Do you ever base a dinner around a homemade loaf of bread? I certainly do. I love an easy dinner of fresh bread, salad, some good cheese and cured meat. A dinner like this calls for something more than just your basic bread though. I enjoy focaccia for this purpose because it only rises once (quicker to the table!) and the flat surface is ideal for placing that cheese and meat on.
While instant yeast doesn’t need warm water to activate, I use warm water in this recipe because it greatly speeds up the proof time.
Within 45 minutes it was doubled in size and ready to go. Heating up the water in your bread recipes until just warm to the touch is also a great tip when baking during the winter months, when the kitchen is cold and everything takes FOREVER to rise.
This is a fun bread to make with kids, because it requires lots of finger poking on the top of the dough. The grapes also need to be firmly pressed down in the dough or they will just fall off once baked. I drizzled the top with olive oil and let my daughter smear it all around the surface with her fingers too. Works just as well as a pastry brush.
Once the bread comes out of the oven, you want to make sure you only let it cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack. Otherwise the bottom will start to steam with residual heat as it cools. Not a pleasant focaccia texture.
You can use white or whole wheat flour interchangeably in this recipe. If you mill your flour at home, you will want to use a hard wheat. I used a mixture of hard white wheat and Kamut when recipe testing (half and half).
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. We always enjoy hearing from our readers. Happy baking!
Grape and Rosemary Focaccia
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 45-55 minutes
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
23 ounces flour (white or whole wheat), approximately 5 cups
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
olive oil for greasing pan and brushing on top
Attach the stainless steel bowl, roller and scraper to the Ankarsrum mixer base. Add the water, olive oil, yeast, rosemary and half the flour. Mix on medium speed (3 o’clock) until combined. Add in the remaining flour and salt and turn speed up to somewhere between 4 and 5 o’clock. Once flour is fully incorporated, set the timer for 8 minutes, lock the arm about an inch away from the bowl and let the dough knead.
When dough is finished kneading, cover bowl and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Grease a half sheet pan with olive oil. Turn out risen dough onto pan and begin to stretch and pull it with your fingers until it fits the pan. Repeatedly press your fingertips all over the surface until it has a dimpled look. Top with grapes and firmly press them down into the dough. Brush the entire top liberally with olive oil.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Yield: 1 loaf focaccia