“Evolution, Mama, Evolution, Mama,
Don’t you make a monkey out of me” as the song goes.

Some people learn by working their way from one end of a book like Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread”to the other.  I’m not knocking this approach and it’s an excellent book but I tend to develop by stealing ideas from less learned sources and quirky bakers. So I’ve got piles of cheap French (yeasted) bread books, remaindered books like the “Prairie Home Breads”, weird books like “Flavored Breads” from Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe and I plunder them all.

Remember this one from a couple of years back?

The wonderfully weird Pear and Liquorice Fougasse. This started life in a little book I found in Nice called “Les meilleures Fougasses” by Benoit Molin. M. Molin used to work with Gaston Lanotre so I have him down more as a patissier or a chef than a baker but I’m not proud when it comes to stealing ideas.

If you looked at the previous post you will know that Chris came to do a microbakery course with me last week and one of the breads he wanted to try was this fougasse. Well, it involves getting powdered liquorice from the Chinese supermarket, a special dough and making lemon curd + a sort of pear jam and it’s really not worth it to make two fougasses in the middle of quite an intensive course. But Chris was interested in a fougasse with two layers only the top of which is slashed.

Which reminded me of this:

The baker with whom I most identify is Marc Brion who has Le Fournil des Boiens in Biganos on the Basin d’Arcachon not far from Bordeaux. He bakes the most fabulous rustic pains aux levain. But he also has a way with improvisation for using up bits of spare dough or seasonal fruits. The “pasty” looking object pictured he calls “Fougassette” and, no, it’s not slashed but it’s two-layered. It’s a light olive oil dough containing chopped olives folded over a dollop of tomato sauce with a couple of anchovies on top.

This is what I tried to recreate with Chris. The filling was just a smidgin of tomato sauce and a slice of chorizo – it’s a bread with a bit in the middle, not a pasty. What we did wrong was to make them too big – see photo on previous post. So, the following day Steffi next door was throwing a birthday party and I made batch two – one third the size:

A bread is born – they were pretty good and, it wasn’t what they were intended (or shaped) for, but they made fantastic impromptu burger buns. See, they’re continuing to evolve …

4 thoughts on “Evolution

  1. Morning Mr Quirky! I too discovered the powdered liquorice (at Bristol Sweet Mart in St Marks Road) and used it to make some very strange bacon jam a few months back – I still have a jar in the fridge – Danish Bacon Jam – I called it. Am wondering now whether I should just casually layer the remainder of that into one of these sorts of breads and then it could be called Danish Bacon Jam Bread – currently have a date syrup and date sunflower rye brick thing to cut into, but mainly make endless variations on the same breads, the yoghurt/whey ones and the basic sourdoughs with a little wholegrain for flavour. Hope the sun penetrated as far as Bethesda this last week – all the best Joanna

  2. Mrs Mellow

    Danish Bacon Jam sounds seriously quirky, How about Danish Bacon Jam Donut? The fougasse recipe called for Zan Haribo concasse. I know concasse means powdered and Haribo is a huge sweet compnay but never found out exactly what Zan Haribo is.

    Hey, ho. What about a baking event in Bristol?


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