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Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 Update

We have received 6 submitted entries to the Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 so far. Please check them out. Hopefully that will prompt more ideas. There’s also been an update on the kinds of yeast allowed in the challenge.

I made a blunder of including nutritional yeast as an acceptable yeast, but luckily Catherine reminded me that deactivated yeast, which includes yeast extract, is not part of the challenge. Since nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, it won’t be accepted. The idea of the challenge is to work with live yeast that would breed fermentation. That is the big part of the challenge and therefore, the fun.

I apologize if it caused some confusion. You see, even hosts and judges make mistakes and definitely can use a few reminders. This is why you have a co-host. Two heads are always better than one.

I am submitting my own first entry to the challenge, Fougasse. I might enter more. Any entry that Catherine and I submit will be excluded from consideration for prizes, of course. We just want to share our experience with you.

sweet fougasse



  • Servings: 4 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This truly is the easiest bread to make that gives the most stunning result. I highly recommend this for a beginner. Use this easy basic Fougasse recipe from The Telegraph as your starting point. Once you get comfortable working with the dough, you can start adding herbs, spices, or even olives or dried fruits. It’s a versatile dough.

My recipe is adapted from this sweet Fougasse @Epicurious.com

For the starter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup all-purpose or bread flour

1. In your mixer bowl, stir together sugar and water. Sprinkle yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisk flour into yeast mixture. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap, and let starter rise, about 30 minutes.

For the dough
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
3 1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour

1. To the starter, add sugar, salt, water, and 1 1/4 cups of the flour.
2. With the hook attachment, knead at medium speed until smooth.
3. Gradually add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
4. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Roll dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
6. Place bowl in a warm place, and let dough rise and double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Punch down dough, then halve.
8. Pat out each half into an oval (about 12 inches long and 1/4 inch thick).
9. Cut each oval diagonally so you have 2 triangular pieces. You will have a total of 4 pieces. Stretch each triangle gently so it resembles a leaf.
10. Using a sharp knife, make a cut down center of each leaf, cutting all the way through. Make 3 shorter diagonal slashes on each side of the center cut, to create the look of leaf veins.
11. Lift “leaf” gently and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As you re-position leaf, gently pull apart cuts with your fingers. Let dough stand, uncovered, until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.
12. Preheat oven to 375°F.
13. Bake until golden brown, and loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. (The recipe from Epicurious.com mentions a total of 35-40 minutes of baking time. My bread was completely ready in 15 minutes, perhaps because I made them smaller, so adjust your baking time accordingly, as per size of bread or your oven tendencies.)

For savory fougasse, brush loaves with olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano and fleur de sel or sea salt or kosher salt.

For sweet fougasse, brush loaves with milk and sprinkle with crumbled dried lemon balm, grated lemon zest, and raw (demerara) sugar.


sweet fougasse


Fiesta Friday #16 is co-hosted by Elaine@Foodbod and Stacey@10 Legs in the Kitchen. Elaine is a vegetarian extraordinaire. She always comes up with clever ideas for her vegetables. Every time I take a look at the meals she prepares, I’m often left wondering why meat is even necessary in my diet. She is also so much fun to have around. Why, she peppers her comments with the most adorable emoticons. That shows a fun personality in my book.

Stacey, on the other hand, prepares the most appetizing-looking fish. If you weren’t a fan of fish before (hmm…who could that be?), you will be after you see her red fish. She is a writer of considerable talent, too. She has several posts I thought would make good scripts for movies. I’d be hiring an agent if I were her. In all likelihood she probably has one already. I have this suspicion for a while that she is an author, writing perhaps under the pen name of J.K. Rowling.

Welcome them, please, with open arms!

In the meantime, we have to say goodbye to our FF15 co-hosts, Jhuls and Selma. Not forever, of course. They’ll be back for another round in the future. They were obviously perfect co-hosts, who made everybody feel welcomed and taken care of. Jhuls went a little wild, chattering non-stop, but that’s what we love most about her. Selma was there every minute to make sure things didn’t get out of control.

Please give them both a thundering round of applause. Well done! Bien hecho! Ben fatto!

And now, features from FF15. They are:

Rose, Berry & Pomegranate Panna Cotta from Laura@The Seasoned Traveler. In Selma’s words, “Laura so beautifully crafted the post as an ode to her mother, describing how the dessert had to match up to the many attributes of this special lady and then vividly described two memories which showed how wonderful her mum really is – I was in tears! The panna cotta itself was a thing of beauty and absolutely complemented the post. For me, it was the perfect post…”

In Jhuls’ words, “Laura made this dessert as an ode to Moms, especially her Mom. She described her Mom through the flavorings and the layers of the dessert… I admire how she [was able to] come up with this yummy dessert with her Mom’s characteristics in mind. She thought of her Mom from the moment she started making this dessert up to the end…”

Need I say more? It was the perfect Mother’s Day post.

Blueberry Lemon Cake from Pang@Circa Happy. Pang may be a newcomer to Fiesta Friday, but she is not apparently new to making beautiful things, edible and non-edible alike. We know talent when we see one. What a happy discovery it was to find Circa Happy. Thank you, Jhuls, for bringing Pang to the party. This was another beautiful Mother’s Day post.

Chicken Pesto Pasta from Tracy@Scratch It. Mom’s the word! Another Mother’s Day post that grabbed our attention. In case you haven’t heard, a mom-and-daughter pasta-making is the new bonding activity recommended by Dr. Phil. Seriously! Tracy and her mom can vouch for it. I have no doubt they had tons of fun making the pasta and mozzarella balls together. I have some idea about it. Tracy, you make me want to crank up that pasta maker once again. With my baby girl next to me.

Asparagus and Feta Cigars from Selma@Selma’s Table. Selma has nothing to do with this selection. There’s absolutely no collusion here. I’m still a 3rd co-host, remember? Besides, I enlisted the help of our current co-hosts and they completely concurred. “Less is more” couldn’t be any truer than Selma’s simple yet elegant Asparagus Cigars. They are the perfect party appetizer. Selma, by the way, also came bringing music. What more could you possibly ask for? This was a perfect Fiesta Friday post if I ever saw one.

Bravo to all the featured posts! So much talent and creativity in our midst!

Now, let’s get the party started, shall we? To join the party, please add your link by clicking on the badge below. If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please read the guidelines.





















Mermaid’s tresses



Aditi & Nikhil

Melanie & Jim











































Mr Fitz

Mr Fitz

Mr Fitz


You’re next!