Going Wild with Poppy Seed Fougasse

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summary: recipe for wild fougasse with poppy seeds baked on the barbecue; grilling Artic char; the wonders of lemons; it’s strawberry season!

When we were discussing what bread to make on the barbecue for dinner, we realized that it had been way too long since we’d had poppy seed bread!

I love this bread!! It’s just a little bit sweet but not cloyingly so. And it’s beautifully soft inside yet nicely crispy on the outside.
-me, blog from OUR kitchen, poppy seed bread on the barbecue, 15 July 2010
I love poppy seed bread!! And please excuse me. I see that I’m repeating myself
-me, blog from OUR kitchen, Poppy Seed Rolls on the Barbecue Revisited, 12 July 2011
This poppy seed fougasse was fantastic with grilled salmon
-me, blog from OUR kitchen, Give us this day our daily bread (WBD/WFD 2011), 16 October 2011

Of course! Poppy seed fougasse! What could be better? We decided to really splash out and, instead of salmon, we would get a piece of wild Artic Char – Ocean Wise, of course.

Ocean Wise Logo (ocean.org) If you see the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item, you know that option is the best choice for the health of our oceans.
– Ocean Wise | About The Ocean Wise Seafood Program

Even though we still have a jar of active dry yeast in the fridge, we are now loathe to use it. So I decided to alter our poppy seed bread recipe.

wild fougasse

Whoohoooo! …artic char and green peppercorn mayonnaise with poppy seed fougasse raised with our trusty Jane Mason starter! WHAT could be better for a summer day?

Festive Dinner

Here is what I did to make the bread (to make enough dough so there would be enough bread left over for arctic char salad the next night!)

Wild Fougasse with Poppy Seeds
based on our recipe for poppy seed bread and/or fougasse


  • dessert spoon Jane Mason whole wheat starter from the fridge
  • 50gm 100% whole wheat flour
  • 50gm water at room temperature


  • 250gm unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5gm wheat germ
  • 64gm dark rye flour
  • 4gm (1 tsp) sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (35gm) poppy seeds
  • 130gm water at body temperature, divided (hold back 20g for when adding the salt)
  • 122gm (1/2 c) plain yoghurt
  • 40gm (3 Tbsp) olive oil
  • all of the leavener from above
  • 7gm seasalt


  1. leavener In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
  2. mix the dough In the morning of the day you will be making the fougasse: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water – even amounts by weight – cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float. Put flours, wheat germ, sugar, poppy seeds, all but 20 grams water, yoghurt, olive oil, and all of the leavener into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 20gm water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  4. kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. stretching and folding the dough: Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and early spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother. Please note that this dough is on the soft side. After the final time of folding, let the dough rise in a non-drafty area at room temperature (or in the cold oven with the light turned on if you want) until the dough has doubled (this might take anywhere from an hour to two hours), when the dough will be ready to shape. (To tell if it has risen enough: gently poke your finger in the top, the indention will stay. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how the indentation quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.)
  6. Shaping: About an hour before baking the fougasse, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured board and press it out into an oval (or a rectangle; or a circle). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1cm (half and inch) thick.
  7. Put a sheet of parchment paper (Alternatively, if you don’t have parchment paper, you can sprinkle corn meal – to act as ball-bearings) on the peel – or an upside-down cookie sheet. Lay the shaped dough on the peel. Using a pizza wheel and “swift, decisive strokes” cut a design of a leaf or ladder into the dough. Take care not to cut through the outer edges. From the edges, pull the dough outwards to make sure the cuts are spaced. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise.
  8. Baking If the weather is fine or just too hot to be turning the oven on, we always bake the fougasse in our gas barbecue. Of course, if it’s raining or just too cold and dark, the fougasse can be baked in a conventional oven.
    • Baking in the Barbecue: Put a pizza stone over the half of the barbecue you will turn on to preheat the barbecue by turning it to high. Transfer the fougasse to the pizza stone that is sitting over direct heat. Close the lid of the barbecue and bake for about 8 minutes, rotating the stone once or twice or thrice to account for uneven heat in the barbecue (Hot Spots!!!). Then move the stone over to cook with indirect heat (lid down again) until the fougasse is done (about another 8 minutes)… our gas barbecue can be turned off on one side. Watch for hotspots and move the fougasse around to keep it from burning on one side. Because of the heat from the bottom, we like to turn the fougasse over. Just make sure to wait until the top crust is relatively well-formed.
    • Baking in the Oven: Put a pizza stone on the middle or top shelf of the oven and turn it to 400F (200C). Transfer the fougasse onto the hot stone and bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning it around at least once to account for uneven oven heat. The finished fougasse will be deep gold on the bottom and gold on the top.
  9. When the fougasse done, remove it from the heat and allow to cool for at least a few minutes on a well-ventilated rack. To serve, break it apart and dip it into good quality olive oil with added herbs if you want. Or slather the bread with butter. It’s also delicious plain.

This bread goes fabulously with grilled salmon.


» water: To get “lukewarm” water, under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Water from the hot water tap sits festering in your hot water tank, leaching copper, lead, zinc, solder, etc. etc from the tank walls… the higher temperature causes faster corrosion. Of course, saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave.

» leavener: The bread is really good when made with commercial yeast. But the flavour is even better when it is made with wild yeast! Our leavener is made with a 100% hydration starter. It takes about 5 days to create and happily resides in the fridge after that – our starter has been happily bubbling away and raising fabulous bread since July 2017. (Please see our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)

» salt: We would normally use Kosher salt, but for some bizarre reason, our favourite brand is not available on our supermarket shelves (and hasn’t been for about 6 months). So we are using seasalt. But you can use any kind of salt you want. I did reduce the amount a little from our commercially yeasted recipe. The resulting bread was plenty salty enough.

The ideal salt concentration in a dough is 1.8% (baker’s percentage). […] Avoid iodine-enriched salt. Iodine is toxic to sourdough microbes. Don’t bother buying expensive gourmet salts – you won’t notice the difference. Otherwise, any type of salt is OK for breadmaking. Large salt crystals take up twice as much volume as fine crystals. Weigh salt using the baker’s percentage system for accurate measurements.
– Lisa Rayner, Wild Bread: Hand-baked Sourdough Artisan Breads in Your Own Kitchen, Dough Basics, p. 69
(for more ranting and raving about why you should weigh salt, please see Salt is Salt, right?)


The Arctic Char really was spectacular, grilled using a very cool technique that the fish monger gave us: to grill the fish skin side down over medium heat on a bed of sliced lemons. The lemons got beautifully caramelized and the fish was perfectly cooked. We served it with green peppercorn mayonnaise, steamed yellow beans and sugar snap peas, herbs galore (including dill) from the garden, the fougasse, and a lovely Spanish rosé (Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo rosé).

Eating outside in the garden was perfection.

Grilled Arctic Char
Festive Dinner July 2019
green peppercorn mayonnaise
Festive Dinner July 2019

Dessert?? Of course, there was dessert.

But we were too full after that wonderful dinner and didn’t actually eat the dessert until the next morning: fresh strawberries with faux crème fraiche.

We continued with our wildness by garnishing the crème fraiche in each bowl with a mint sprig and a single tiny wild strawberry from our garden. The garden strawberries had only just begun to ripen – we cannot believe that the raccoons haven’t stolen them before we can get to them!



This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, fish and seafood, food & drink, posts with recipes, sourdough and wild yeast on by .

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