Harvest Focaccia

The minute I saw this recipe I knew I would love it. Â Rustic foods tend to be the most appealing to our palates, and nothing says simple and charming quite like homemade bread infused with sweet grapes, in both their fresh and dried forms.

Sort of a sophisticated version of raisin bread, harvest focaccia has graced the table of many an Italian in honor of the official start of wine making season. Â While I don’t feel compelled to stomp on the grapes anytime soon, I’m happy to drink a few glasses of vino while noshing on this bread.

If you have plans to host a harvest or holiday dinner this fall, I can’t imagine a better bread for your table. Â And if not, make it anyways. Â I know from experience that it’s a crowd pleaser and if a hunk of crumbly aged cheddar made it’s way on to the plate with the bread, I wouldn’t mind that either.

Harvest Focaccia, adapted from Country Living
•   4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
•   2 cups warm milk
•   1 1/2 tablespoons honey
•   2 cups whole wheat flour
•   2-3 cups all purpose flour
•   1/3 cup olive oil
•   1-2 tablespoons orange zest
•   1 cup red grapes (halved lengthwise)
•   1 cup golden raisins
•   1/2 cup green grapes (halved lengthwise)
•   1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
•   1 egg, beaten

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Â Combine the yeast, milk, honey and 1 cup whole wheat flour in a large bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Â Stir in the grapes and raisins. Â Combine half of the grape mixture and the remaining whole wheat flour with the yeast mixture. Add the sea salt and 2 cups of all purpose flour and mix until a dough forms. Â If the dough is sticky add more flour otherwise knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Â Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Â Cover and let rise until doubled, or about 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down and lightly knead. Â Shape into a 1/2 inch thick disc. Â Place on a well oiled baking pan and brush with remaining oil mixture, pressing the grapes and raisins into the dough. Â Let rest for 30 minutes.

Dimple the loaf with fingers and bake for 15 minutes. Â Brush on egg and bake until golden brown, another 8-10 minutes.

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