Sourdough Focaccia with pickled grapes, speck and thyme is a deliciously crusty and chewy flatbread with a light crumb and big bursts of flavor from the bold toppings.
I have two words for you — Picked Grapes! Wow, they are my new obsession. I’m so happy that Sneha, our hostess for today’s #BreadBakers event, chose this creative topic. She asked us to use grapes, dried or fresh, baked in the bread of our choice.
Looking for inspiration, I Googled around for savory recipes using grapes. I came across a number of recipes, mostly for salads, using Pickled Grapes. I was intrigued.
I made a quick batch, altering the mix of spices to my taste, and put them in the fridge for the night. I tasted them the next day and it was love at first bite. I can’t wait to try pickled grapes in all sorts of other dishes.
Click through the step by step photos to see how to make Pickled Grapes:
You’ll notice that the grapes in the photos are speckled. Although I got the grapes in our farm share, this is not a special variety of grape. According to the farmer, the speckles were due to the hot and rainy growing season. But the speckles didn’t affect the flavor at all. In fact, I kind of like they way they look like little specked eggs.
I thought a salty/fatty topping would accent the tangy/sweet flavor of the grapes, so I added some chopped speck. A little fresh thyme for a fresh herbal note was the perfect final touch.
Because of the sweet, sour and salty combination, I think Focaccia with Pickled Grapes and Speck is a perfect brunch dish. A slab of this bread would be wonderful next to scrambled eggs or an omelet.
Helpful hints for making Sourdough Focaccia with Pickled Grapes:
- Make the pickled grapes 1-2 days before you’re going to bake the bread. They can be made up to a week in advance.
- It is possible to mix this dough by hand, but it’s much easier on a stand mixer. If mixing by hand you can use a bench scraper or plastic bowl scraper to help lift and move the dough.
- I used a sourdough bread as the base of this focaccia. If you don’t have a sourdough starter you can follow the bread recipe in this post instead. For future recipes I urge you to either buy or make a starter of your own. The flavor and texture difference is worth the effort, believe me.
- I mixed the dough in the afternoon/evening of day one (say a Friday or Saturday). I let it sit at room temperature (with the hourly folding and flipping) until bed time.
- I put the dough in the fridge for the night and took it out early in the morning because I wanted to enjoy this bread for breakfast. If you want to bake the bread for later in the day just take the dough out of the refrigerator about 2 hours before the time you want to serve the bread.
By breakfast time I had warm, fresh Sourdough Focaccia with Pickled Grapes & Speck. Heavenly!!!
Since you’ve got your starter fed, check out the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1" piece of vanilla bean
- 5 cracked cardamom pods
- 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 8 oz red or green seedless grapes, washed and stemmed
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 batch Sourdough Focaccia dough
- 1/4 cup (1.8 oz, 50g) olive oil
- 2 oz speck, chopped (see note)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Make the Pickled Grapes (1-2 days ahead)
- Place the cinnamon, vanilla bean, cardamom pods, peppercorns and pepper flakes in the bottom of a clean 1 pint canning jar. Place the grapes into the jar on top of the spices.
- In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, water sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a full boil and stir until the sugar is melted.
- Pour the hot brine over the grapes. Cover the jar with the lid and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least a day before using. The grapes will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.
Make the dough (day 1)
- Make the dough according to the recipe and refrigerate overnight. Don't make the toppings listed in the original recipe.
Bake the Focaccia (Day 2)
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly oil a 1/2 sheet pan with half of the olive oil. Place the dough onto the oiled pan (trying not to deflate too much) and flip it over to coat the dough with a film of oil. Use your fingers to spread the dough to a 1/2" thick square or rectangle. Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours until well risen and puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use your fingers to dimple the top of the dough all over. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with speck and thyme. Distribute the picked grapes over the surface and press them down into the dough.
- Bake about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.
Speck is a type of spiced and smoked ham. You can use pancetta, proscuitto or any ham/bacon of your choice. Whichever your use, chop it small so it can become crisp while the bread bakes.
The recipe can be halved and baked in a cast iron skillet
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- Spicy World Green Cardamom Pods, 3.5 Ounce
- Vanilla Beans (Tahitian) – 5 x Prime Gourmet Grade A 5~6” for Baking, Extract, Coffee, Brewing, Cooking
- Ball Glass Mason Jar with Lid and Band
- Breadtopia Sourdough Starter (Live)
- Vollrath Wear-Ever Half-Size Sheet Pans
- KitchenAid 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield
Use this recipe for the dough, don’t make the toppings listed in the recipe.
- 1 cup (7.5 oz, 205g) active sourdough starter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 300 ml) warm water
- 1/2 cup (2.75 oz, 75g) whole wheat flour
- 3 1/4 cups (14 oz, 396g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1/4 cup (1.8 oz, 50g) olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, peel & mince the cloves (I used a garlic press)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 scant tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary (from about 1 large or 2 small sprigs)
- 1.5 teaspoons flaky sea salt
Make the dough (day 1)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the starter with water, whole wheat flour, oil, and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
- If using a stand mixer switch to the dough hook. Add the salt, olive oil and the remaining flour, Knead on medium low speed for 10 minutes (speed 3 on my stand mixer). If mixing by hand stir in as much flour as you can, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.
- The dough will start out quite sticky but will clear the bowl and cling to the hook after kneading. If working by hand, keep your hands and the surface floured to prevent the dough from sticking. This is a fairly wet dough.
- Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for 3-5 hours. Every hour repeat the following procedure: Uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature.
Bake the Focaccia (Day 2)
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn. Strain the garlic, reserving the garlic flavored oil and the garlic separately.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly oil a 1/2 sheet pan with half of the garlic olive oil. Place the dough onto the oiled pan (trying not to deflate too much) and flip it over to coat it with a film of oil. Use your fingers to spread the dough to a 1/2" thick square or rectangle. Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour until well risen and puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use your fingers to dimple the top of the dough all over. Brush with the remaining garlic flavored olive oil, sprinkle with crispy garlic, sea salt and rosemary.
- Bake about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
The recipe can be halved and baked in a cast iron skillet.
You might also like:
Thanks to Sneha of Sneha’s Recipe for hosting this event. Check out these other fabulous bread recipes featuring grapes in all forms:
- Buccellato di Lucca from Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Cinnamon Raisin Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Cinnamon Raisin Rolls from Ambrosia
- Golden Raisin Walnut Bread from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Mini Raisins Buns from Sneha’s Recipe
- Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Red Wine Rosemary Bread from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Sausage and Cambozola Pizza with Arugula and Grapes from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Sourdough Focaccia with Pickled Grapes and Speck from Baking Sense