What in the world is an Olive Fougasse? Why is everyone so worked up about it in Trader Joe’s? Those are the questions I will try to answer in this review!
What in the world is Fougasse?
We need to take a step back and have a little history lesson on the world of bread. Many countries in Europe have a history of flatbreads. These are types of breads that are made with a pretty wet dough and sometimes herbs, olives, onions, or garlic is inserted into the dough before baking. They aren’t a traditional load shape. They have a very large open crumb with lots of big bubbles in them. They can be used as bread served with a meal or cut up and sliced in half for sandwiches.
In Italy, the bread is called focaccia, if you noticed the name fougasse is very similar to focaccia. This type of bread is prevalent throughout Italy, southern France, and Spain. It’s relatively easy to make. In Italy, it is typically made in a large pan into a rectangular shape.
Fougasse has a main traditional shape that looks like a stylized stalk of wheat. But there is another shape that is similar to the Italian Focaccia except there are slashes in the middle, which is the shape that Trader Joe’s is using.
Trader Joe’s Olive Fougasse
As you can from the above shape, it’s the less common shape but I think this works better for a different purpose. First, for Trader Joe’s bakers its easier to make instead of the fancy shape above. While the one above is aesthetically more pleasing, it takes a lot more time to make.
The secondary function is that it allows you to pull off one of those “pillars” (I don’t have a good word for them) and use them as sandwich bread. Just cut off one of them and slice it the long way and voila, really yummy sandwich bread!
You can see the dark blobs under the skin of the bread and of course, those are the yummy olives. If you don’t like olives, you won’t like this bread because the olive flavor infuses the bread.
What do I do with Trader Joe’s Fougasse?
First, this bread is ready to eat if you want but you can make it extra yummy and give the crust a better crunch if you follow Trader Joe’s suggestions on the back of the bag and that is to pop it in a 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes directly on the oven rack. This will make the flavors pop and who doesn’t like warm bread from the oven?
The biggest question I see online is “What do I do with this bread?” and I have already answered it above, but for clarity’s sake, I think there are two answers here. Mostly it’s just for eating like most bread. But the second use is for sandwiches.
If you are traditional, in Provence, you might serve it with herb-infused olive oil and or some type of yogurt spread. Just dip it in and eat away! Makes a great appetizer. It’s really that simple.
I have had my ups and downs with Trader Joe’s bread over the years. When I first started shopping at Trader Joe’s the bagel, loaf and bun selection was much larger than it is now. I think the breads were more locally made then they are now. Although, when I travel to Trader Joe’s in other states, the bread selection does change from region to region. But my biggest loss is the good bagels they used to have. Now their bagels are just crap. Occasionally, Trader Joe’s comes out with a new “artisan bread” like the Fougasse and it’s a hit. I have to agree. This is a really damn good loaf of bread. Sure you can make toast for your morning eggs with it, but this is not that. This is meant to be eaten with a meal as a side. The olives are Kalamata so they have a lot of flavor and that flavor infuses the whole loaf. If you can’t tell, I really, really like it!
I like this Trader Joe’s Fougasse so much, I am giving it 9 Bells!
UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN. FOLIC ACID). WATER, KALAMATA OLIVES (KALAMATA OLIVES, SEA SALT), BLACK OLIVES (BLACK OLIVES, SEA SALT, FERROUS GLUCONATE), SEA SALT, YEAST, HERBS (OREGANO, BASIL, THYME, MARJORAM, PARSLEY, CHIVES), BARLEY MALT FLOUR.
MAY CONTAIN SOY, SESAME, WALNUTS