This Christmas tree sourdough fougasse has a crisp, golden crust and a light, airy interior. It makes a fun Christmas-themed appetizer or side for your next holiday party.
What is Fougasse?
Fougasse is a delightful French flat-bread known for its distinctive leaf or ear-shaped design. Fougasse is similar to focaccia, except the dough is slashed and stretched before baking to create its unique shape.
Fougasse traditionally resembles a leaf, but for this recipe a Christmas tree. The slashing and stretching adds to its aesthetic appeal but also allows for even baking and a satisfyingly crisp texture.
Fougasse is often served as an appetizer, snack, or accompaniment to a meal. This Christmas tree sourdough fougasse makes a fantastic Christmas appetizer. Its a fun centerpiece for your next holiday party. However you serve it, it is sure to impress your family and friends this December.
Why I Love This Recipe
This recipe is Incredibly easy and perfect for beginner sourdough bakers. It has a three hour rise time and then goes straight into the fridge to proof for 12 hours. Once you slash the dough it has a short second rise before it goes into the oven. The long chill time makes this recipe super adjustable.
This recipe is also incredibly delicious. My family devours it every time I make it and it is frequently requested by my four year old. My family loves to pair sourdough fougasse with pasta and soup meals.
Using Your Sourdough Starter
What is Sourdough Starter? This sourdough raspberry roll wreath uses sourdough starter to rise instead of traditional bakers yeast. If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn all about it.
For this Christmas tree sourdough fougasse recipe use your sourdough starter when it is at its peak. When is that? Each sourdough starter will behave differently, so learn your starter to know for sure its ready to bake with.
As a general rule of thumb most starters will peak about 8-16 hours after their last feeding. When your starter is at its peak it will have at least doubled in size, be light, airy, and filled with bubbles.
Still not sure? Try a float test. To float your starter drop a spoonful into a glass of water to see if it floats. If it does your starter is mature and ready to bake with!
Tips and Tools
Plan Ahead: Sourdough baked goods have a long rise time. Take a look at my Sample Bakers Schedule before you begin so you have a better idea on when to begin and how to plan ahead.
Tools I Recommend
For this recipe I find the following tools quite handy (Amazon affiliate links):
Measure Your Ingredients Correctly
It can be easy to add too much flour to the dough when measuring in cups, leaving you with a dry and dense fougasse. For best results this recipe is written in gram conversions.
Grams measurements ensure consistent results each time you make this recipe. If you don’t have a scale to weigh your ingredients, this is one I recommend.
Use a Large Pan
This fougasse is large once the dough is stretched making it perfect for sharing with a crowd, but this also means it won’t fit onto a averaged sized baking sheet. I recommend baking this Christmas tree sourdough fougasse on a large pizza pan or a baking steel.
If you don’t have a pan large enough to bake this on, try dividing the dough in half and making two medium sized sourdough Christmas tree fougasse.
How to Stretch and Fold
- Lightly wet your hands before handling the dough to prevent sticking.
- Scoop up an edge of the dough and gently pull it upwards.
- Once the dough reaches a point where it resists being pulled go ahead and fold the dough over itself.
- Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this stretching and folding motion.
- You will turn the bowl, stretch and fold until the bowl comes full circle. These four stretch and folds are called a set.
- Repeat the process of resting the dough for 30 minutes and performing stretch and folds two more times. You will have performed three total sets.
Sample Baker Schedules
Same Day Sample Schedule
9 AM: Mix the dough together and cover to rest.
9:30 AM: Perform the first stretch and fold set, and cover to rest.
10 AM: Perform the second stretch and fold set, and cover to rest.
10:30 AM: Perform the third stretch and fold set, and cover for first rise.
1 PM: Transfer the dough to the fridge to chill.
2:30 PM: Divide and shape the dough, then cover for second rise.
5 PM: Cut and stretch the dough portions to form ghosts.
5:30 PM: Top the shaped dough with olive oil and salt, then bake.
6 PM: Serve or store your Christmas three sourdough fougasse.
Overnight Sample Schedule
5 PM: Mix the dough together and cover to rest.
5:30 PM: Perform the first stretch and fold set, and cover to rest.
6 PM: Perform the second stretch and fold set, and cover to rest.
6:30 PM: Perform the third stretch and fold set, and cover for first rise.
9 PM: Transfer the dough to the fridge to chill.
9 AM: Divide and shape the dough, then cover for second rise.
11:30 AM: Cut and stretch the dough portions to form ghosts.
12 PM: Top the shaped dough with olive oil and salt, then bake.
12:30 PM: Serve or store your Christmas tree sourdough fougasse.