Monday, September 17, 2012

grape foccacia with rosemary.

I am a girl who has no formal culinary training; I learned to cook while watching my mom, (who also has no culinary training but is the single best cook I know) by relying on my palate, and by wanting to always challenge myself and learn new things.  I have had many kitchen mishaps (causing the smoke alarm to go off is an almost daily occurrence) but when I fail I try it again until I get it right which leads me to discussing this bread.  I have made many breads in my day but this is in a league of its own.  It is a sticky and difficult dough to work with (if your hands aren’t well oiled or floured lets just say you end up looking like a dough monster), it involves multiple rises and lots of olive oil and pitting a lot on concord grapes (which are terribly annoying to pit) but the end result is nothing short of amazing.  The sweet tangy grapes pair perfectly with the flecks of sea salt and coarse sugar and the earthiness of the rosemary balances out the whole thing.  I devoured half the bread in about 10 minutes but managed to save some for the next morning where I promptly consumed it as side to scrambled eggs with goat cheese.

Grape Foccacia with Rosemary
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

You can use regular grapes for this but the concord ones have the most amazing taste and despite all the work involved really elevate this dish.  I plan on using my remaining grapes to make a goat cheese and grape flat bread. The concord grapes can be found at the farmers market!  This is also suppose to make 2 foccacia’s but I always have the worst time trying to divide it so I make one large one which works just as well!

¾ cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons milk, slightly warmed
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups Concord, red or black grapes, seeded
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles
2 tablespoons raw or coarse sugar
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

In a bowl of an electric mixed fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.  Add the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well on low.  Attach the dough hook, raise the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer. 

Brush a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil.  Scrape the dough into the bowl and brush the top with additional oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours. 

Brush a large baking sheet with olive oil.  Press the dough down with a floured hand (very floured!)  and pour the dough out of the bowl and onto the baking sheet (I find using an oiled spatula helps get it out of the bowl).  Brush the top of the dough with a little more oil.  Set aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with oiled plastic wrap.  After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch the dough into an oblong shape (about 16 inches long).  It will be dimpled from your fingers.  Cover again with the plastic and let it rise for another 1 ¼ hours in a cool place.

Preheat the over to 450 degrees.  Brush the tops of the dough with a little more olive oil and top with the grapes, rosemary, coarse sugar, and coarse sea salt evenly over the dough.  Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and puffed around the edges.  Let cool before serving. 

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