Red Grape and Fennel Seed Schiacciata

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This is Victoria’s sourdough version of schiacciata con l’uva, a Tuscan member of the hearth-bread family that also includes focaccia and fougasse. Recipes often include rosemary, rather than fennel seeds, and may be topped with sugar instead of salt.

FROM MIXING TO OVEN: overnight plus 3½–4 hours
BAKING TIME: 15–20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb 2oz/ cups white bread flour
  • 20g/2 tbsp semolina
  • 100g/oz/scant ½ cup rye sourdough starter
  • 5g/1 tsp fine/table salt
  • 300g/10½oz/ cups tepid water
  • 60g/oz/generous cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp for drizzling
  • 250g/9oz/2–2½ cups seedless red grapes
  • fennel seeds, for sprinkling
  • coarse sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method

  1. Mix the flour, semolina, starter, salt and water together thoroughly, until all of the ingredients have come together in a sticky mass with no dry bits remaining. Add the olive oil and work it gently into the dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Give the dough a single fold, cover and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
  3. Repeat this fold and rest process three more times, after which the dough should be very smooth and stretchy. Cover the dough again and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and leave for at least 1 hour to come up to room temperature. Turn the dough onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide it into 2 equal-size pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball, cover and leave it to relax for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flatten each piece of dough with the heel of your hand to form a circle, then place onto baking sheets lined with non-stick baking parchment. Cover and leave to prove for 2 hours.
  6. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over each piece of dough and lightly spread it across the surface. Squeeze the grapes gently until they break (schiacciata means “crushed”) and press them deep into the dough. Sprinkle the tops with fennel seeds and salt to taste, then cover and leave to prove again while the oven heats up.
  7. Heat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/gas 8–9. Bake the loaves for 15–20 minutes, or until risen and pale golden.

VICTORIA OSBORNE
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