New video’s coming (on how to get steam into your oven); but we’re two weeks from manuscript deadline, so here’s a Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse…

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… …and I’m having trouble finding time to finish editing the video.  Zoe and I have two more busy weeks of last-minute editing for our pizza and flatbread book (which will be out in October of 2011).  I’ll get the new video up here as soon as possible (on how to get steam into your oven), but meanwhile here’s a re-print of an old post– on roasted red pepper fougasse– a gorgeous stuffed flatbread from France, which looks ahead to next year when we’ll be talking about flatbread all the time.

When interviewers ask me for my favorite bread from the book, I always give the same answer–it’s this gorgeous roasted red pepper fougasse (foo-gass)– a stuffed flatbread originating in the south of France.  It may be because of where I first ate it (perfect fall day, after a bike ride with my wife).  The rustic colors and flavors of Southern France burst out of this flatbread– carmelization of peppers highlighted by thyme, olive oil, and salt.  It’s festive, but so easy to bake from stored dough. 

Preheat the oven to 450F for at least 20 to 30 minutes, with a baking stone and a broiler tray in place to catch water for steam later.  Let’s start with a beautiful red pepper:

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Now, quarter the pepper, discarding the seeds…

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… and flatten the pieces.  I used a cast-iron pan here, but you can use whatever you want, so long as it can withstand broiler heat.

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Slide under the broiler (or put on the grill, or right on a gas burner), with the skins closest to the heating element or flame)…

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… and char them– if you have a little more red remaining than this, that’s fine too.

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Now dump them into a saucepan and cover them so that they steam their own skins loose— about ten minutes covered (off any heat). Traditionalists do this in a paper bag but the pan is easier.

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Peel them with your fingers.  A little charred material will remain, and areas of the red flesh will be darkened.

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Now, roll out one pound of any dough you like, to 1/8-inch (I used the basic Master Recipe from the book).   I’d generally use a non-enriched dough here (no eggs or fat in the dough mix).  Try to form an oval or rectangle.  I assembled mine right on a liberally flour-dusted pizza peel, but you can assemble on parchment paper for an easier slide into the oven.

Slit one side (as in Mark Luinenburg’s gorgeous photo below), and lay out the peppers on the other side (with their outer, peeled surface facing up).  Sprinkle with thyme and coarse salt to taste.  The salt is crucial to bring out the flavor of the roasted peppers. Use a pastry brush to paint a little water around the edges to help make a good seal:

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OK, here’s the tricky part.  Fold the slitted half over the peppers and crimp it to the dampened side.  If the edges don’t meet nicely, just trim off the extra with kitchen shears.

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Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with more thyme.  If you’re not using parchment paper, make sure that the fougasse is moving well on the pizza peel; if not, nudge some additional flour underneath using a spatula.

Slide the fougasse onto the hot stone. Quickly add 1 cup of hot water to the broiler tray and close the oven door.   Bake at 450 F for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  If you rolled the dough thicker than 1/8-inch, it will need more baking to develop nice color and prevent an over-moist interior crumb next to the peppers.  Bon appetit!

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26 thoughts on “New video’s coming (on how to get steam into your oven); but we’re two weeks from manuscript deadline, so here’s a Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse…

  1. I made two loaves of this for Thanksgiving using the olive oil dough from ABin5 (and I cheated and used jarred roasted peppers, shhh, don’t tell!). It was amazing!

  2. I have a question. I’m using the master recipe from “artisan bread in 5 minutes a day,” and when making standard round loaves or the french bread (20-minute-rise loaves), I consistently get misshapen bread. The dough bubbles up in one part of the bread or another, and although it tastes great, it looks a little funny. Our oven stays right around 450 (we have an oven thermometer), we use a baking stone, and we’re at just over 3,000 elevation (if that’s relevant). Any suggestions?

  3. Looks great! Jeff or Zoe: I love making the basic bread dough, but I’m having trouble with it raising properly after it’s been refrigerated. I cannot find my book currently as I have just moved. Any advice? I have made excellent pizza with the refrigerated dough, however, because I didn’t care if it rose or not.

  4. I am from Germany and missed my German bread so much, thankfully I found your book in the library (bought it by now of course). The peasant bread is now our daily staple. Thank you. Vielen Dank.

  5. Dear Friends,
    I want to share with you a wonderful story about your bread. My daughter, husband and 3 children, 9-12-14 are living in Haiti as volunteers trying to help the Haitian people. My daughter went over after the earthquake and served 3 months doing medical work. My son in law is a teacher and also works in water purification and drilling of water wells. They decided as a family to go to Haiti and do what they can. Clean water is so needed to prevent illness like Cholera. My son in law will be drilling water wells. They are selling there home here and plan to be in Haiti for at least 2 years. They arrived in Haiti just after the unrest . The cholera is still a problem there. Now to tell you the great news about your bread. About 2 months before they left I found out about your book on the King Arthur flour site and tried the recipe. I immediately went out and bought the book. As my daughter was preparing to leave, I got her your book, and yeast and told her how easy it is to make. I want you to know that she has been making your bread in Haiti and even sharing the recipe with 2 of her Haitian friends. Food is very hard to get in Haiti and bread is especially hard to get . Living conditions are difficult in Haiti and having bread is such a blessing. We pray each day for their safety and protection and thank you for your part in making their life easier.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story. Your children and grandchildren are real heroes. What courageous and generous people. It is so wonderful that they are making and sharing the bread as well.

      Please send our best to them and thank them for their incredible work! Zoë

  6. I’m looking forward to that video on getting steam! My bread has been consistantly a little flat. I think the steam all goes out the back of my oven (I can see it coming out!) Once I started baking it in a container with a lid to trap the steam, I got much better results.
    So a video on steam? Brilliant!

    • Barb: Assuming you mean that you’re not getting the rise you were hoping for, the steam isn’t going to help much with that. Steam works on improving the crust (browner, shinier, more caramelized).

      To get a better rise, consider a longer rest. Rather than 40 min, try 60 or even 90.

      Video will be before Christmas… Jeff

  7. I have a strombolli recipe that I have used for years that uses a tube of Pillsbury french bread. It has sliced salami, ham & cheese in it. It is rolled jelly roll style then has slashes on the top. Can I use the 5 minute bread in this recipe, rolling it up? Would I slit the dough? I have both books so I have your strombolli recipe but I like the sliced meats in mine! Please let me know if this will work! Thank you!!!

  8. Do you think it will work if I put small roll size blobs of the dough on top of stew to make a sort of dumpling? My Mom used to use canned biscuits on top of her stew but I really want a healhier alternative. BTW my strombolli using the basic dough was fantastic!

    • Hi Annie,

      You will want the dough to rise on the counter before you place it on the stew, or it may be too dense. Let us know how it comes out!

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hi Zoe and Jeff!

    Thanks so much for bringing easy bread to the world! I’m so happy you are enjoying great success with your books. I have your second book and I’ve made the master recipe with great success. I’ve also made pita in the oven. Heating the oven for so long for a fresh pita at lunch seemed like it used too much energy so I heated up my panni maker which has an adjustable top. I turned it up near high and adjusted the height of the top plate so the pita had space to puff up nicely and it cooked through in six minutes. Wow! I’m so happy to be able to feed my family bread that I know is made with quality ingredients and love! Thank you both!!
    Jeannie

    • Hi Jeannie,

      That is fantastic, what a wonderful way to save both time and energy! Thank you for sharing your discovery!

      Cheers, Zoë

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