If you own a wood burning oven, you better be adept at starting a fire and keeping it stoked. It can take up to 2 hours for the oven to reach just the right temperature for baking and the fire requires your constant attention. Unfortunately, this is not in my skill set. I rely on my husband to get the job done. Given his work schedule, he often doesn't have the time, so we don't fire up the oven as often as I'd like. But recently when a co-worker announced that she had 17 lbs. of Concord grapes from a local vineyard and asked if anyone would like some, I quickly answered, yes please! We were definitely going to fire up that oven and bake some grape focaccia.
This was not my first attempt. I tried it last year when Concord grapes were in season and it was one of the most delicious breads I've ever tasted! Sweet, salty, fruity, with hints of rosemary, wow! I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to make it again. One word of advise, use seedless grapes. You don't want to spend your time picking out those tiny seeds. Now you don't need a wood burning oven to make focaccia. You can also achieve excellent results in a conventional one. I've included instructions for both in the recipe below.
Grape Focaccia with Rosemary
makes one 13 x 18 inch Focaccia
I use Jim Lahey's recipe for the dough, which I have adapted slightly. You can see the step by step process here.
- 1 cup peeled Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 4-1/2 cups (600 grams) all purpose or bread flour ( I use all purpose)
- 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the potatoes and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until the potatoes are very soft. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the potatoes in their cooking water until completely smooth. Using your yeast thermometer as a guide, cool the mixture to 120F. It will feel very warm. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and half the salt. Add the potato puree and using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover tightly with saran wrap and place overnight in the refrigerator. Next day remove dough. Lightly oil a 13 x 18 baking pan. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto the baking pan. It will be very sticky. Gently pull the dough and stretch it across the surface of the pan, then oil your hands and press the dough evenly out to the edges. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Use your fingertips to create dimples all over the surface. Let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has risen to the edges of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- 1 cup seedless Concord grapes, sliced in half
- 3/4 t. kosher salt
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
After the second rising and before it's ready to bake, scatter the grapes evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
Bake in a 500F wood burning oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning halfway for even baking. Then place on a hot griddle or grill for a minute or so with the lid open to brown the bottom.
Or bake for 30-45 minutes in a preheated 400F. conventional oven until the top is golden brown. Cool on a rack in the pan.
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