Fougasse with Olives


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield:


    fougasses at 1 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

In Latin, the word focus means “the fireplace in a house, hearth”: the central focal point of the home. The French fougasse as well as the Italian focaccia also have connections to the hearth: The Latin words focacius panis mean “bread cooked under the coals of the hearth”; it’s a short etymological step from here to both fougasse and focaccia. Fougasse is another regional specialty from Provence, a dense, crusty loaf with an unusual shape and a pronounced flavor. One reason it tastes so good is because of its high proportion of crust to crumb; this is also why it doesn’t have long keeping quality, and is best eaten while fresh. Note that there is what appears to be a reduced percentage of salt (1.5 percent) in this olive fougasse, and in the variation with anchovies that follows. Because of the saltiness of these two ingredients, less salt is needed in the dough.


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 4.89 lb 2.21 kg 15.6 oz 90%
Whole-Wheat Flour .54 lb .25 kg 1.7 oz 10%
Water 3.69 lb 1.67 kg 11.8 oz 68%
Salt .08 lb .037 kg .3 oz 1.5 %
Yeast .1 lb, fresh .044 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry (1 tsp) 1.8 %
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil .27 lb .123 kg .9 oz 5%
NiçOise Olives, Pitted .43 lb .197 kg 1.4 oz 8%
Total Yield 10 lb 4.531 kg 1 lb, 15.8 oz 184.3 %

Pâte Fermentée

Bread Flour 1.36 lb .62 kg 4.3 oz (1 cup) 100%
Water .88 lb .4 kg 2.8 oz ( cup) 65%
Salt .027 lb .012 kg .09 oz (½ tsp) 2%
Yeast .003 lb, fresh .001 kg, fresh .002 oz, instant dry (A Small Pinch) .2%
Total 2.27 lb 1.033 kg 7.2 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 3.53 lb 1.59 kg 11.3 oz ( cups)
Whole-Wheat Flour .54 lb .25 kg 1.7 oz ( cup)
Water 2.81 lb 1.27 kg 9 oz (1⅛ cups)
Salt .053 lb .025 kg .2 oz (1 tsp)
Yeast .097 lb, fresh .043 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry (scant 1 tsp)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil .27 lb .123 kg .9 oz (2 T)
NiçOise Olives, Pitted .43 lb .197 kg 1.4 oz (¼ cup)
Pâte Fermentée 2.27 lb 1.033 kg 7.2 oz (all of above)
Total 10 lb 4.531 kg 1 lb, 15.8 oz


  1. Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. The pâte fermentée will have the consistency of finished bread dough. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. When ripe, the pâte fermentée will be domed and just beginning to recede in the center.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the pâte fermentée, the olives, and the olive oil. For production of 20 pounds of fougasses or fewer, a small spiral mixer or 20-quart planetary mixer works well. In a planetary-type mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. The dough should be of medium consistency at this point. Turn the mixer to second speed and begin drizzling in the olive oil. Mix on second speed for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough has moderate gluten development.

    Add the pitted olives and mix on first speed just until they are evenly incorporated. In a planetary mixer, as opposed to a spiral mixer, it is a more difficult and lengthy process to add ingredients at the end of a mix, such as the olives in the present case. If it takes too long to incorporate them, the olives will break apart and the dough will take on an unpleasant purplish hue. Here is a technique that can help: Once the dough has been fully mixed and it is time to add the olives, pull the dough away from the hook, creating an opening in the center of the dough. Pour about one-third of the olives into this opening, then turn on the mixer. The olives, rather than just smearing around the outside of the bowl, will be incorporated from the inside outward. After 20 or 30 seconds, turn off the mixer and again pull the dough away from the hook, creating another opening. Pour half the remaining olives into the opening and turn the mixer on once more. Do this a third time, adding the remaining olives, and mix until the olives have been evenly mixed into the dough. The desired dough temperature is 76°F.

  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough once, after 1 hour of bulk fermentation.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1-pound pieces. Round lightly, place on a floured work surface with the seams down, and cover with plastic. Let the dough relax for about 20 minutes. When sufficiently relaxed, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into an oval shape.
  6. Final Fermentation: About 1 hour at 76°F.
  7. Baking: When the fougasse has risen, the final shaping occurs. Pick up the dough and stretch it gently so that it is about half again as long as it was. Now, shape it into a long triangle with a base about half the length of the height. Next, using a pizza wheel or a paring knife, cut several diagonal slices into the dough, as in illustration A at left. Now stretch the dough some more, so the cuts open, as in illustration B. Transfer the fougasse to a loading conveyor or a baker’s peel sprinkled with coarse cornmeal or semolina, and load it into a 450°F oven. In a home oven, bake on a fully preheated baking stone. Steam the oven just before the load, and again once the fougasses are in. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the breads are richly colored and crusty, but still have some “give” when squeezed. Open the oven vents halfway through the bake.

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