
Using a sharp knife, make several 5cm long cuts in each oval (do not cut through edges), spacing evenly and cutting through to work surface. Pull dough apart at cuts to create openings. Cover loosely with plastic. Let rise in warm draught-free area until slightly puffed, about 20 minutes.
Position 1 rack in centre and 1 rack on top third of oven and preheat to 220°C. Place dough in oven.
Immediately pour about 1⁄4 cup water onto bottom of oven, creating steam. Bake breads for about 18 minutes until golden on top and slightly crisp on bottom, switching sheets between racks and turning front of each sheet to back of oven halfway through baking. Transfer sheets to racks. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.