If ever there was a 'wow' bread, then in my humble opinion, this is it! This Tuscan bread celebrates the wine grape harvest. As you can imagine, it's stunning with cheese. The grapes begin to caramelise when baked and form a delicious, slightly crispy topping.
To Activate the Yeast:
- 0.5 tsp fast action dried yeast
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 100ml warm water
For the Dough:
- 600g '00' flour
- 1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 350ml warm water
For the Topping:
- 20 red grapes
- 60ml red wine*
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tblsp caster sugar
- 4-5 small sprigs of fresh thyme
- Mix the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a small bowl and let it stand for 10 minutes. When the yeast is frothy, it's ready to use.
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, salt, thyme and the activated yeast. Add enough of the warm water to form a loose, soft dough, adding more flour or water as required.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is pliable and smooth, or place in a mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on a low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. The dough can be a little sticky.
- Brush a large bowl for proving the dough with olive oil. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to the touch, which will take 2–3 hours.
- In the meantime, heat the grapes and red wine in a small pan, but not to the boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Line the base of a 25cm springform tin with baking parchment and brush the sides with olive oil. Wrap the outside of the tin with foil just in case the red wine later leaks through the sides.
- When the dough has risen, knock it back and knead it again on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
- Gently flatten the dough into the springform tin and brush with olive oil. Pour over the grapes and red wine. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise again in a warm place for 30–45 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
- Sprinkle over the sugar and the sprigs of thyme and bake for 35–40 minutes. Check that the loaf is cooked by tapping the bottom – if it sounds hollow, then it's done. Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully loosen and transfer to the cooling rack.