Bake Off Challenge – Week 6: Fresh Herb Fougasse

I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week, unlike my Fougasse which was big and savoury (my dough proved maybe a little too much), as very little went wrong and I’m trying to reduce the words I use each week anyhow. Turns out I can waffle quite a bit about baking.

So Fougasse, which is essentially just herby bread, didn’t require a lot of ingredients as most of them had already been bought previously and the herbs (unless you want them fresh) are typically found in your average kitchen. Prior to the first proving, it can be a messy business, especially when you aren’t supposed to knead it, but once the yeast has done its work, if you follow the recipe, it feels pretty straightforward.

WEEK 6: Fresh Herb Fougasse


Literally the only thing that I was disappointed with this week was the incisions you make to give it the leaf design. As raw dough, it looked just like it did on the programme (I just wish that I had taken photos to prove it to you), but a mix up with my timings meant that rather than leaving it to prove in a plastic bag for 20 minutes, I actually left it proving for 4 hours. (I had to go to work; the things that get in the way of a good Bake Off). When I’d gotten back the dough had practically doubled in size and the cuts had healed themselves. Thankfully while it baked, the indents were still visible so the leaf design remained. There just weren’t any gaps in the mixture.

Other than that, very little went wrong, which is a first. When using the mixer, as the dough formed it started climbing up the dough hooks and tried to jam the mechanism which was a bit of a pain, but just required a lot of stop-start action. I didn’t bother using Semolina (simply because I didn’t know what it was) and just used flour which worked just as well. And while baking, I had to leave it in there a lot longer due to the amount of dough that needed to be cooked through, and just had to flip them over towards the end for a further five minutes to make sure that the bottoms sounded hollow when tapped.

There was a bit of a kafuffle with the yeast as I tried to work out what the difference was between Instant Yeast and Fast-Action Dried Yeast. Having already bought Fast-Action Yeast from when I made the Dampfnudel I didn’t want to waste it by getting another version, but it turns out there’s very little difference. It turned out perfectly fine.

And the taste! By God! Of all the bakes that I have made, this was by far the best tasting one. All the herbs that went into the dough were beautiful and it was pretty much impossible not to go back for more. I was just as surprised considering all the sweet things that have been made over the past five weeks, but the taste was perfect.

It’s left me contemplating whether the Fougasse has topped the table and knocked the Viennese Whirls off their perch. They may not look as pretty, but compared with what the “professionals” made in the technical; it wasn’t that far off the mark.

So there you have it. Possibly the most successful bake so far.

Now I am going to sit in and a corner and cry as I think about how the hell I’m going to do this week’s.

And for those of you who were actually concerned about the state of last week’s pan after it suffered the wrath of jam-making, it’s now squeaky clean and good as new. All it needed was a soak and a bit of elbow grease. (Phew!)

To have a go at the Fresh Herb Fougasse, and I thoroughly recommend that you do, click here for the recipe. Happy Baking!


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