INGREDIENTS (Serves 6):
500g strong white bread flour
5g of dried yeast
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
20g sundried tomatoes, chopped roughly
20g green olives, pitted and chopped roughly
1 tbsp oil, for greasing
3 tbsp milk
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tsp salt
1) Preheat the oven to 200C and dust a large baking tray with flour.
2) Mix the flour, salt and dried yeast in a large bowl until combined. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and slowly pour in the water bit by bit until the dough becomes easy to knead and not too sticky. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
3) Add the sundried tomatoes, olives and the leaves of the sprigs of thyme in the middle of the dough. Continue to mix the ingredients by stretching out the dough and folding it over onto itself.
4) Shape the dough into a ball and using a rolling pin, roll it out into an even oval shape. With a sharp knife or a plastic scraper, cut slashes in the loaf and then open the slashes apart with your hands.
5) Push a few olives onto the top of the dough and then cover loosely with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place as the yeast becomes active between 20 and 40C. After around an hour the dough will double in size.
6) Sprinkle the coarse sea salt on top of the dough and brush with milk before placing in the hot oven. To prevent a crust forming too quickly and to ensure a nice rise, spray the oven with a few squirts of water before closing.
7) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the fougasse is risen and golden brown. If it is cooked the bottom of the bread will make a hollow sound when tapped. It will come off the tray once fully cooked too.
8) Serve with soup, dip into olive oil or enjoy with a meal.