Monday, October 4, 2010

Fruit Focaccia

Baking a decent baguette at home is hard.  Baking a great baguette at home is extremely hard.  Baking a better baguette at home than I can get at Clear Flour or the sadly closed B&R is impossible.  But baking a focaccia that is better than anything I can buy in Boston is very doable.  That's why I love baking it so much.  It all started with the grape focaccia I had while on vacation in Vancouver.  It was a show stopping bread and I was terribly sad that I wouldn't be able to get it in Boston, so I decided to try to make my own.  It turned out to be quiet a project.  Sure I could bake something that looked like focaccia and had grapes in it, but if I was going to recreate that lovely bread, I had to learn a lot about bread baking.  After a couple of  years of occasional experimenting, I managed to bake a perfect plain focaccia (with rosemary).  But adding the grapes turned out to be a challenge.

Last weekend, it finally worked (it wasn't exactly like the Vancouver version, but still very good), so I wanted to take some notes on what I did, so that I remember for next time.


If using grapes, it's very important to use Concord grapes.  Regular supermarket grapes don't seem to have the right flavor and make the dough too wet.  I have also tried using apples and that worked very well too.


A mixture of roasted pecans and walnuts worked well. For the grape focaccia, I used them as a topping and many of them popped off during eating.  On the apple focaccia, I folded the nuts into the dough -- that worked better.


I used my regular focaccia recipe, with the following modifications:
  • Increase sugar to 2 Tbsp
  • knead a bit less than usual to make it slightly less chewy.  Using a KitchenAid, I kneaded for 3 minutes, rearranged the dough, kneaded another 3 minutes, rearranged the dough, and another minute.  All on speed 4.
  • After shaping, I pushed the toppings into the dough and proofed for 40 minutes.  I pushed the apple slices vertically, not to deflate the dough as much.  They became horizontal as the dough pushed them up during baking.
  • I sprinkled the top with demerara sugar before baking and skipped the oiling after baking step.
  • Bake at 450F instead of 500F and watch out for the bottom burning (since the dough has more sugar).


Dave Daniels said...

I know what you mean about breads in Boston. This looks great, though with the grapes. I've never considered using apples before. A friend sent me a lot of avocados, wondering if that can be incorporated into it somehow?

Helen said...

Hi Dave,

I wouldn't bake avocados, but I am sure they'll be a great filling in a sandwich made with focaccia :)


Sara said...


I like your blog a lot!!!!

:) i hope to see more nice things on this platform and gain more food knowledge from you :) and others

my passion is eating and "googling" food :D so far i came across various blogs, and recently i have found this one:

they seem new but they do show promising upcoming stuff :)

Lisa said...

I love focaccia but never thought to put fruit on it. This looks delicious though.

Kenon Thompson said...

It seems that your formatting has been interupted in some way. Even without completely reading it looks delicious! :)

Jason said...

Hi Kenon, what browser and version are you using? Looks okay to me in Chrome, Firefox and IE8. Do you use something else?