Cheese, Red Onion and Rosemary Fougasse
We all have indulgences in life, some large some small. Mine are rather smaller these days thanks to two little people whose indulgences naturally come ahead of my own. One of mine though is having a really good butter to spread on bread. I have a major fondness for a French unsalted butter called Echire. It is an AOC and is apparently still churned by hand. It may be the lovely wicker packaging, it may be the clean, creamy taste of it but this is my spreading butter. It would be too costly to bake with it but if you use a little at a time, and keep it to yourself (no sharing with the kids here) the taste is worth the outlay, for me at least. I digress however. Fougasse is hardly the bread to need smearings of butter, but this lovely French bread would make a great addition to a pre dinner bread basket, or for serving with soup, and is delicious served with or without butter. Classically a plain bread, it is a French version of foccacia (though with considerably less olive oil, and can be tarted up with all manner of flavours.
We made one with some Comte cheese, red onion and a scattering of fresh rosemary.
It is a really easy recipe and one that lends itself to so many flavours. Next time we are thinking to bake a plain loaf and then drizzle a garlic and chilli infused olive oil over it when it comes out of the oven.
We gently fried the onion until just translucent then added it and the cheese to some dough
Shaped it (see recipe) then studded it with rosemary and extra cheese.
It made for a delicious lunch bread – perfect on its own or with some soup.
- 1 small red onion chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon olive oil to fry the onions
- 100g cheese - 50g grated and 50g chopped into small cubes (Cheddar, Comte or Gruyere will do nicely)
- 2 teaspoons of chopped rosemary leaves
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 320ml lukewarm water and 30ml olive oil
- 7 g dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fry the onions until they are just starting to get soft and translucent. Leave to one side
- In a bowl mix the flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt
- Mix together to make a dough and tip onto a floured surface
- Knead the dough gently for 10 minutes, stretching it away from you then folding it back
- When the dough is smooth and springy, place back in the bowl, cover with a damp teatowel
- Leave to rise until doubled in size (about an hour)
- Tip back onto a floured surface, and knead in the cooked onion and grated cheese.
- When the ingredients are incorporated, divide the dough into 2 halves.
- Roll each half out into a kind of leaf shape.
- Use a knife to cut a slit down the middle of the leaf shape, then cut 3 slits on each side of the middle cut.
- Gently open up the slits by hand by pulling the dough apart slightly at each cut.
- Top with the cubed cheese, chopped rosemary, a little sea salt and some olive oil
- Preheat oven to 225DegC
- Allow the dough to rest and rise for 30 minutes
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or till golden brown
- Drizzle with a little extra olive oil whilst it is still warm