Fougasses, which can also be called fouacés, are derived from the same Latin word focus, meaning hearth, as the Italian focaccia. They are all hearth breads, baked on the floor of the oven just after the fire has been raked out - when its temperature is too high to bake breads without burning the crust. The baker, anxious to test the temperature, tries a little something; the small child, waiting eagerly for the first pull at fresh bread, has a titbit to quell the pangs of anticipation.
To give some character to the flavour, this bread is fermented on a starter of ripened dough from the previous day’s bread-making (it does not have to be fougasse).
© 2005 Tom Jaine. All rights reserved.