Making Bread with Richard Bertinet

Tucked away in a little cobbled street of Bath is the Bertinet Kitchen, the cookery school of French baker and chef Richard Bertinet. Let us know how you get on with the fougasse recipe below!

The cookery school opened in September 2005, in the same month that Richard’s first book Dough was published to critical acclaim and a host of awards (IACP cookery book of the year 2006, James Beard Award for Best Book (Baking & Desserts) and the Julia Child Award for Best First Book).

Richard published his second book Crust in 2007 (World Gourmand Award for Best UK Book – Baking) and Cook – In A Class of Your Own in 2010.  Two immensely popular books have followed: Pastry in 2012 and Patisserie Maison in 2014. Richard was named the BBC Food Champion of the Year 2010 at the BBC Food & Farming Awards on 24 November 2010.

The cookery school offers one-day bread-making classes and longer 2, 3 or 5 day bread-making and baking courses for both amateurs and professionals.

In the ‘Introduction to Bread Making’ course, students learn how to make and work the dough from the master himself, spending the day making olive and cheese sticks, fougasse (recipe below), tin loaves, foccacia and baguettes, before enjoying a relaxed lunch with cheese, patés, bread bien sûr, and a glass of Mirabeau rosé!

Richard is an amazing teacher, super attentive and funny, and all his assistants are very knowledgeable. We couldn’t recommend his classes enough if you’re interested in baking and bread making! 
12 Saint Andrews Terrace, Bath BA1 2QR, UK

Richard’s Fougasse

Making 6 fougasses:

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 350g water/350ml – weighing is more accurate
  • 10g yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 10g salt

Prepare the white dough:

  1. Rub the yeast into the flour using your fingertips (or mixing if using dried yeast). Add the salt and water. Work the dough with on hand using the other hand to turn the bowl (or use rounded end of your scraper) for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to form.
  2. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and work the dough by sliding your fingers underneath, swinging the dough upwards and then slapping it down away from you.  Without letting go, stretch the dough towards you and lifting it back over itself in an arc to trap the air into the dough.  Continue like this for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Lightly flour the work surface, place the dough onto the flour and form into a ball by folding each edge, in turn, into the centre. Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest for at least 20 minutes in a warm, draught-free place.

Prepare the fougasses:

  1. Rest the dough for up to an hour. Turn out gently onto a well-floured work surface. Be careful not to deflate it, but expect it to spread out to cover a square of your surface. Generously flour the top of the dough and cover with a clean tea towel to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Using the flat edge of your plastic scraper, cut the dough into 2 rectangles, and then cut each piece again into three roughly rectangular pieces. Make 1 large diagonal cut into each piece of dough making sure you cut right through to the work surface, but not through the corners. Make 2 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the central one. Gently open out the holes with your fingers and shake off the excess flour.
  3. Lift onto a lightly floured baking tray and slide onto the hot baking stone or tray in your oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

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