Italian olive bread


Olive orchards blanketing the hills of Provence, France, inspired a regional bread: fougasse, a yeasted flatbread reminiscent of Italian focaccia.

For herb fougasse: Omit olives. Press chopped fresh sage leaves or rosemary sprigs into the top of the loaf before the second rising.

Olive Fougasse

Makes 2 flatbreads (12 - 16 servings)

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 to 3 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup chopped, pitted green olives (not stuffed)

Sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup warm water in large bowl of electric mixer. Add sugar. Let stand until yeast softens (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining warm water, milk, 3 tablespoons oil and salt.

Add 2 cups flour. Mix to blend, then beat at medium speed until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl (about 5 minutes). Stir in olives, mix in about 1/2 cup more flour to make soft dough.

Turn dough onto work surface dusted with some of remaining flour. Knead until dough is smooth and small bubbles form under surface (10 to 12 minutes), adding only enough flour to prevent sticking. Turn dough into greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (45 minutes to 1 hour).

Punch dough down, cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide. Roll out and stretch each half into an 8-by-10-inch rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. With a sharp knife, make 8 diagonal slashes in two rows. Open slits, pulling them well apart.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush loaves with remaining oil. Let stand until dough is puffy (12 to 15 minutes). Bake until golden brown (15 to 20 minutes). Serve warm.

Cole Publishing Group

Pub Date: 6/28/98

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