Turning over a new leaf for autumn inspired me to bake this Autumn leaf fougasse
Inspired by the fallen leaves littering the ground right now, i decided to shape my bread like one.
The changing colours this time of year are so inspiring and i wanted to capture that with this bread, The golden colour really brings my vision of a brown autumn leaf to life.
A fougasse loaf is already leaf shaped so it was a great bread to elaborate even further.
Fougasse it a french bread recipe. It tastes almost like an Italian focaccia,
I have baked this bread a few times now and finally got the shape i was happy with.
This autumn leaf fougasse is flavoured with Parmesan pear and walnut, with a little rosemary
I love the combination or parmigiano reggiano and pear or apple, and it goes wonderfully in bread.
I made the dough very wet, like i would a focaccia. This makes it quite difficult to knead by hand, so i suggest using a stand mixer.
Once the dough has doubled in size, gently tip in out on to the prepared tray and try not to knock any air out.
This is a bit different to what you would do with a normal loaf, but you want the uneven air holes to give texture.
I used the largest flat baking tray i could find, and that still wasn’t quite big enough and i had to over hang some of it.
The tips of the bread will brown quicker than the rest of the loaf.
I suggest covering them with some foil half way through baking.
How you shape the bread is down to you. The second loaf i made looked more like the typical leaf i was going for, the first one (below) was not as realistic.
Shaping the leaf fougasse
I found it was easier to use some sharp kitchen scissors, rather than a knife, as it gave clean cuts.
Once the dough is tipped on to the tray, pull it into a circle shape, then make two cuts at the top, towards the middle of the dough either side.
Now the dough will look like a paw print,
Pull the dough into a leaf shape, stretching the three sections.
Then make two further smaller cuts at the bottom, and pull them downwards,
Then the typical slashes can be made, creating holes, pull the dough to open up the holes as much as possible or they will close up when it rises.
Cut the edge of the dough to make it spiky like a leaf and pull each cut part and shape into a point.
I decorated the loaf with thinly sliced pieces of pear, which also look leaf like, but this is optional.
leaf fougasse pear parmesan and walnut
- 250 grams strong bread flour
- 150 ml warm water (warm to the touch not scalding)
- 45 ml olive oil (2 1/2 tbsp) plus more for drizzling
- 30 grams Parmesan finely grated
- 5 grams salt
- 7g sachet of fast action yeast
- 60 g finely chopped pear (half a large pear) keep other half to slice for top
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 30 grams walnuts chopped
- semolina for dusting
- flaked salt
- Add flour, salt, chopped rosemary in a bowl, then add the sachet of yeast to one side of the bowl, (not near the salt)
- Add the oil and Parmesan and start pouring in the water and mix until you have a wet sticky dough. it will be very wet and seem hard to work with by hand so use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- knead for 5 minutes at a high speed until the dough is less sticky and the gluten starts to form.
- add the walnuts and chopped pear and knead for another 2 to 4 minutes. the dough should be wet but stretchy. you can add 1 tbsp more flour if it is too wet after adding the pear
- drizzle oil in a bowl (about 2 tbsp) then place the dough in it and cover with cling film and leave to double in size in a warm draft free place.
- once doubled in size. line a really large baking tray with non stick baking paper and sprinkle over some semolina. (this recipe makes one large loaf- you need a very large tray)
- gently tip the dough out of the bowl onto the paper being careful not to knock any air out.
- pull the dough into a flat circle, then using some sharp scissors or a knife cut two slits at the edge of the top of the dough, like a paw print. then pull the dough into a leaf shape.add two more cuts at the bottom of the loaf and then add slits in the middle of the dough.
- leave to rise again for one hour.
- preheat oven to 180c
- thinly slice the remaining half of pear and place slices on to the dough, the grate over some Parmesan, and sprinkle on some semolina and flaked salt and add some rosemary sprigs
- place bread in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. then cover the pointed ends with foil so they don't burn and bake for another 10 minutes.