Thursday, September 27, 2012

Multigrain Focaccia with Grapes and Rosemary


Have you ever had roasted grapes?  They're a revelation to me.  They give this bread wonderful jammy and fruity spots after they bake up and get soft.  And they're not like grape jelly, which I don't care for.  The next time you roast vegetables with olive oil, throw some grapes into the bunch.  This focaccia is great too, and although it's time-consuming it is easy.  Most of the time is inactive, so you can fold laundry or watch TV, but do plan ahead and start that pre-ferment about 12 hours before you plan the rest of the process.

Focaccia 2

In King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, the intro to the recipe says: "This version, which is more than half whole wheat flour, may not reach the same heights as the fluffiest focaccia, but its creamy, chewy texture and fragrant flavor make it one of our favorites."  I love it.  It's not a proper focaccia, but it's crusty outside and soft and chewy inside.  The whole wheat gives it hearty flavor, and I used white whole wheat flour, which is just as nutritious as regular whole wheat flour but has a softer texture.  It's a more virtuous focaccia, and I prefer this to traditional focaccia.

Foccacia Collage
The focaccia right before going into the oven.  Top-right down: the pre-ferment is ready to use; the sticky dough; and the dough after a couple rises and folded into a packet.
The other reason it's more virtuous?  Very little oil.  Have you ever used the nutrition calculator at Panera and seen what a difference in fat it makes to swap in another bread for your sandwich?  Or maybe you've made focaccia before, and seen the dough sit in about two-thirds of a cup of oil and suck it up like a sponge?  Joe made Peter Reinhart's recipe years ago, but after seeing how much oil went into it we never made it again.  This recipe has no oil in the dough, and calls for oiling the sheet pan generously, whatever that means.  The first time I used about a quarter-cup, and it was unnecessary.  This dough doesn't really soak up the oil, so it just splatters in your oven.  The second time I used about a tablespoon and it worked out perfect, plus there were no oven splatters.  I've already made this twice, and it's going to make repeat appearances in my kitchen through the fall and winter.

Pumpkin Fritter closeup

On a side note, the Huffington Post featured my Pumpkin Fritters photo and recipe in a roundup of savory pumpkin recipes today.  To see it there or check out the other recipes, visit

Multigrain Focaccia with Grapes and Rosemary
From King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Note: The grapes are my own take on this recipe, which calls for a topping of onions and rosemary.  I've made both varieties and recommend both.  I've included the instructions for each below.

1 cup (4 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour - I used white whole wheat flour
½ cup (4 ounces) water
Scant pinch of instant yeast

All of the pre-ferment
1 cup plus 2 tbs (9 ounces) water
1¼ cup (5 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
1⅞ cups (8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp instant yeast

1 onion, thinly sliced OR 1 cup grapes
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary

To make the pre-ferment:
The night before you want to bake the bread, in the bowl of your mixer combine the flour, water, and pinch of yeast until well blended.  Cover the bowl and let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.  The mixture will puff up and look bubbly.  At this point it's ripe and ready to use.

To make the dough:
To the bowl with the ripe pre-ferment, add all the remaining dough ingredients, beginning with the water.  Mix the dough on the lowest speed of your mixer until it begins to hold together.  The dough should be very wet and slack.  You made need to add 1 or 2 tablespoons more water if conditions are dry.  Mix on the slowest speed for 2 minutes, then increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes.  (Recipe doesn't specify, but I used the dough hook attachment.)  The dough will still be quite soft.  Cover the dough tightly and let it rise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, it's time to fold the dough to build its strength.  Generously flour a flat surface and scrape the dough out onto it.  Give the dough a fold.  This will be a very messy process, so be sure your hands and work surface are well-floured; you will find it helpful to use a bench knife or dough scraper.  Use the scraper to gently fold the dough over itself, as you would a business letter, brushing any excess flour away as you fold, to keep from incorporating raw flour into the middle of the dough.

Next, fold the dough in a similar fashion, this time from the long ends, to make a packet.  Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for another 30 minutes.  Repeat the folding process and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.  With each fold, the dough should gain strength and elasticity.  Fold one more time, and turn out the dough into a sheet pan that has been oiled generously with olive oil.  Spread the dough into the edges of the pan.  Cover the dough and let it rise for another 30 minutes.  (My dough wouldn't spread much in the pan, but by the end of the 30 minutes it will.  Also, don't expect it to reach all the corners and edges of the pan in a perfect rectangle.)

As the dough is rising for its final 30 minutes, preheat your oven and a baking stone, if you have one, to 500°.  Allow the oven and stone to heat for at least 30 minutes.  (My oven doesn't go that high, and preheating at 425° or 450° is fine.)

To make the onion topping
Toss the onion slices with the olive oil in a small bowl and spread them on a baking sheet with a rim.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the onions until they're golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  You may do this step while the oven is preheating for the focaccia.  Remove the onions from the oven and toss in the rosemary.

To make the grape topping
If any grapes are large, halve them.  Toss them with 1 tbs olive oil and rosemary in a bowl and set aside.

To top and bake the focaccia
If using the onions, spread the roasted onions across the surface of the risen focaccia dough.  You may lightly dimple the dough as you top it.  If using the grapes, place them one by one on the surface of the risen dough and push down gently -- these will be your dimples.  Pour the rest of the oil and rosemary over the dough.

Place the pan onto the stone and lower the oven temperature to 425°.  Bake the focaccia until it is a deep golden color, 18 to 20 minutes.  Remove the focaccia from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


  1. Looks beautiful! Grapes in focaccia is a very interesting and delicious idea!

    1. Thank you! The one with the onions isn't as colorful or fruity, but it's really good too.

  2. Congratulations on the HuffPo feature--woo hoo! :D I made a galette with roasted grapes a few months ago, but I need to experiment with roasted grapes a little bit more. I love the idea of putting them in a focaccia!

    1. Thanks! :) I can't wait to roast fall vegetables so I can throw in grapes. I remember, the galette with the brussels sprouts! I'm now wondering about other grape applications I've missed out on -- I was never interested in grape pies in cookbooks and now I think I have to try.

  3. congrats on the feature! very well-deserved :D

    and this foccacia is so cool and very different from the usual cheesy kind.

    1. Thanks! I really like that there's some nutrition in there too with the whole wheat.

  4. Congratulations on the Huffington Post feature Shirley! I love those fritters and so happy that picture got featured! This is the first time seeing focaccia with fruits in it! Sounds wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Nami! It's really good with the grapes.


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