There is something about returning back to where you grew up. It feels safe as somethings seem to never change. The sound of the concrete Highway 100 with it’s rhythmic thump-thump, thump-thump as the car travels over the regular interval of cracks. Of course there are many things that do change as life goes on. People grow up and move away and the little kids you used to babysit are having babies of their own and the neighbor kids are off to college. I feel as if I haven’t changed, but in reality I’m sure I have as our environment and life shapes us in many ways sometimes unnoticable to ourselves as it has become so obvious. Maybe some parts of Highway 100 have been paved with asphalt after years of wear and tear and perhaps there are sections that do not produce the thump-thump noise that always seemed to lull me to sleep after returning home from Gramma’s and Grampa’s when we were little. And even if we did not sleep when we turned on our road, we pretended to, so that we could be carried in. It felt so safe.
Often when I come visit Minnesota in the spring, the season is quite far along. This year the winter had been harsh and there was still some snow and ice at the Minnehaha Falls. I have perhaps visited the falls as a little kid but did not have an clear memory of them. I did clearly remember celebrating Gramma’s fiftieth birthday in a parkway just a little further downstream. We drove through some of the old beautiful neighborhoods and past Gramma’s and Grampa’s old house. I had been just a little girl when the concrete steps had been poured and my foot prints are still there on Morgan Avenue.
One memory I have from childhood was when Grampa went to Paris. I have always loved traveling and I was pretty excited to see all of the pictures from the Bakery, Pastery, Chocolate, and Confectionary Trade show. It’s one of the leading events of it’s kind in the world and I just checked that the next one will be held in 2016. Wouldn’t that be fun! I rember that after that trip some new items started appearing at the Wuollet Bakery. One of them was the Fougasse which is typically associated with the Provence area of France(according to Wikipedia) and is similar to the focaccia. It really is quite simple but it is so pretty that it would make a nice housewarming gift if wrapped in some parchment paper and a ribbon. There are probably as many recipes for it as there are bakers. I found some inspiration from the BBC’s Good Food site and my version is below.
15 g fresh yeast/ 1/2 oz (7 g dried yeast/1/4 oz dried yeast)
500 g/17.6 oz bread flour (about 8.5 dl/3.5 c)
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
400 ml/ 1 and 2/3 c warm water
generous 1 dl/1/2 c olive oil
two handfuls of fresh parsley
4-5 sprigs of rosemary
little freshly ground black pepper
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (finger salt)
There are two ways to combining the yeast with the dough. It can be crumbled in with the flour or it can be added to the water, mixing until it dissolves. I personally prefer dissolving it in the water. Add in the salt and sugar. Mix with your hand or a wooden spoon. I used the dough hook on my stand mixer. After the dough has been mixed it will be quite soft and sticky. Flour your counter top and tip the dough onto the table. Knead so that you stretch it out away from you and fold over in half towards yourself and push with the heel of the your hand. Continue kneading and adding a little bit of flour at times if it feels too sticky. All flour is not created equal and some flour depending on how they have been stored might have less moisture content and will absorb more moisture in the baking process. As a general rule of thumb, I usually don’t add in all of the flour at the same time but with this recipe it probably is safe to do so. I had to add quite a bit of extra flour during the kneading process.
Once kneaded place back in the bowl and cover with a tea towl and allow to prove for about one hour. After the hour, tip the dough back on the floured counter and divide into two. Roll each piece of dough into a large rectangular shape. Place each bread onto a lined baking sheet that has about one glug of olive oil on it. Using a sharp knife, cut a diagonal slit in the middle with three additional small diagonal slits on each side to represent a leaf. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, black pepper and sea salt flakes. Bake at 220 C/425 F for about 13 minutes.
Since this fougasse is brushed with olive oil, it really needs no butter and can be eaten as is. It is a great all-year-round type of bread. In the summer it is perfect with salads and in the winter it goes well with soups.
This post is part of Angie’s Fiesta Friday Challenge # 1 which needed to included a recipe that used both yeast and herbs. As I was looking through some of the previous participants I noticed that Angie herself had entered a Fougasse. So there are now two with similar recipes. For a collection of herb and yeast inspired recipes follow the link above.
So nice that you remember the times you spent with your grandparents, the places and the events. Lovely fougasse recipe.
Yes, and what made the day even more special was that I was able to visit those places with them. Wish the flight over the ocean was a bit shorter! 🙂
I love your fougasse, and the photo of your daughter eating it even more! Easy bread to make, but with a satisfying result, isn’t it?
Yes, the fougasse was quite easy to make and it disappeared afterwards almost like magic! I guess it became a new favorite at our house. 🙂 Thanks for hosting the challenge!
I can “almost” taste that bread…cute picture(s) too…
Wish I could wrap it up in a pretty ribbon and come knocking on your door so we could sample it together ❤
A beautiful post weaving together past and present and so much love. The Fougasse looks delicious. I am sure I travelled on those concrete highways about 30 years ago. I remember the thump thump.
Thank you Gallivanta. How fun that you have a similar memory 🙂
Your Fougasse is amazing Laila 🙂
Thank you La petite Paniére, I really appreciate it!
I love the shot of you pulling on the dough, Laila! It’s so pretty!
Thank you Patty! 🙂
The bread looks sooo good!
If I may say so myself, it really was delicious…hope you have the chance to try it out!
I love Minnehaha Falls! I was back in MN this past weekend and I couldn’t agree more that it’s always fun to go back and visit your childhood home 🙂
I was mesmerized by the photos, both of the falls and of your bread…
Home calls me home, even when I don’t think I’m yearning for it…
Although I love living in Finland with my children and husband and many dear friends…there is always something so nice about visiting Minnesota and something so bittersweet about leaving…
Your childhood memories seem to make me nostalgic for mine… 🙂
This post was a bit nostalgic. I have enjoyed reading your posts about your childhood as well 🙂
Laila your pictures are beautiful! Thanks for this recipe, focaccia/fugasse is never enough!
Thank you so much! Hope you have a chance to try it out.
Lovely prose, as usual. And the fougasse is to really gorgeous. I bet you had fun making it.
Thank you, you are so kind! It was fun to make and eat…hope you have a chance to try it out.
The falls are beautiful and the memories of the your grandmother and grandfather are sweetly woven into your fougasse recipe.
Thank you Karen, it was a special day as I was able to spend it with my grandparents and my little Hugo.
How wonderful you got back to Minnesota, lots of memories and that falls is beautiful. I love your recipe for fougasse, it’s just beautiful and a great entry for FF.
Thank you Suzanne, it was so nice to be back…the time always seems to go by a little too quick.
The waterfall looks amazing- so does the fougasse!
Thank you Mary…I can only imagine what it looks like now with all of the spring and early summer greenery that trim the cliffs.
I, too, love traveling into the past and walking the streets from my childhood. I think that is why I love vintage shops, I recognize items that my Gran used to have in her kitchen, like a flowered canister set for flour, sugar, coffee and tea. Time does move so quickly, every stage is a beautiful one to create memories, I hope you get the chance to go to that Confectionary Trade Show! Gorgeous recipe today as well.. thank you for sharing:) xx
I love vintage shops as well. We stopped at one vintage shop in Stillwater, MN when we were newlyweds and everything was organized by color…I have often wished to revisit the little shop…perhaps sometimes in the future! I think it would be a place of many treasures!
I’m glad some things never change. 🙂 What a lovely post, and your fougasse is gorgeous! And such a happy name for the falls – mini haha! 🙂
So am I! I love the name as well…people of speak of the Minnehaha meaning laughing waters but in actually means curling waters…but laughing waters sounds quite appropriate!
oh goodness, that focaccia looks delicious. we had some (for the very first time) at punch pizza the other night, and jon asked me to start making it. looks like i have a recipe now 🙂
Oh, thank you so much! Hope you have a chance to try it out!
So many memories in your wonderful town 😀
I wish I was enjoying such scenic views! While eating delicious fougasse 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
Yes, Uru…fougasse would be the perfect picnic snack! Great idea 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
I followed a link from your mom or pop’s Facebook and just wanted to say I’ve been enjoying reading your blog. I was at Minnehaha last week and it looked quite a bit different with the raging spring water and greenery. Also, wanted to mention I was going through old papers last night and came across your wedding invitation 🙂 Time flies.
I can imagine that it looks so different now that summer has arrived. It would be fun to revisit sometime when everything is in bloom and green. Can you believe that it will be fifteen years in December…seems like it wasn’t that long ago yet so much has happened in that time. Glad you enjoyed the blog and thank you for visiting and commenting!
Lovely lovely evoking post!
I grew up in the Sioux Falls, SD area on the MN side. The falls are in SD right over the state line as I remember?