Same stuff (kinda); different day

April 1, 2015

Beats hell out of Little Caesar's, it does.

Beats hell out of Little Caesar’s, it does.

Wherein the loaf from earlier this week takes a different form.

The above is a fougasse, a Provencal flatbread that is a close cousin to a foccacia, except it doesn’t have the cute little dimples all over it. This version is topped with grated Parmigiano and mozzarella, along with a little diced up Italian dry salami on half of it, to make a much more savory version of Little Caesar’s cheesy bread.

It’s the same bread as the loaf from the other day; the difference is in the final steps of forming and baking. It is, in fact, from the same batch as the loaf from the other day. The rest of the dough had remained in the fridge until yesterday, when I got it out, plopped it into an oiled half-sheet pan, and spread it out to the edges (no kneading involved). I brushed the top with a mixture of melted butter and some mushed-up garlic confit cloves, together with a tablespoon or so of that wonderfully garlicky oil that’s covering the confit. I put grated parm over that (about half a cup); about two ounces of diced up dry salami; and finished off with about a cup of grated mozzarella.

set to rise.

set to rise.

Patting the dough out in the half-sheet (13 x 17) results in a slab about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Rising and baking will take it back up to close to an inch. The oil in the pan and the hot oven combine to produce a crispy bottom crust, which, along with the crispy-cheesy topping, sandwiches a chewy,  moist interior. The long rise plus a couple of days’ refrigerator time gives the bread a  sourdough-ish taste and ups the flavor profile.

After rising for an hour and a half, it baked at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. The resulting smell ws enough to ban vampires from the house for weeks, but it didn’t taste that strongly garlicky.

Finished product

Finished product

I served it for dinner with a dipping sauce that was nothing more than my home-canned tomato soup with the addition of some salt and black pepper. It was quite excellent.

This would be a great bread with any kind of soup or stew or spaghetti-based dish that has a good saucy base that calls for mopping up. You can go minimalist and just top it with some melted butter and sea salt, or you can add any topping that trips your trigger. We had it at the retreat with olive oil and chopped Kalamata olives, and it was MARVELOUS. You could pair your toppings with your accompanying meal, or you could make a couple of slabs with different toppings to serve at a cocktail buffet.

I’d like to use it like I use pizza dough, to top with caramelized onions, olives and roasted tomatoes in a take on a Provencal tarte flambe.

It’s another cool thing you can do with flour, salt, water and yeast.  I’m going to make up another batch of dough to go in the fridge for this weekend. Not sure what it’ll turn out to be.

Bread ought not to be so easy and so non-fussy, but this is. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em give it a try.


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