The last few days here in Ithaca have been cold, dark and wet. That weather, to me, screams a day of baking. I hadn’t made bread in a while and decided that a nice crusty, olive oily focaccia would do the trick but I also wanted to do something different than just “a plain old focaccia.” I suddenly remembered a salad that I made last year at the Hazelnut Kitchen for one of the first courses of a chef’s tasting menu. It was a salad of grapes roasted with rosemary dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, arugula, candied nuts and blue cheese. It was soooo good and just a perfectly fall inspired dish.
For this focaccia, I sprinkled some sweet, tart and juicy concord grapes on the dough before baking along with fresh rosemary, a little brown sugar and some coarse sea salt. It was the perfect sweet and salty snack, and it makes such a gorgeous loaf of bread! Hope you give this one a try!
Rosemary Roasted Grape Focaccia
- 20 ounces all purpose or bread flour
- 12 ounces water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup halved and seeded Concord grapes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
In a mixing bowl, add twelve ounces warm water and sprinkle over the yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for ten minutes, it should be nice and foamy. Add the flour and salt on top of the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on a stand mixer for ten minutes. The dough should be smooth and pulled away from the bowl completely. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly oil the bowl. Add the dough back to the bowl and let rise, lightly covered, in a warm place until doubled in size, about two hours.
After two hours, punch down the dough to release all of the trapped gas bubbles. Reshape in to a smooth ball and place back into the bowl for another twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes, add the olive oil to a cast iron skillet. Once again, punch down the dough and reshape into a smooth ball. Place into the cast iron skillet, lightly covered, and allow to proof one more hour.
After one hour, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Using your fingertips, stipple the dough all over the top allowing some of the olive oil to flow over and cover the surface. Once it is thoroughly stippled, sprinkle with the grapes, rosemary, salt and brown sugar evenly.
Bake for exactly 23 minutes and don’t worry if the grapes look like they are burning, it’s just their skin and they will still taste magical.
Once the loaf has cooled ever so slightly remove it from the cast iron so that it is not sitting in a pool of oil and finish cooling on a rack.