These sourdough fougasse ghosts have a crisp, golden crust and a light, airy interior. They make a fun Halloween-themed appetizer or snack, and they pair perfectly with your favorite fall soups.
Fougasse is a delightful French flat-bread known for its distinctive leaf or ear-shaped design. The dough is slashed and stretched before baking to create its unique shape, which traditionally resembles a leaf, but for this recipe little ghosts. 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. These sourdough fougasse ghosts make a fantastic Halloween appetizer, pair perfectly with your favorite fall soup, and are fun spooky snacks for the kids. However you serve them, they are sure to impress your family and friends this October.
Sourdough fougasse ghosts make a fun and easy beginners sourdough recipe. To make this recipe you will need a sourdough starter. If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn all about it.
One of the beautiful things about bread – is its simplicity in terms of ingredients. Only a few basic ingredients are needed to make this sourdough fougasse ghosts recipe.
- Water – Water adds hydration to the dough. When working with sourdough starter I always use filtered water. Tap water contains fluoride which can slow down the fermentation process.
- Sourdough Starter – This recipe uses Sourdough Starter to make the dough rise instead of baker’s yeast. Make sure your starter is fed the night before you plan to bake, so it is active and bubbly when you mix the dough.
- Bread Flour – For this sourdough fougasse bread, I used organic bread flour. Bread flour will yield the best results, but If substituting with all-purpose flour, increase the amount of flour called for by 35g.
- Salt – Salt is added to enhance flavor and strengthen the dough.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is added to the dough to give this fougasse a delicate crumb. Additional olive oil can be brushed on the dough before baking to give it a flavorful and crisp crust.
How to Make Sourdough Fougasse Ghosts
Plan Ahead: Sourdough baked goods have long rise times. Take a look at my Sample Bakers Schedule before you begin so you have a better idea on when to start and how to plan ahead.
Step 1: Make the Dough
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the active sourdough starter and water, until the starter is completely dissolved. Then, sift in the flour and salt, and mix by hand or with a sturdy spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Add the olive oil, and work the dough until it is fully incorporated, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth or kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Strengthen the Dough
Strengthen the dough by performing a set of stretch and folds, then cover it to rest another 30 minutes.
Repeat the process of stretching and folding the dough two more times. You will have completed three total stretch and fold sets, with each set separated by a 30 minute rest.
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.
Step 3: First Rise
After the last set of stretch and folds, cover the bowl with a damp cloth or kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise at 72°F(21°C) for another 2-3 hours. The dough will need to rise until it is double its original size. It’s important to note that rise times can vary based on the temperature and humidity in your home, so adjust the time accordingly.
Transfer the dough to the refrigerator and allow it to chill for 1-12 hours. This will make the dough easier to handle and allow the flavor to develop.
Step 4: Divide and Second Rise
Pull the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into 8 roughly equal portions.
Loosely shape each portion into a ball, then cover them with a kitchen towel or cloth for second rise.
Allow the balls of dough to rise 72°F(21°C) for 2-3 hours, or until the dough has poofed up and almost doubled in size. It’s important to note that rise times can vary based on the temperature and humidity in your home, so adjust the time accordingly.
Step 5: Shape and Bake
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
Take one portion of the dough at a time and, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, create two diagonal cuts for the eyes and one vertical cut to form the mouth.
Gently pull and stretch the dough to widen the cuts, giving your ghost faces a playful appearance. Then, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush the tops the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake on the lower center rack for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and just starting to brown.
Allow the sourdough fougasse ghosts to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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 sourdough fougasse ghosts.
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 sourdough fougasse ghosts.
Sourdough Fougasse Ghosts FAQ
You can use all-purpose flour in place of bread flour for making these fougasse ghosts. Bread flour tends to give a slightly chewier texture, while all-purpose flour creates a lighter crumb. If substituting with all-purpose flour, increase the amount of flour called for by 35g.
While savory fougasse is more traditional, you can make these into dessert-style fougasse ghosts by brushing them with melted butter and sprinkling with a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.
Arrange your spooky fougasse ghosts on a Halloween-themed platter or board. Consider adding some themed decorations, like spiderwebs or mini pumpkins, to create a festive presentation. Serve them as a centerpiece or as part of a larger spread for your Halloween party.
Sourdough fougasse ghosts pair well with a variety of dips, spreads, cheeses, or fall soups. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping are a classic choice, while marinara makes for a more festive colored dipping sauce.
Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, freeze the ghosts and reheat them for 15 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven when ready to enjoy.