Sourdough focaccia with grapes, fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt found its way to our kitchen last week. Loosely adapted from the classic Italian grape bread or schiacciata con l’uva, this sourdough focaccia with grapes and rosemary takes an even more rustic approach – omitting enrichment by egg and sugar in favor of only the most basic of ingredients: levain or sourdough starter, whole grain flour, grapes, rosemary, coarse and chunky unrefined sea salt – all doused by a heavy application of full-bodied and fruity unrefined extra virgin olive oil.
In our version of schiacciata con l’uva, we top sourdough focaccia with grapes, rosemary, coarse sea salt and unrefined extra virgin olive oil. A heavy sprinkling of coarsely ground black pepper doesn’t hurt either, I might add. Concord grapes, though an American varietal, prove a near-perfect choice for this classic bread which typically uses grape wines. The Concord grape, peppery and almost foxy in its finish, is a magical and transformational fruit.
Intensely grapey in flavor with its thick and deep-hued purple skin and a pale green interior, the Concord grape outshines the characterless red and green table grapes you typically find in the produce section of your supermarket. It’s a small, round grape that rolls along your tongue, and, like any overbearing mother, the Concord grape is not one to yield her seeds easily; she fiercely grips them and it takes some effort to first pierce the grape’s skin and then wield the seeds from her tart, green flesh.
sourdough focaccia with grapes and rosemary
for the sourdough focaccia
preparing the dough
- Stir proofed starter, warm water, olive oil, whole grain flour and sea salt together until well combined.
- Pour the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook and mix the ingredients together at a low speed; alternatively, flour your counter and knead the ingredients together until a smooth, pliable ball of dough forms.
- Grease a mixing bowl with a bit of olive oil; place the dough in the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel.
- Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for about four hours.
- Punch it down, and allow it to rise again, until doubled in bulk.
- After it has doubled in bulk, roll the dough into a rectangle about ¾-inch thick. It is now ready for the grapes, rosemary and other toppings.
finishing and baking the sourdough focaccia
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once you’ve rolled out the sourdough, indent its surface with the pads of your fingers or prick its surface with the tines of a fork.
- Toss whole grapes onto the dough’s surface, then sprinkle the dough with coarse sea salt, rosemary needles and coarsely ground black pepper.
- Bake the focaccia on a baking stone in an oven preheated to 475 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty to thirty minutes, or until the bread is browned and crusty.
- Allow the focaccia to cool to room temperature and serve it with additional olive oil.