This year we’ll be away for Christmas. As a result, the house isn’t decorated for the holidays. No tree, no lights. These halls are not decked. Still, I hanker for the glitz of Christmas. So instead of traditionally shaping a batch of Pear – Blue Cheese – Bacon Sourdough Fougasse, I opted for Christmas trees and Snowflakes.
Hee Hee, spell check thinks I meant outgases instead of fougasse. Stupid spell check.
Of course, sourdough fougasse with pears, bacon and blue cheese would be a treat any time of year and in any shape, but they really feel perfect right now, as it’s lashing with rain outside. Just like real snowflakes, these are disappearing rapidly.
I used Point Reyes blue, which is quite creamy and mild. If you want something more assertive, a Danish blue or even gorgonzola would work well. So would cherries in place of the pears. The bacon is never optional..
Fougasse with Pears, Bacon and Blue Cheese
makes about a dozen hand-sized breads
400 grams bread flour
75 grams rye flour
280 grams water
238 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter
12 grams salt
25 grams olive oil
117 grams blue cheese
125 grams bacon
60 grams dried pears (mine were very dry – use more if you have the thick, heavy type of dried fruit)
- Dice the pears into small bits and place in a small bowl. Measure out the water them pour some over the pears to just cover them. I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds to facilitate rehydration. if you have the thick, moist kind of dried fruit, you can skip this step (aside from the dicing).
- Dice the bacon and gently sauté until it’s just barely cooked. Spoon onto a paper towel to drain the fat.
- Crumble the cheese into chunks. I put mine in the freezer so that it wouldn’t disintegrate when I mixed it into the dough.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flours, remaining water, and starter and mix until it is just blended. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Add salt, olive oil to the dough. Drain the water from the pears and add that too. Mix on medium speed until the dough reaches medium gluten development. This took me about 5 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board or counter and flatten. Spread the pears, bacon and cheese on top of the dough, then fold until the add-ins are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled contained and let it ferment for 2 1/2 hours with a fold after the first hour.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, then shape each as desired. It does work best to chop straight down (like a guillotine) rather then trying to slice the dough with a knife. I used a bench scraper and the top of my cheese grater to make the cuts. A spatula might also work, though mine are all too big for this particular size of fougasse.
- One the cuts are made, transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stretch to open the cuts and form the final shape.
- Dust with flour, cover and proof for another 2 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Spritz the fougasse with water to generate steam when baking. Place the baking sheets in the oven, reduce the heat to 450 and bake for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. I baked one batch of my fougasse on a baking stone and the others just on the sheet pans. To be honest, I didn’t notice any difference in the result, so use a stone of you have one, but don’t bother if you don’t.
- Let cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!
This recipe has been shared with Yeast Spotting on the Wild
Happy Holidays to everyone from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen!