138. Monaco: Fougasse

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Monaco, the second smallest (the smallest being Vatican City) yet wealthiest country (per capita) in the world. You can literally walk from one end of the country to the other end in about an hour, since it’s length is only 4km. It is however the most dense populated country in the world. In the spring of 1956 all eyes in the world were on Monaco where the wedding of the century was taking place. The actress Grace Kelly married Prince Reinier Grimaldi of Monaco. Her dress inspired designers for years to come.

Things you didn’t know about Monaco:

  • Monaco is not only one of the richest countries per capita in the world, but it also has one of the lowest unemployment rates and more billionaires per capita than any other country!
  • Monaco does not grow any commercial crops as there simply is not enough space to do so!
  • Monaco does not have its own major defense force. The country’s defense; however, is France’ responsibility.  Monaco was never a part of France despite its long history and geographical intimacy with France.
  • Do not be surprised to learn that the native of Monaco are not allowed to gamble here and visit the casino. The rule is imposed by the country’s government, which does not want its citizens to gamble away their money. The casino is a source of income for the country and provides employment to its residents.

This bread is so nice! It’s so herby, great to eat with a bit of aioli, goats cheese, or simply dip it in olive oil!

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g/¼ fine salt
  • 7g sachet instant yeasr
  • 2 tbsp olijfolie, plus extra for greasing and drizzling
  • 350ml warm water
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • fine semolina, for dusting
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt flakes, crushed, to finish
  1. Grease a large plastic container with a little olive oil. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  2. Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. (Don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add the olive oil and three-quarters of the water. Begin mixing on a low speed. As the dough starts to come together, add the remaining water very slowly, then mix for another 8 minutes on a medium speed. Add the rosemary, sage and thyme and mix for a minute until the herbs are evenly distributed in the dough. When ready, the dough will be very elastic and you should be able to stretch it away from the bowl.
  3. Tip the dough into the oiled container. Cover and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – about an hour. The dough should be bouncy and shiny.
  4. Mix equal quantities of white flour and semolina together and use to heavily dust the work surface. Carefully tip out the dough. It will be quite loose and flowing, but don’t worry. Divide the dough in half.
  5. Lift each piece of dough onto the prepared baking sheets and spread out into flat ovals. Using a pizza cutter make two cuts in a line down the middle of the ovals with a gap between them, stopping 2cm/1in from each end. Then make 12 diagonal cuts in the dough, 6 either side of the central cuts, forming a leaf design, then stretch the dough out slightly to emphasise the holes.
  6. Place the baking sheets inside large plastic bags and leave to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
  7. Spray a little olive oil over the top of the loaves using a water spray bottle, or just drizzle over the oil. Sprinkle over the oregano and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the fougasse sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from the oven and while still hot, brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt

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