I’ve been experimenting this week with fougasse for Valentine’s day in hopes of sharing some loaves with supporters this week. It’s a beautiful bread. A mix of sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts in the dough, and a very slow rise in my frigid mid-western kitchen created a bread that was just barely pink and tasted heavenly with a soft cheese and champagne. It’s a perfect Valentine’s treat. Sadly, it just doesn’t seem to do well after it leaves the kitchen, and I gave up on the idea of a fougasse bake sale this year. Fougasse is meant to be eaten fresh from the oven.Stretched thin to make the Valentine’s heart shape, this bread is almost all crust. It’s cracker like where the dough is most thin, but dense and chewy inside the thicker parts. Right out of the oven it is unbeatable, but it doesn’t travel well. The same crust to crumb ratio that makes it so delicious also makes it short lived. Fougasse is, after all, a hearth bread. Once made to test the heat of the hearth (an experienced baker would know how hot the fire was by how quickly the thin loaf baked), it’s still best when eaten close to the hearth where it was baked. In honor of that heritage, it’s traditionally shaped to resemble a flame. But since the hearth has always been regarded as the heart of the home, I think the less traditional heart shape makes sense too. And I guess it also makes sense that my favorite Valentine’s bread is meant to be eaten at home. It’s truly a bread of the heart, meant be shared close to home with people we love, and if we are lucky (and I am) that is often where our biggest supporters can be found anyway.