Try this salty, herby fougasse with dips for a relaxed starter when you need to feed a crowd.
Oil a 3-litre, square, plastic container.
Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. (Don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add the olive oil and three-quarters of the water. Begin mixing on a low speed. As the dough starts to come together, add the remaining water very slowly, then mix for another 6–8 minutes on a medium speed. Add the rosemary, sage and thyme and mix for 1 minute until the herbs are evenly distributed in the dough. When ready, the dough will be very elastic and you should be able to stretch it away from the bowl.
Tip the dough into the prepared container. Cover and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – about an hour.
Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone paper.
After an hour, the dough should be bouncy and shiny. Mix equal quantities of white flour and semolina together and use to heavily dust the work surface. Carefully tip out the dough onto the work surface. It will be quite loose and flowing, but don’t worry. Divide the dough in half.
Lift each piece of dough onto the prepared baking sheets and spread out into flat ovals. Using a pizza cutter, make two cuts down the middle of the ovals, stopping 2cm from each end. Then make 12 diagonal cuts in the dough, forming a leaf design, and stretch the dough out to emphasise the holes.
Place the sheets in plastic bags and leave to prove for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7.
Spray a little olive oil on the top of the loaves using a water spray bottle, or just drizzle over the oil. Sprinkle the dried oregano on top and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the fougasse sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from the oven and, while still hot, brush with olive oil then sprinkle with crushed sea salt.