Posted in Home Baking

In Which There is a Beautiful, Grape-studded Slab of Fresh-baked Bread…

Ready to go into the oven...
Ready to go into the oven…

I’ve been ill this past week and busy for quite a while before that, so I have sadly neglected this blog and you, my dear readers.  But never fear, I’m back with quite a bit of baking you’ll want to consider now that red grapes – specifically seedless red grapes – are rather plentiful in the fresh produce section of most local supermarkets.

I was watching Aussie Masterchef Adam Liaw‘s Destination Flavour: Down Under a couple of weeks ago and was positively gobsmacked by his spin on a traditional Italian bread called schiacciata all’uva – or flatbread studded with fresh grapes.  It was a very simple thing with the bread made with a mere four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast.  Fresh grapes were pressed into the dough after the first rising, rosemary sprigs as well; a goodly amount of olive oil was drizzled over before baking.

The end result was a loaf of bread that was golden-crusted on the outside, airily fluffy within.  The grapes added wee pops of sweetness that were a pleasant contrast to the touch of salt and the freshness of the rosemary.

It’s also a doddle to make: you toss everything into the bowl, stir them up into a shaggy mess, knead, allow to rise, press into the tin, top, prove, bake, and you’re done!

Focaccia with grapes is a treat
Focaccia with grapes is a treat

This grape and rosemary focaccia is adapted from Adam Liaw’s recipe.  Don’t balk at the fact that it uses more flour than the previous focaccia / schiacciata recipes I’ve featured on this blog; the resulting bread is actually a lot lighter and fluffier with just the barest hint of salt for savour and the sweetness of the grapes for balance.  It’s just the thing to serve as an appetiser for Italian-inspired meals or as something to go with drinks and cheese for an evening with friends.

Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

  • 600 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons rock salt or sea salt, divided
  • 400mL hand-hot water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin or pure olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 sachet instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, divided

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and a teaspoon each of salt and rosemary.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and oil.  Mix until you achieve a shaggy mess.  Knead for about five to ten minutes, just until the dough is satiny.

Grease a second bowl with some olive oil and roll the dough ball in it.  Cover and allow to rise for an hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees/Gas Mark 6.  Grease a rectangular roasting tin or a lipped cookie sheet.  Uncover the dough and punch it down.  Press the dough into the prepared tin and dimple it over with your fingertips.  Press in the grapes and scatter over the remaining rosemary.  Evenly drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle the remaining salt over the surface.  Cover again and leave to prove for 30 – 45 minutes.

Bake the bread for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately with balsamic vinegar or cheese on the side.

Makes 1 loaf.

 

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Author:

Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended earlier this year. These days, she works for a corporate governance advocacy in Makati. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel.

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