Well perhaps the headline is an exaggeration but Focaccia is truly one of God’s inventions. Focaccia is an oven-baked bread and is somewhat similar to Pizza but is not exactly the same thing. The dough is a bit like pizza dough in texture and uses high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast.
Easy to make, this bread and pizza substitute can be made using many different toppings, including, of all things, grapes. This recipe for Schiacciata all’Uva is from the central Italian region of Tuscany. This variation on Focaccia is generally made following the end of harvest, in October and November. We like it anytime.
Red Grape Focaccia or Tuscan Schiacciata
Ingredients for forty 2 inch square pieces:
2 envelopes active dry yeast
Pinch of salt
2 cups of warm water
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
12 oz of red seedless grapes
Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the sticky dough to a generously floured 6 inch square section of a counter or board. Dust the dough liberally with flour, parting the dough to form a rectangle. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
Dust your hands with flour and stretch the dough in each direction to twice its size. Fold the dough over itself in three, letter style and form a rectangle. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, dust with flour and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, line a standard 11 x 17 inch rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the parchment and spread it to cover.
Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet with a plastic scraper or spatula, trying to retain the rectangular shape as much as possible. Flip the dough over and use your fingertips to stretch the dough until it fits inside the pan. Distribute the grapes across the dough, pushing them in slightly. Put the dough in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Alternatively, the dough can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking.
Preheat oven to 500 F.
Lightly brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the pan in the oven, lower the temperature to 450F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking the focaccia until it begins to turn a light golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Carefully peel off the parchment if necessary. Cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe from Wine Bar Food by Cathy and Tony Manutuano