160 grams King Arthur Flour bread flour
40 grams freshly milled whole wheat flour OR King Arthur Flour whole wheat flour
140 grams water, at room temperature
40 grams mature liquid levain
8 grams olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 grams salt
Sesame seeds, nigella seeds, ground sumac, and sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Autolyse In a medium bowl, mix the flours and water together until no dry flour or lumps remain. Cover loosely and set aside on the counter for 1-2 hours.
Mix Add levain, olive oil, and salt to the bowl and mix, being careful not to tear the dough. The olive oil may feel difficult to mix in at first, but keep mixing, and within a couple of minutes, you will have a cohesive dough. As always, if the dough starts to tear during mixing, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before continuing. Bulk rise Transfer the dough to a clean clear glass or plastic bowl and let it rest, loosely covered, at room temperature for one hour, then perform one set of stretch and folds. Continue resting the dough for another 3 hours or until you see plenty of air bubbles throughout the dough when you look through the sides and bottom of the bowl. Move the bowl to the refrigerator to continue slowly fermenting overnight (or, if you need to do the whole process in one day, see note “Total prep time”). Bench rest The next morning, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the baking surface of your Challenger Bread Pan. Place the parchment on a pizza peel, cutting board, or an inverted cookie sheet and dust heavily with flour. Be generous with the flour here—you’re going to be stretching the dough around a bit on the parchment in a little while, and you don’t want the dough to stick at that point. Remove the dough from the fridge and gently dump it onto the center of the floured parchment paper. Without degassing the dough, stretch it into an oval shape. Let rest, uncovered, for an hour while you preheat your Challenger Bread Pan in a 450° F / 230° C oven. Score Using a bench knife, pizza cutter, or other cutting tool, score your fougasse how you’d like, keeping in mind that where you score can control how easily the bread will break apart once baked. For example, in the photo above, the loaf on the left can easily break in half along the long score down the center and then each half into 5 smaller pieces, and the loaf on the right will easily break into 4 large pieces. Ladder shapes, leaf shapes, and ovals with slashes through them are all fairly common score patterns, but don’t let convention control what you do here—be creative and have fun! Once you have scored your loaf, use your hands to open up the score lines a bit so that they don’t fuse back together in the oven. At this point, the loaf should come close to filling the parchment sheet it is on. Top and bake Using a silicone pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with any combination of sumac, seeds, and salt. Transfer the loaf and parchment to your preheated Challenger Bread Pan, cover with the lid, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan to cool on a cooling rack until cool enough to handle. Fougasse is lovely when eaten warm from the oven and best if eaten within 24 hours of baking.
Nicole Muvundamina is a freelance baking instructor and recipe developer specializing in sourdough and freshly milled whole grain baking. Armed with a tabletop stone mill and a pantry overflowing with grains, she is on a mission to introduce people to the fantastic flavors and characteristics that come along with fresh, whole flour. To see what grain-based tomfoolery she is getting herself into each day, follow her on instagram at @nmuvu.
Total prep time: The Challenger team recommends making this bread over two days with a portion of the bulk rise taking place overnight in the refrigerator to develop more flavor; however, if you need to bake your bread the same day you build your dough, you can skip the overnight refrigeration and do the entire bulk rise at room temperature, then move straight to bench rest. Just be sure to extend your room temperature bulk rise by an hour or two to ensure the dough is fully proofed.
Batch size: This recipe makes one fougasse, which is enough to generously feed two people in a meal rounded out with other food; however, in order to show a couple of different scoring options, we doubled the recipe when we baked and photographed everything, so you will see two loaves in many of the photos instead of only one.
Holiday potential: Practice this loaf a few times now to get comfortable with it, and then keep it in mind for the holidays. We can’t think of a more beautiful loaf to display next to your holiday roast, especially if you tailor the toppings to fit the occasion. We love the idea of using pepitas for a Thanksgiving fougasse, or fennel, chili flakes, garlic, and crushed peppercorn for Christmas.
Keywords: fougasse, dough, levain