FOUGASSE Makes 1 large fougasse

This is de­li­cious on its own but even bet­ter topped with onions and herbs, or salty an­chovies and lar­dons. As with the bagels (left), you’ll need to be­gin this the day be­fore bak­ing it.

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For day one (the pool­ish)

50g wa­ter 2g fresh yeast 50g strong white bread flour For day two

250g strong white bread flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing 20g whole­grain flour A pinch of rye flour (8g) 5g fine sea salt 2g fresh yeast 160g wa­ter Po­lenta, for dust­ing Olive oil, for brush­ing Op­tional top­pings: herbs, sliced red onions, lar­dons, an­chovies

The day be­fore you want to bake the fougasse, make the pool­ish. Put the wa­ter and yeast in a bowl and mix with your fin­gers or a fork un­til the yeast has dis­solved. Add the flour and stir un­til fully combined. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge overnight.

Next day (day two), un­cover the pool­ish. It will have risen, be bub­bly and have a slightly al­co­holic aroma.

Put the flours and salt in a large bowl and loosely com­bine. Make a well in the cen­tre. In an­other bowl, stir the yeast and wa­ter to­gether un­til dis­solved.

Add the pool­ish and the yeast and wa­ter mix­ture to the well in the flour, mak­ing sure you get all the yeast and liq­uid out of the bowl. Bring to­gether with one hand un­til just combined, then trans­fer to a floured work sur­face. Keep the bowl to one side.

Use the heel of your hand to push the dough into the work sur­face and “stretch and tear”, as in the bagel recipe (left), for about 8 min­utes. Scrape the dough back into the bowl you used ear­lier.

Fold the dough. Pick it up by two corners and pull to stretch it up­wards, then fold over to the op­po­site side (so the first two corners meet the op­po­site two corners). Next, pick up the bottom two corners and re­peat, then do the same with the right and left hand sides. Turn the dough over, so the bottom be­comes the top, and leave to rest in the bowl, cov­ered with cling film, for 30 min­utes. Give the dough three more folds, and rest cov­ered in the bowl for 30 min­utes each time. Af­ter the fi­nal fold, leave for 30 min­utes.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured sur­face and shape into a round. Place on a floured bak­ing tray, cover and leave to rest for 10 min­utes.

Next pat and pull your dough to form a leaf shape about 20x25cm, tak­ing your time so as not to rip the dough. Use a knife to cut two slashes length­ways in the mid­dle of the leaf, then make four slashes on ei­ther side of the cen­tral cuts. Pick up the dough and give it a lit­tle shake, then lay it on a po­lenta-lined tray. Pull the dough out to widen the slashes, then brush with olive oil and scat­ter over your top­pings, if us­ing. Leave to prove, un­cov­ered, for 1 hour.

Pre­heat the oven to the high­est tem­per­a­ture. Check the dough to see if the slashes have started to close up; if so, gen­tly pull them apart. Bake for 12 min­utes, un­til golden brown. Serve warm.

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