Fougasse, pronounced FOO-gass, is a French flatbread typically associated with the Provence region, but also found in many other regions, differing in variations. Very similar to one of my all time favourites, the Italian foccacia, it is often slashed in a trellis pattern to resemble an ear of wheat or the tree of life. Well, my "branches" started off widely spaced with lots of room in between them, but once cooked, the branches had all reached out to each other and united in solidarity, a perfect simulation of the unpredictability of the tree of life itself.
Petra from Chili and Ciabatta is hosting this month's BBD#7, a monthly event created by Zorra, and has chosen flatbreads as the theme. I had a small amount of mashed potato left over from last night's dinner, so decided to incorporate that into a bread. "Waste not, want not" my mother always said. Originally an Aloo Paratha leapt into my head, but I kept hearing my overgrown rosemary bush calling to me in the breeze....pick me, pick me.
Potato Rosemary Fougasse
Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup of the warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 cups flour, mashed potato, oil, rosemary, and salt to the yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Stir in 2 ½ cups flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Divide dough into two pieces, and roll or shape into an oval. Place on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Slash dough into desired pattern, gently pulling slits open, ending your slashes before you reach the edges of the dough. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Uncover dough, and bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan. Cool bread on a wire rack. Cut loaf in half lengthwise; cut each half crosswise into 12 pieces.