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Originally these flatbreads were made when the first wheat was harvested each year. The shape and taste always evoke a ‘wow’ when served to family and friends. I’ve thought about adding olives to the dough but with the ciabatta flour rather than ordinary white bread flour the taste holds up on its own.

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7g fast action dried yeast
350ml warm water
500g Shipton Mill Organic Ciabatta Flour
10g table salt

Add the yeast to the water.
Stir the salt into the flour.
Add the yeast/water mix to the flour and mix together with a spoon to form a rough dough. Or use the flat beater on a stand mixer to achieve the same effect.
Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until elastic. It should be sticky. Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and cover.
Or use the dough hook on a stand mixer for 5 minutes on Speed 1. Scrape the dough down and run at Speed 1 for a further five minutes.
Cover and leave to double in size.
This takes about 1-2 hours depending on room temperature. If I’m short of time (or it’s a cold day) I use the proving function on my oven for 40 minutes.
Put the oven on 200°C (fan) and place a baking sheet in the oven.
Lay out a piece of baking paper/parchment the same side as the tray and lightly flour it.
Tip the dough out of the bowl slowly, letting it spread into a leaf shape. This needs to be around 2.5cm thick. If necessary, use your fingers lightly to achieve the shape and thickness but avoid pressing the dough.
Flour the top and cover with a tea towel.
After about 5 minutes minutes use a dough scraper/sharp knife to make a lengthwise cut through the centre. Make sure the cut is down to the paper but do not cut the paper.
Make 2-3 small diagonal cuts on either side of the central cut to achieve a leaf effect. Gently tease them open.
Dust off any excess flour.
Carefully slide the paper and dough on to the heated baking sheet.
My oven usually takes about 22 minutes to achieve the desired hollow sound when the base is tapped but I check it at 20 minutes and occasionally it can take 25 minutes.

Note: When covering the bowl of dough I prefer reusable silicone stretch covers but a tea towel will do rather than clingfilm.

Added by: Alan Barber

Tags: Bread Fougasse

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