Fougasse (la pompe à l’huile)

For Sawyer’s French class holiday party, he wanted to bring in some bread. Since he brought in baguettes for the last party, he wanted to choose something different. We found a French holiday Fougasse recipe in my Mom’s Celebration Breads cookbook that is sweet to the tongue and interesting to the eye. I love baking with Sawyer – he’s a natural in the kitchen.

We made a double recipe so he could have a large loaf for the party and several smaller loaves to give as gifts to his teachers. The bread comes out light, sweet and with a unique orange-anise flavor that isn’t overbearing.

This particular Fougasse is called la pompe à l’huile which means the oil pump (and refers to the olive oil in the recipe).

Learn about Fougasse...
From Wikipedia:

In ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flatbread baked in the ashes of the hearth (focus in Latin). This became a diverse range of breads that include focaccia in Italian cuisine, hogaza in Spain, fogassa in Catalonia, fugàssa in Ligurian, pogača in the Balkans, pogácsa in Hungary, fougasse in Provence (originally spelled fogatza), fouace or fouée in other French regions and on the Channel Islands. The Provence version is more likely to have additions in the form of olives, cheese, or anchovies, which may be regarded as a primitive form of pizza without the tomato.

There is also in Portugal the fogaça, a sweet bread. In Brazil, pão sovado is a typical big fougasse, while a recipe, typical of the states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and surrounding regions, that is halfway between fougasse and bolillo (in these regions known as pão francês or pão-de-sal), somewhat resembling a savory small brioche, is called pão suíço. They are perhaps the sweetest of savory artisanal bread recipes commonly made in Brazil.

Fougasse was traditionally used to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The time it would take to bake gives an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread can be loaded.

Fougasse (la pompe à l’huile)

For Sawyer's French class holiday party, he wanted to bring in some bread. Since he brought in baguettes for the last party, he wanted to choose something different: a fougasse that is sweet to the tongue and interesting to the eye.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 large loaf
Author Betsy Oppenneer


For the sponge

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For the dough

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange flower water *
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds crushed
  • 2½-3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the topping

  • olive oil to brush over finished loaves
  • confectioner's sugar to sprinkle over finished loaves


  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water to soften. Add the sugar and flour and beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

  2. Add the sugar, oil, orange flower water, salt, zest, anise, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge. Beat vigorously for two minutes.

  3. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  5. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour. 

  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and pat into a 10 by 14-inch rectangle with rounded corners. Carefully place on a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet, reshaping if necessary.

  7. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise for 35 minutes. The dough will not double.

  8. Using a sharp knife or razor blade cut diagonal slits all the way through the dough, starting about 1 inch from the center of the loaf and ending about one inch from the outside edge. Gently spread the slits open to about 1 inch. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes.

  9. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  10. Bake for 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

  11. Brush with additional olive oil. Just before serving, sprinkle the Fougasse with confectioner's sugar.

Recipe Notes

* we substituted 3 tablespoons of fresh squozen orange juice.


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