While I’m not a huge fan of grapes, for some reason, I am drawn to the idea of a grape foccacia ever since I read about it. This foccacia is made during the grape harvest season in Tuscany where wine grapes are used. A good alternative for these grapes are concord grapes.
Though I was no way I’m going to get these wine grapes nor concord grapes, I did not give up on this Schiacciata endeavor. I was intrigued by the sweet and savoury components of this foccacia and blistered grapes are my kind of thing.
I proceeded on adapting my current favourite foccacia recipe from Paul Hollywood for this purpose. This foccacia recipe is simple amazing. It produces a very good, flavourful flatbread every single time. The texture is loose with irregular airholes throughout – just the way a good foccacia should be (according to the bread master, Paul Hollywood, himself).
For my first attempt, I used red seedless grapes. It was good but I found that it needs to be in the oven a much longer time because the grapes gave off too much juice.
The second time round, I used black seedless grapes which worked like magic. They had firmer skins which held on to its shape better after baking. The grape and rosemary foccacia is extremely good.
For days where you cannot decide whether to have a sweet or savoury breakfast, this is just the thing for you. And for the people who don’t have sweet tooth, may just be happy with a slice of this grape and rosemary foccacia.
Since I have a sweet tooth, I like having my schiacciata con l’uva dusted with a thin layer of icing sugar. Dusting of icing sugar always make me feel like it’s a snowy Christmas day.
I discovered a great way of eating this foccacia. While it already taste mightily delicious on its own, I found that spreading a layer of almond spread on top of the grapes makes it extra special. Call it unorthodox if you wish but that won’t get in the way of my schiacciata and almond spread. It’s kind of like a wholesome version of the PB and J – jammy sweet blistered grapes, almond spread on a bread. Try it and you might be convinced like I did.
I’ve used Paul Hollywood’s foccacia recipe for my grape and rosemary foccacia. I find that you need to bake the foccacia longer when placing grapes on top of the bread as it gives off liquid. The grape and rosemary foccacia is extremely delicious and it is a bridge between the sweet and savoury.
500g bread flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp active dried yeast dried easy blend yeast
6 tbsp olive oil
340 ml tap water (use all the water. Paul Hollywood uses 400ml of water but I find that it makes the dough too, too wet for me to handle)
extra olive oil for kneading and drizzling
a box of black grapes or best if you have access to concord grapes
1-2 tbsp granulated sugar
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
sea salt, to taste (optional)
icing sugar (optional)
1. Place the flour into a mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add in the 6 tbsp of olive oil and half the amount of the water into the same mixing bowl. Using a dough hook, combine the ingredients at low speed before adding the remaining amount of water. You should use all the water and not hold back. The dough is wet and sloppy and that is how it should be. Allow the machine to do its work for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand for about 15 minutes.
2. Tip the dough onto an oiled (olive oil) work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Do not use more flour. You can add a little more olive oil and knead it into the dough for another 5 minutes. The dough may initially look sticky and wet but as you knead in the olive oil, it should be smooth, soft, shiny. Knead in as much olive oil into the dough as you can. This will make the dough more flavourful. Though you won’t want the dough to be swimming in a puddle of oil.
3. Transfer the rounded foccacia dough into a oiled bowl/deep dish. Oil the cling wrap before covering the bowl/dish. Place the bowl in a dark, warm place and allow it to rise for about 1.5 to 2hr or until double in size.
4. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Tip the dough out of the bowl gently with a dough scrapper. You don’t want to knock out too much air in the dough. Stretch the dough out onto the lined baking tray, pushing the dough to all four corners of the tray. Leave to prove for another 1 hour -1.5hr, until double in size or until the dough springs back quickly when you test it with your finger.
5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius. Spritz oven with water to create steam. This helps to form a nice crusty crust.
6. Using your fingertips, dimple (make shallow indentations) the surface of the focaccia all over. Then arrange the black grapes in neat rows over the foccacia. Drizzle the foccicia with a little olive oil, sprinkle the 1-2 tbsp of granulated sugar, sea salt, fresh rosemary. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. The foccacia should be golden brown in colour. Tap the base of the focaccia and you should hear a hollow sound. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, then allow it to cool on a wire rack.
7. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Tips for grape and rosemary foccacia:
1. The dough is a wet and sloppy one, more so than the usual bread dough. The wet sloppy nature of it gives the foccacia bread the irregular “air holes” in the loaf.
2. Don’t use more flour to knead. Use olive oil instead. It prevents sticking and it gives the bread a better flavour.
3. It is preferable to use black grapes for this recipe. The original Tuscan recipe for schiacciata calls for concord grapes. But black grapes are a good alternative as black grapes have firmer skins and does not give out too much liquid when baked. Of course, if you have access to concord grapes, you should use that instead. It also works with red grapes (I’ve tried it once with red grapes but it will give off more juices.)
4. If baking a simple rosemary foccacia, the baking time is shorter. (approximately 20-25 minutes instead of 30-35 minutes for the grape foccacia.)