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No-Knead Fougasse



Fougasse with oil being poured onto it
Photograph by Isa Zapata, food styling by Pearl Jones and Thu Buser, prop styling by Sean Dooley

Puffy, oil-rich focaccia gets a lot of love from home bakers for good reason. But its leaf-shaped French cousin fougasse (pronounced FOO-gehs-uh) is every bit as delicious, just as easy to bake, and—dare we say it—even more impressive.

You can use instant yeast or active-dry in this bread recipe, which means you can bake it no matter which you keep on hand. (When we tested them side by side, the fougasse made with instant yeast showed off a slightly loftier rise.) The fougasse dough comes together in one bowl, and the only equipment you’ll need is a spatula and a bench scraper. However, you will need some time: The dough proofs for about 2 hours and requires some babysitting. Periodically stretching and folding the dough builds up the gluten network, resulting in a chewy, open crumb. You’ll have just enough time between folds to top off your mug of herbal tea and get through a few chapters of that book you’re reading.

Similar to homemade pizza dough, this bread dough is meant to be wet; the high hydration results in an airy loaf. Resist the urge to add more flour and instead keep a small bowl filled with water nearby to keep your hands moist enough to handle the dough without sticking. The most important step in baking fougasse is shaping: Use a bowl scraper or a sharp knife to slash the dough, giving it its signature leaf-like pattern. Gently stretch the dough around each cut to ensure it holds its shape in the oven.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    45 minutes

  • Yield

    6–8 servings


1¼-oz. envelope instant or active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
3½ cups (438 g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
½ (heaping) cup pitted green olives (such as Castelvetrano, Cerignola, Picholine, and/or manzanilla), coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary
Flaky sea salt


  1. Step 1

    Whisk one ¼-oz. envelope instant or active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.), 1 tsp. sugar, and 1½ cups lukewarm water in a medium bowl. If using instant yeast, proceed immediately to the next step. If using active dry yeast, let sit 5 minutes (mixture should foam or at least get creamy; if it doesn’t, your yeast is dead and you should start again with new yeast).

    Step 2

    Add 3½ cups (438 g) all-purpose flour and 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt and mix with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Mix with your hands, squeezing and pulling to ensure no dry bits of flour remain, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough sit at room temperature 30 minutes.

    Step 3

    Pour some water into a small bowl. Dip your dominant hand into water to moisten, then lift edge of dough farthest from you up and over into the center of the dough. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat process. Rotate the bowl, repeating folding process, 6 more times. Re-cover dough and let rise in a warm draft-free spot 30 minutes. Repeat stretching and folding process. Re-cover and let rise another 30 minutes (dough should be about double in size).

    Step 4

    Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. Remove plastic wrap from bowl and reserve (you’ll use it once more in a bit). Turn out dough onto a baking sheet with a moistened plastic dough scraper, rubber spatula, or your hands and gently press out into an oval, with one end slightly wider than the other. Gently press down on dough to create a uniform height (it will deflate a little), then lightly press ½ (heaping) cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped, into dough all over. Brush reserved plastic wrap with extra-virgin olive oil; cover dough and let rest 20 minutes.

    Step 5

    Meanwhile, rub a generous pinch of kosher salt into zest of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary in a small bowl. Pour in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil and stir to combine; set seasoned oil aside.

    Step 6

    Using moistened plastic dough scraper, a paring knife, or a pizza wheel, make a vertical slit down the center of the dough, starting and stopping about 1" from each end, and gently stretch out dough around cut to open (this will ensure that you can see the design after baking). Make about 3 shorter cuts on each side of long cut, working on a slight diagonal (like the veins on a leaf) and gently stretch out dough around each cut. Brush dough with reserved seasoned oil; sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt.

    Step 7

    Bake fougasse until deep golden brown all over (including underneath), 20–24 minutes, checking for the first time after 18 minutes by carefully lifting up a corner with a metal spatula. Transfer baking sheet to stovetop (be careful; there may be excess oil sizzling on the baking sheet) and drizzle or gently brush more olive oil over, taking care not to dislodge the olives and herbs on the surface (be generous; this adds shine). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

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  • Do not make this unless you have a lot of people coming over to your house because you may just eat the whole thing in one sitting. Delicious. A true rival to the no knead focaccia.

    • Sarah

    • Virginia

    • 1/10/2024

  • This is truly excellent. Made as is, then made again with thyme in place of rosemary. Several people asked for the recipe, and my mom said it was the best bread she'd ever had!

    • camilla

    • seattle, wa

    • 5/6/2024

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