There are lots of different kinds of fougasses, but I know it as a lightly nutty loaf (thanks to some whole wheat flour), with plenty of olive oil to make a crisp outer crust and a rich finished loaf. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
The day before you want to make the fougasse, make the pâte fermentée: In a medium bowl, stir the flour, yeast, and salt to combine. Make a well in the center, add the water, and mix with a wooden spoon until it's homogenous—it will look shaggy, but should be fully combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.
The next day, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the water and pâte fermentée and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Raise speed to medium and mix 4 minutes more.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly doubled in size, 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 475° Fahrenheit, preferably with a pizza stone on the lower rack. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into two even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Transfer each piece of dough to a prepared baking sheet. Use a knife, scissors, or (preferably) a lame to score the dough diagonally four times on one side. Then score the loaf on the other side the same way, but making the lines go the opposite way, so they meet in a sort of V in the center, but never touch.
Brush the loaves generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt. Bake the loaves one at a time with the baking sheet directly on the baking stone, 13 to 17 minutes.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.