Grape focaccia, or Schiacciata All’uva, is a magnificent Tuscan tradition. It’s essentially homemade bread with a smattering of black grapes that create a wondrously jammy consistency. Here’s how to make it.
Born in and around the wine-growing areas of Florence and the Chianti, this delicious grape focaccia is a tradition governed by the very seasonal nature of grapes in Italy. For one or two fleeting months of the year, from September to October, the appearance of schiacciata all’uva in Florence’s bakery shop windows is a sign that summer is over and the days will begin to get noticeably shorter. This sticky, sweet focaccia-like bread is a hint that winemakers are working hard at that moment harvesting their grapes and pressing them. These grapes stain the bread purple and lend it its juicy texture and sweet but slightly tart flavor. They are also what give the bread a bit of crunch, as traditionally the seeds are left in and eaten along with the bread. And then, as suddenly as it appeared, the grape focaccia is gone, not to be seen again until the following September.–Emiko Davies
What Type Of Grapes Can I Use For Grape Focaccia?
Traditionally, grape focaccia is made with native Tuscan wine grapes known as canaiolo—the small, dark grapes make up part of the blend of Chianti wine, playing a supporting role to sangiovese. These days it’s usually made with fragrant, berry-like concord grapes (uva fragola) although we made it with several varieties of black grapes available in local markets—both those with seeds and without seeds—and everything we tried turned out spectacularly. Just be warned if you use grapes with seeds that the bread will be punctuated with bitter crunchiness. [Editor’s Note: Not everyone cares for the traditional bitter crunch of seeds in this bread. Consider yourself warned.] It is imperative that you NOT substitute red or green seedless grapes, which lack the requisite taste and texture that lend schiacciata all’uva its characteristic jamminess.
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Serve 8 to 10
- For the focaccia dough
- 4 cups (18 ounces or 500 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce or 20 grams) fresh yeast or 1 envelope (2 1/2 level teaspoons or 1/4 ounce or 7 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 2/3 cups (13 1/2 fluid ounces/400 ml) lukewarm water
- 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 fluid ounces/75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
- For the grape focaccia
- 21 ounces (600 grams) concord grapes (you can substitute another black grape variety, seeded or seedless, but DO NOT try to substitute red or green seedless table grapes)
- 1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces or 80 grams) superfine sugar (you’ll find this in the baking aisle next to the granulated sugar or simply blitz some granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until finely ground but not powdery)
- Confectioners sugar (optional)
- Coarse sea salt (optional)
- Make the focaccia dough
- 1. This can be done the night before you need to bake it, or a couple of hours ahead of time. Sift the flour into a large bowl and create a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces/125 ml) of the lukewarm water.
- 2. Add the yeast mixture to the center of the flour and mix with your hand or a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the water little by little, working the dough well after each addition to allow the flour to absorb all the water.
- 3. Add 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil to the dough and combine.
- 4. This is quite a wet, sticky dough. Rather than knead, you may need to work it with a wooden spoon or with well-oiled hands for a few minutes until it is smooth. Loosely cover the bowl of dough well with some plastic wrap and set it in a warm place away from draughts until it doubles in size, about 1 hour, or stash the bowl in the fridge and let it rise overnight until double in size.
- Make the grape focaccia
- 5. Separate the grapes from the stem, then rinse and pat dry. There’s no need to deseed them if making this the traditional way (see note).
- 6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 7. Oil a 8-inch by 12-inch (20 cm by 30 cm) baking sheet or round pizza pan with olive oil. With well-oiled hands, divide the dough into two halves, one slightly larger than the other. Place the larger half onto the oiled pan and, using your fingers, spread the dough out evenly to cover the pan or so that it’s no more than 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick.
- 8. Place about 2/3 of the grapes onto the first dough layer and sprinkle with half the sugar followed by about 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) olive oil.
- 9. Stretch out the rest of the dough to roughly the size of the pan and cover the grapes with this second layer of dough, stretching to cover the bottom surface.
- 10. Roll up the edges of the bottom layer of dough from underneath to the top, to seal the edges of the schiacciata. Gently push down on the surface of the dough to create little dimples all over. Cover the top with the rest of the grapes and evenly sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon aniseed, half of the sugar and 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces/45 ml) olive oil.
- 11. Bake until the dough becomes golden and crunchy on top and the grapes are oozing, 30 to 35 minutes.
- 12. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and eat with your hands. If you like, dust with confectioners sugar or coarse sea salt just before serving—although this isn’t exactly traditional, it is rather nice. This is best served and eaten the day of baking or, at the latest, the next day.
Grape Focaccia Variations
- Aniseed Grape Focaccia There are rarely adaptations made to this traditional recipe, but often you can find the addition of aniseed – a typical Tuscan flavouring for sweets – as I’ve suggested here as an option. It’s a good addition, one that brings extra perfume to this bread.
- Blueberry Focaccia If you can’t get concord grapes or wine grapes, or it’s the wrong season, try replacing them with 500 to 600 grams blueberries. It’s completely unorthodox, of course, but it’s a very good substitute, giving you a much closer result than using regular table grapes.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I was initially a bit skeptical. I love concord grapes and I love bread, but I wasn't sure how I would like the two together. After making this grape focaccia recipe, I cannot stop eating this bread. The grapes in the center melt into a jam-like consistency. Not everyone liked the crunch from the seeds as much as I did so chew carefully! This is sweet enough to me to feel like a dessert, but I think that it's perfect for breakfast. The most difficult part for me was where it says to "stretch out the rest of the dough to roughly the size of the pan." I tried stretching the dough like pizza dough, but the dough kept tearing. I ended up oiling a separate baking sheet and pressing the dough out and gently transferring it on top of the first layer. I did not use confectioners sugar but it would also look beautiful with a sprinkling of coarse sugar on top for some added sparkle. I plan to try it again with blueberries!
Oh my goodness. This grape focaccia was delicious! In my opinion, it's way better than it sounds. It actually reminded me of a plum cobbler that I've had. I did mine all at once and it took me under two hours, so it really is a quick recipe. I baked it for 29 minutes and it was perfect. I know this is totally untraditional, but I think it would have been really good with a dollop of vanilla ice cream right out of the oven. Also, I would love to sway from what is traditional and try it with blueberries, peaches, and a variety of other fruits in place of grapes. You could make it for a nice brunch addition or it seems to work well as a dessert. Either way, give it a try. This recipe is definitely a keeper for me. Very excellent!
This grape focaccia is a completely different take on any idea I had about focaccia and one to make very much in the grape harvest season. That said, I initially I couldn’t find grapes with seeds and made this with the blueberries while I tried to find wine grapes locally. I was a little worried that my anise seed (cracked) might be too dominant, so tried it just on the top layer. It works beautifully with the blueberries, and I decided I wanted to use whole seeds for my second version. The surprise for those of us unfamiliar with this sort of traditional focaccia is that the dough has no salt, and in fact there is no salt at all in the recipe. Nonetheless, it was very tasty and I was encouraged by the result to try again if I could find grapes with seeds. I also wanted to refine my dough handling, by chilling and weighing it to divide the slack dough more easily. I wanted a slightly stronger dough the second time, and also more flavor, which the rye would help with. I also find cold rise doughs much easier to handle and divide. The very wet dough is delicate and hard to accurately divide unless you weigh it (tare the container used to rise, making note of the weight). The combination of slightly stronger flour and overnight refrigerated rise made a world of difference in handling the dough. The wet dough and your oiled hands make this a lot like shaping a ciabiatta with water on your hands. I divided the cold dough 500g for the bottom, 417 for the top. I also used a dough whisk the second time, having mixed the first batch by hand, and felt it came together much easier and quicker with less handling (the kind that resembles a carpet beater). The version 2 dough was more bread-like and less cakey than the first, which is closer to what you might get with 00 flour. My last refinement was to add a sprinkle of 1/4 teaspoon fine grey sea salt (split between the top and inside). If you divide your sugar and anise seed when measuring, it helps later when you might have oily hands! I pressed each piece of dough out on a flexible cutting board and had no problem turning it into the pan (I found a quarter sheet pan to be exactly the right size and rim depth). My red grapes were a bit big and round, so they did not bleed purple or look like the recipe picture, but they had the grape flavor that you hope for. I really recommend the overnight dough—it will give anyone more confidence in pressing the dough out. You can do it easily into the quarter sheet pan, gently encouraging it to the edges. Planning the bottom dough larger helps you roll the edge and seal it without making anything too thin. Lastly, it is OK to generously oil the pan. A too thin coating will make it harder to remove it from the pan once cooled. I was more generous the second time around. The seeds give you a nice crunch and an even slightly peppery note. This is nice enough that I am going to confidently share it with Italian friends whose cooking I greatly admire. UPDATE: When a very kind friend and vintner gave us permission to walk their Pinot rows yesterday and we managed to snag enough grapes left orphaned by harvest, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the grape focaccia once again. I also wanted to confirm my hunch on changing up the flour a bit to give it a bit more toothiness. I used a malted bread flour from Keith Giusto and swapped out 10% with medium rye. (The tip on how even a small amount of rye can help came from Kathleen Weber, owner of Della Fattoria, and I have followed that guidance for my sourdough for a long time.) This recipe really is a 10+ with small wine grapes. I am so glad I had the nerve to ask and that I had access to a really special vineyard. I let the dough do a slow rise overnight to develop as much flavor as possible. Teasing the small grapes off their stems took a little while, but I had 600g of beautiful drak and still juicy grapes to work into the dough. The dough is much easier to handle after the cold bulk rise, and with oiled hands, you can easily stretch it out in the quarter sheet pan. I weighed the dough again and used 500g for the bottom, with a slightly smaller amount (415g) for the top. I also used the whole anise seeds, which complement the grapes (and grape seeds) so well. It took an extra 5 minutes in the oven for the dough to go completely golden and the grape juices to be burbling nicely, which never really happened with the [large] red grape version. Once cooled, I was able to easily slice and remove pieces, and all my tasters agreed this was really well balanced and full of jammy flavor yet not too sweet. This recipe is a keeper—and worth plotting how you will get grapes next season. As noted in the earlier batches - you need a big enough container - because a 2L cambro popped the lid. This one went straight into a 3.5L and it had risen past 2L after just a couple hours in the fridge. Next year, I will be begging my vineyard neighbors for grapes! Meanwhile I know the blueberry version will work year-round.