The Search for Forgoza
August 8, 2007 9:29 PM   Subscribe

Is my favorite food unique to one store, or is it made elsewhere under different names?

An unavoidable stop during visits to my hometown of Kendall, FL is Norman Bros. Produce, to buy a half-dozen pans of "Forgoza Bread".

Here is a copycat recipe - it's essentially a pie pan filled with dough roughly mixed up with garlic, herbs, and onions. It's very soft and chewy throughout (slightly focaccia-ish top crust) and you just eat it out of the pan, by the fingerful. The very thought of it is driving me mad with lust right now.

I haven't found anything like it anywhere else, in 5 different cities I've lived in across the US. Google searches for "forgoza" all link to the same recipe, and I don't even know where to start looking for alternate names it might have elsewhere, or similar types of bread. I've tried following that recipe, but it's less than perfect - it doesn't seem to "congeal" into a lumpy mass that you can pull apart, and if I cook it long enough that the inside isn't raw, the top gets too dry. It's supposed to be moist and moderately oily. Seems beyond my meager baking skills, but I'm probably making the dough wrong.

They won't ship me a crate of it, the bastards. Maybe I can convince a family member to do so, but I'd rather find a local "pusher".

So before I give up hope and settle for the health-friendly option of only having it once every couple of years, I'll ask you guys: Does this stuff go by a different name elsewhere, or is this a unique gem?

(note: In lieu of further etymological research, I would also gratefully accept dough-making tips so that I can perfect the recipe on my own, thereby relieving my urges through, uh, masterbaking)
posted by jake to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Omg Forgoza bread. Wow, I love that stuff. One of the main things I miss about Miami. I haven't found anything like it, anywhere. Not by that name, not by any other.

HOWEVER, Wegmans has something similar. I forget what they call it but next time I go, I'll remember the name and let you know.
posted by necessitas at 9:41 PM on August 8, 2007

Would it happen to be Fougasse bread? It's similar to a focaccia, but can be made to be 'softer' with the addition of a shredded potato. How long are you letting your bread rest before baking it? I know that some bakers swear by letting it sit overnight in the fridge.

You might want to check out this book. Good luck.
posted by dancinglamb at 10:01 PM on August 8, 2007

Not answering your question; but from the description it sounds like the bread that you are lusting after was, perhaps, based on Iranian or Thai bread.

I'd check out any Iranian groceries/restaurants for the bread or Thai/Malay places. You might be able to find an alternative/predecesor. The green onion trends that towards Thai/Malay although the parmesean cheese belies an Asian heritage.

A google search for 'forgoza -bread' suggests a Mexican/Spanish source, though. Maybe add Portugeause and Spanish places to your local search.
posted by porpoise at 10:04 PM on August 8, 2007

From the recipe, "2 lb White bread dough" could describe a lot of different doughs.

There is variation in the water to flour ratio; amount and type of oil in the dough, if any; type of white flour ("bread flour" and all-purpose are common – brands are different, too); kneading and rising techniques, etc.

I know that some bakers swear by letting it sit overnight in the fridge.

Yes, I do this whenever possible. The goal is not excess fermentation time,* but to allow some enzymatic action to occur while the yeast 'chills out'. Ideally, you make the dough with cold water and put it in the fridge as soon as you are done mixing/kneading. The downside is that you have to schedule in some extra time the next day for the bread to warm up and rise normally.

* Excess yeast action will produce too much alcohol and make the bread bitter.
posted by D.C. at 10:54 PM on August 8, 2007

I see you're in Bayonne; Amy's Breads in Manhattan (Hell's Kitchen/Chelsea/Village) carries a black-olive fougasse, and they sell their own bread cookbook too.
posted by rob511 at 10:56 PM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: This is one of those AskMe threads where there can be no wrong answer - this can only end in deliciousness.

That said, I don't think it's a fougasse, though that might have been part of the influence. It's much softer and greasier. I would imagine Iranian influences would be plausible too. It's much less a "bread" than just a foil pan full of chewy dough, and the spices and onions/garlic are chopped roughly into and around the dough as opposed to being either stuffed inside it or homogenized thoroughly.

Yep, uncle Alton Brown has extolled the virtues of proofing overnight, and I'll definitely try that next time. I'm wondering what makes it so darn chewy and soft and mmmmm, though.
posted by jake at 11:37 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Get yourself a bread machine! Then you can make the dough according to the manufacturer's instructions on the dough cycle. When you've got the dough, you can definitely take the recipe from there!
posted by hazyjane at 12:28 AM on August 9, 2007

Tapioca flour mixed in can make bread very chewy and soft. If it is latin american in origin this is a possibility.
posted by Eringatang at 7:41 AM on August 9, 2007

Try calling the place to ask the origin of the stuff!
posted by loiseau at 10:06 PM on August 9, 2007

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