Tales of Focacce (lots of focaccia), mine and yours

Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 10:21 am
Yesterday and a little bit of the evening before, I prepared and baked Martha Stewart's Grape Focaccia.

I've heard of grape focaccia before, but have never seen any at a bakery, much less in my own kitchen. I had frozen a bag of seedless grapes and needed freezer room, thus I chased around for a recipe.

The recipe aggravated me for reasons I'll explain as I type, the primary cause being that I'm low on patience. Tasted the result this morning for breakfast. Even with my cutting out or changing some of the Martha Stewart recipe instructions, it's the best focaccia I've ever tasted. Aside from the melded taste of it, it's chewy, which to me makes it extra wonderful.

I'll put her ingredients and instructions in my next post along with my disobedient antics.

I'm interested in your focaccia making too, or even hearing about good ones you've run across in bakeries, etc.
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Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 10:38 am
Grape focaccia seems meh to me. Ever since moving to Church Ave in Brooklyn, I discovered focaccia sticks at this wonderful bakery:

I love the cheddar and jalepeno version as well as the olive one.

The WHITE CHOCOLATE BLONDIE's are also to die for. It's also where I discovered my new all-time favorite soda, Fentiman's Ginger Beer.
Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 10:50 am
That's what I thought. I also thought I might even hate it. Hah.
And I guess I made it sound as if it takes forever to make - no, just that I didn't want to watch dough rise in the middle of the night.

Those focaccia sticks! Oooooh. That ninechains place looks like a place I'd love to hang out at.

Back in a bit to add the recipe post.
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Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 10:57 am
I can recite the first 1500 Focaccio numbers in quick sequence
Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 11:04 am
What would Foucault say?
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Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 11:06 am
I haven't made focaccia in a while. It's a recipe I had gotten from the NY Times, I wanna say 3 years ago. I've dolled it up with all sorts of things, changing the olive oil to canola, I've added chocolate chunks, even.
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Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2014 12:16 pm


14 ounces seedless red grapes
My grocery store aerated bag of grapes had a lot more than 14 ounces, ounces not mentioned on the packaging; I still have lots of grapes left (more focaccia!) There's a task - take off all the stems.

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed

4 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface

2 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raisins

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons golden raisins
I skipped those since I didn't have any. Turns out it would have been better if I did since the focaccia actually rises quite high in the oven.

3/4 teaspoon active-dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
I used regular salt.

3 tablespoons fine sanding sugar
I didn't even look up what sanding sugar is. Used regular table sugar.

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
I probably used less than one, didn't put the sprig bits into a tablespoon to check.

Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
That would be nice, but used regular.


In a medium bowl, toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil; set aside.

Well, I thawed mine, drained, and patted them fairly dry with paper towels. Added oil around the end of all of these directions just prior to putting the grapes on top of the dough.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together flour, water, both raisins, and yeast with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume and bubbling, about 2 hours.

I soaked the raisins until they plumped first. I used a big spoon to mix those ingredients. Covered the bowl with my glass frying pan cover. The bubbling business happened in the last half hour or so.

Add salt to bowl. Switch to dough-hook attachment and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium, and mix for 30 seconds. (Dough should be loose and sticky.)

I added salt to bowl and used my small plastic dough scraper to gently mix the ingredients. Two minutes or so, eh.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface using a dough scraper. Fold bottom edge of dough up toward the center and pat gently to deflate. Fold top edge down toward the center, and pat gently. (Folds should overlap slightly.) Repeat with left and right sides, tapping off excess flour as you work. (Dough will be difficult to handle, but try not to incorporate too much flour.) Gently flip dough into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Dough wasn't at all difficult to handle if you are used to making bread by hand at all. I didn't fold, just piled the dough up in the bowl, lifted it out with the dough scraper and my hand onto my mildly floured tile work square, and started kneading with a wee bit of added flour once or twice. Put it back in the first bowl which was already big enough for the dough to rise. Covered with frying pan top again. Waited only 45 minutes, thinking all that rising was enough already.

I skipped Step 5
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and repeat folding process. Transfer dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Place a pizza stone on floor of a gas oven (remove racks) or bottom rack of electric oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees for a convection oven or 450 degrees for a conventional oven for at least 45 minutes. Alternatively, if not using a pizza stone, preheat oven 15 minutes before baking.

I always have a piece of flooring tile in my oven, thus my 'stone'. I set my oven to preheat and stay at 375F. My preheating time only lasted for the time it took me to do Step 8, certainly not 45 minutes. Back when I actually owned a real pizza stone, I still didn't preheat 45 minutes, unless by mistake.

Pour 1/3 cup oil into a 13-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet, coating entire surface. Turn out dough onto baking sheet, coating bottom with oil. Dip fingertips in olive oil to prevent them from sticking, and push dough out toward edges of baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 45 minutes, pressing dough toward edges occasionally.

I used a 10 x 13" Pyrex glass baking dish. I lined it with parchment paper that I let go up the sides of the dish, cutting out what would have been a fold at the corners. Didn't add any oil at that point. Plopped the dough in the dish. Did put oil with my hands on top and pushed the dough gently towards the corners; that took a few minutes; covered it with a clean dish towel and let it rise 45 minutes or maybe a bit less.

Scatter grapes over top and sprinkle with sanding sugar and rosemary. Top should be well oiled; if necessary, drizzle with up to 1 tablespoon olive oil.

This was when I added the tablespoon of oil to the grapes and tossed them in their bowl. I added a few dribbles oil over the dough before adding the grapes but didn't need much.

Bake in lower third of oven or on preheated pizza stone, rotating halfway through, until bottom is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Immediately slide focaccia out of baking sheet onto a wire rack. Drizzle with any oil left in pan; sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I baked it where I usually bake stuff, rack slightly about middle - the easiest for me to reach. It was done at about 35 minutes. Interesting re the difference in her suggested temperature and the temp I used.
I cooled it overnight in the glass dish with a dishtowel on top.
When I tried it in the morning after slicing it up, I didn't even heat the piece I set for immediate eating. Gads it was good. Most of the slices were about an inch and a half high. First time I've ever eaten a lightly chewy type focaccia, will play with using the method for other focaccia. Maybe I'll even obey the rising times next time to see what happens.

I foil wrapped the now room temp focaccia slices and stuck them in a tightly capped tin cylinder I have. I see that as something like twelve future breakfasts waiting for me.
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