The Fresh Loaf

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Concord Grape Focaccia

zolablue's picture

Concord Grape Focaccia


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

310g water

76g liquid levain

300g bread flour
150g spelt flour
8g instant yeast
4g salt

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.



Floydm's picture

That is beautiful.

I just planted some concords this spring, but it is going to be a year or two before I get enough to do something like that. I can't wait!

bwraith's picture


This is a great idea. I'm sure it's delicious. Great photos and write-up. I've done a pear version, too, for what it's worth. These fruit or raisin "breakfast" focaccias are wonderful breads. Thanks to Peter Reinhart for his comments about raisin focaccia in the BBA. It's still a major favorite. My wife absolutely loves the sourdough raisin focaccia.

If you decide you want some sourdough flavor in this type of focaccia, which I think compliments the sweet and sour flavors from the fruit, I suggest you do it with a hybrid yeast/sourdough approach. What I have done recently is include a levain that contributes fermented flour approximately 20-25% or so of the total flour in the dough and decrease the yeast by a factor of roughly between 5 and 10. Then just let the dough rise a little longer  - like 3-4 hours of bulk fermentation, and a couple of hours of proof with a light punchdown, to allow the sourdough flavors to develop.

I bet the cake-like texture is probably more to do with the spelt. I've had similar results from AP flour in the sourdough raisin focaccia. Maybe some HG flour with the spelt would work if you want a more light breadish crumb.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

ZB you never cease to amaze me. 

...And along the lines of BP & J, I'd be tempted to add some fine grated peanuts into it too!  Or line the pan with chopped raw peanuts.  And what if I make some muffin size and pass them out for Halloween?  or make a peanut drizzle for the top?  or add clumps of cream cheese inside nestled in with the grapes?  Do you think adding vanilla in the dough to be too strong or conflicting?

Mini O

zolablue's picture

Purple teeth!  And purple tongue, I might add but this stuff is seriously good.  There is only one piece left (belongs to hubby tonight…dang it) as I just ate my last one.  We gave half of it to a neighbor last night who told me concord grapes are her favorite so I let it be known I am going to be experimenting and baking this several more times this week.


Floyd, I have got to plant some of these.  I suppose I’m too late this year now and I need to research what is involved.  I just realized one of our neighbors had a ton of these growing on their property but when they moved here a few years ago they ripped them all out.  Bummer!


Mini, you are cracking me up!  My husband said something about peanut butter with this too and I mentioned the possibility of either grinding my own peanuts to make some homemade or getting some fresh peanut butter from Whole Foods and making some kind of sweet peanut butter sauce to drizzle over the top. I was actually thinking goat cheese, too. You have some very good ideas there.  And I was thinking the same thing about how moist this dough is with the spelt (thanks, Bill) and how well it would work in smaller individual focaccias.  About the vanilla, I don't think you would need it and, trust me, the grapes are very intense, sweet and tart at the same time.


Bill, please feel free to help me with the recipe.  I tossed this together quickly because I wanted something that I could make yesterday.  But I would appreciate any suggestions for a sourdough version.  I’m probably too late for today unless I make it the same way but I’d love to have some to take to a friend tomorrow early afternoon.  I would have to bake it in the morning if I did a longer-rising recipe and only having done the sourdough raisin focaccia once I’m not sure how that translates to this.  I think I remember it taking a while for that dough to rise.  It sure was good stuff!  I'll make that often for my husband because he loved it!

bwraith's picture

I used your recipe above and then modified for a  suggested SD version.


  • 50g Spelt
  • 34g Whole Rye
  • 25g firm starter
  • 90g water

Let rise by double plus another hour or two, maybe 6-7 hours?


  • 250g Bread Flour
  • 100g High Gluten Flour
  • 50g Spelt
  • 325g water
  • 25g olive oil
  • 1g instant yeast
  • 10g salt
  • optional 5-15g of malt syrup or other sweetener
  • grapes

Bulk ferment about 3 hours, fold a few times. When folding you may need to deflate it somewhat when you stretch it out, if it is rising too quickly.

Put in pan and let it proof about another 2-2.5 hours, maybe punching it down a little once or twice during the proof by poking it all over gently with your fingers to eliminate giant bubbles and keep it about 1 inch thick.  I usually add some more olive oil when I put it in the pan and work it in as I spread the dough out in the pan. Depends on your preferences, of course.

I'm sure you can modify it to fit your preferences or feel free to ignore it, if this isn't your cup of tea. It at least is an approach that I would expect to work, as it is nearly identical to things I've done, except the amount is smaller. I think I usually have closer to 700g of total flour, whereas this is 500g, to fit in my typical 1/2 size pan.


zolablue's picture

Well, thanks, Bill.  I appreciate it.  I do have a question.  I didn't add oil into the actual dough of my recipe as I thought that was an inhibitor to sourdough and since I was trying to do a quicker version I thought not to.  Was that correct?  Or is it the sugar that inhibits sourdough rising?  Should the flavor be improved by putting the olive oil into the dough though?  I couldn't tell the difference but that could be just me.


I like the idea of a little more volume in the recipe so I can make two focaccias. Except that it means seeding more grapes and that does take some time.  If this is about the size of your sourdough raisin I know what that is and it worked well but for the two of us it was a lot and hubby wouldn't let me give any away because he is so nuts about raisins.  He would eat it and ooh and ah!  But next time I would insist as there is just too much for two people.  And for some reason I just visualize grape as round focacce but that's my quirk.  It would work well either way.


I really wanted to do a version where I add more spelt and probably not rye.   Can i just adjust that by any ratio I wish?  I know there are some issues with using a large amount of spelt, right?  I just loved the flavor of it though and it seemed to work so well with the grapes. 


Btw, I think I'm also going to try a version with red seedless grapes just to compare colors and flavors.  Oh, and I wonder if green grapes and gorgonzola cheese would be interesting.  It would be nice to get to make one without standing over a cutting board removing seeds!  Still, their is something romantic to me about concord grapes. 

bwraith's picture

ZB, I made the total flour 500g, which is close to the recipe you posted above, so it ought to fit similarly in whatever pan you were using. Sorry, I realize I messed up the sentence below about the amount. I mean that 700g is the size that fits in a 1/2 size pan. The 500g total, which is what I did in the SD version posted below, is very close to your recipe posted here.

I did reduce the spelt just a little, and I matched it with HG flour to offset the cakey aspect a little. I like using it in levains. It seems to have a nice flavor in a starter for some reason. So, I did put some of it in the starter along with a little rye. However, you can just omit the rye and replace it with spelt. That would give you almost the same total amount of spelt in the recipe as before. I just put some of the spelt in the levain.

Green grapes and gorgonzola sounds like another great idea.

I believe olive oil does inhibit the sourdough. You could omit it entirely. I usually put a small percentage in so it mixes with the dough, since it's harder to work it in later. It seems like only 5%, as here, still works well, when I've done it this way. You're right that if you put much more in, the sourdough seems to come to a crashing halt.


Paddyscake's picture

looks absolutely awesome!! We also just planted concord grapes this year..patience is a virtue!! Besides purple teeth and tongue, are you walking around with purple fingers too? How do you seed the grapes? it must be tedious, but to have those results..I'm up for it!

susanfnp's picture

In case we had any doubts about your dedication and patience, ZolaBlue, you have dispelled every last one with the seeding of all those grapes. Yikes! The focaccia is gorgeous and I know it tasted amazing. I would use seedless grapes; I just don't have it in me to go after all those tiny seeds. I'm just in awe that you did.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and a good point do it nicely. Had 300g halved and seedless before the ads came on and it isn't as messy as I thought it would be. I just goosed my grape, cut em in half and then cut the other half and with point cut the connecting thread to the seed. Easy. I only needed 255g! One SD Focaccia cuming up!

Mini O

JMonkey's picture

I've got to make this. Soon.

When I do, though, I'll try to take Bill Wraith's sourdough spin and inject it with the wholesome goodness of whole wheat .... :-)

Though it looks plenty good as is. What a bread, ZolaBlue!

KipperCat's picture

This looks so good! I can just imagine it for breakfast or afternoon tea/coffee.  It's definitely on my list to try. So many breads, so little time....

zolablue's picture

It is a tedious job and but also kind of relaxing and now it will be better knowing what comes from it.  I have read there is a seedless concord grape but it is a sport so that means it may have some inconsistencies with the parent and I don't think I'd plant that one over the one with seeds.  Plus I haven't seen those in the markets.


I had read one way to seed is to freeze the grapes and then they are easier to cut and pop out the seeds.  But I wondered what freezing would do to the flavor but probably nothing since eating frozen grapes is delicious.  I also read that they are easy to seed by just slipping your knife point into the stem end and popping the seed out.  That that didn't really work so well for me.  I mean, it did work however they tend to want to split away from their skin so I found it easier and quicker to just cut the grape in half and carefully loosen the seed with the point of your knife and help it out with the tips of your fingers.  Then you take a piece of dental floss, tie it around the belly of the seed, and tie that to a doork knob and...ok, no, I'm kidding now.  It really wasn't that bad.  Just takes a little time.  :o)


I am going to try the sourdough version but I'm adding more spelt.  I loved the texture that gave and how the bread was so tender and almost cake like.  Yep, for sure a great snack with afternoon tea.


Thanks guys, and please let me know and post pictures if you make it.  JMonkey, I'd love to know how you do the WW version. 


Oh, Bill, I almost forget to tell you I received my spelt and WW from Heartland Mill so I'm going to be anxious to see how the flavor compares to what I've used before.  Hope I can tell a difference since they mill fresh daily.

Paddyscake's picture

I made this wonderful focaccia today, incredible flavor. I wish zolablue was still around so I could thank her for this great version of focaccia. Seeding the grapes is the pits..hahaha, really tedious. This was truly a labor of love for my husband. I don't know how zolablue kept the skins on. They just seemed to pop right out of the skins so I didn't get that lovely purple color, but boy the flavor is incredible.

hansent's picture

I just tried this out of Christina's Tuscan Table.  I didn't have wine or concord grapes so I used halved seedless red flame grapes on Christina's recipe for ciabatta.  I sprinkled it with fresh rosemary and sugar and drizzeled with olive oil. Oh my goodness, I ate half a flatbread and then thought I should eat some cheese.  THere goes my diet! This was utter sin! I guess this gets made rather regularly during the wine harvest in Tuscany, but I am here to witness, you can make it anytime and get completely lost in it.  I only wish I had made more loaves...Can I find a way to hide it from the rest of the family....



turosdolci's picture

This looks just amazing. I love the sent of wild concord grapes. We use to have them growing in our back yard. Wish I had this recipe then.  



CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)

Looks great! 

Well done.