STORY: Happy accident proves to be a bakery hit!

Artisan baker Aidan Monks recently set about revisiting his baguette recipe and when doing a test bake something didn’t go quite to plan, but happily he realised that he’d quite by accident hit on the perfect recipe for Fougasse, a French bread from Provence and it’s been a firm favourite with customers since he first introduced it a few weeks back.

The funny thing is Fougasse was traditionally used to assess the temperature of wood fired ovens. Basically, the time it would take for Fougasse to bake gave the baker an indication of the oven’s temperature and whether he or she could load the rest of the bread into the oven or not. The uncanny thing is Aidan has recently installed a wood pellet fired oven at his Lovingly Artisan Bakery at Plumgarth’s, near Kendal.

As you can probably imagine Aidan being the perfectionist he is, then spent lots of time testing and refining his accidental recipe, taking care to source and use only the finest organic ingredients from across the UK to help create the perfect before bringing his new bread to market.

He also spent quite a bit of time digging into the background of Fougasse. As he discovered it’s been about for quite a bit! Our ancient Roman friends called it panis focacius - a flatbread they baked in the ashes of the hearth. Unsurprisingly, in the fullness of time this spread and became a diverse range of breads that to this day include Italian focaccia, Catalan fogassa, Lugurian fugàssa, Balkan pogača and Provencal fougasse, which even made it to the Channel Islands with the Normans - but that’s another story!

Aidan Monks, baker, and owner at Lovingly Artisan, commented: ‘’Fougasse is a family sharing bread, a party bread, it’s a bread that makes you smile, you really can’t help it and it’s totally delicious, especially as it contains a little sea salt, it’s perfect for tearing, sharing dipping and scoffing!’’

Fougasse is available at both Lovingly Artisan Altrincham and Plumgarth's near Kendal.

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