Fall is in the air and beautiful blue-violet grapes are in the market and I could not resist the cartons of gorgeous, sweet scented concord grapes. What better to do with them than to bake a grape focaccia.
The only other focaccia I’ve baked so far is Bill W’s wonderful sourdough raisin focaccia which I highly recommend. I wanted to do a sourdough version of this one but being a bit inexperienced in this area I was unsure of how the sugar and oil may impact the sourdough so for this first grape focaccia I decided to use a small amount of starter and treat it more as an added ingredient for extra flavor. (Me too chicken…?) I also wanted to use some spelt flour and turbinado sugar so here is the recipe.
Concord Grape Focaccia
255g Concord grapes, seeded
76g liquid levain
300g bread flour
150g spelt flour
8g instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon sanding sugar
Add sourdough starter to the water and dissolve. In a mixing bowl, add the flour, instant yeast, honey, salt, and water (with starter mixed in). Mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes. Place in container and let rise until double.
Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and press into a round a little bigger than the oven form you will be using for baking. I used a 9” x 2" round cake pan. Pour 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and swirl around to cover the sides. Dump any excess oil onto the top of the dough in the center and spread to cover. Pick up the dough quickly and place it over the baking pan allowing some of the dough to overflow the sides. You will use this to flap over the grapes inside.
Place roughly 2/3 of the grapes into the form and press slightly into the dough. Gather the edges of dough hanging over the pan and bring them together over the top of the grapes and slightly pinch together pressing down on the dough in the pan to make sure it is against all the sides.
Add the remaining grapes over the top slightly pressing them into the dough. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over the top. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar followed by 1 tablespoon of sanding sugar over the top of that.
Preheat the oven to 400°F while the dough begins to rise again – about a half hour. The dough had reached the top of the cake pan.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and take focaccia out of pan to cool on rack. Cut into wedges and serve.
This was as if I’d filled it with grape jelly and it smelled amazing. The dough was very soft and I suppose that was due to the sourdough starter I added. I’m not sure if the spelt had anything to do with that as I’ve only baked with spelt a few times adding it to other sourdough loaves. It was really gooey and delicious.
I am going to make this again later in the week but try and press the dough out flatter and bake on a stone so the bottom gets nice and browned as well. I also think I’ll add more spelt and reduce the bread flour just to see how that tastes. This was almost like a cake bread, very spongy and soft and moist. Not too sweet either even with the sugars sprinkled on top. I think for the size and shape I baked the amount of grapes was perfect although I think if I flatten it into a larger shape I will increase the amount of grapes used just to make sure it covers the dough adequately. Ugh, they’re so much fun to seed…not. But it is well worth the effort.
This was really fun and I don’t know how I can improve on the flavor of it but we’ll see. I think it will be a fun recipe to experiment with. I’ll post more results here as I tweak and see what works best because the concord grapes won’t be here forever.