This is an interesting take on the classic focaccia bread. I saw it in a glossy, upscale Italian cooking school magazine and was instantly intrigued. Honestly, it had never occurred to me to put wine in bread. Crazy, right?
I thought this would be a marvelous accompaniment to any hearty meal, from a thick stew to a rich pasta. I was very curious just how much the wine would flavor the final product. I tinkered with the ingredients and the methods to make it easier and more practical for the casual home cook.
If you’ve attempted to make focaccia before you might remember working with a very wet dough. This one isn’t quite as bad, but it still takes some patience. Other than that, it’s a fairly easy bread to prepare for a weekend dinner.
I chose a Sangiovese for the wine. I think probably any red that you like would work perfectly here. In fact, I’d bet white wine would, too. You do taste the flavor of the wine in the bread, so keep that in mind. It colors it nicely, too.
I didn’t get a chance to try it, but I was told this made fantastic French toast!
Red Wine Focaccia
Makes one 8″x8″ loaf.
3¼ cups bread flour
2¼ tsp instant yeast
2/3 cup red wine at room temperature
2/3 cup warm water (about 100°F)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
For the brine:
2 Tbsp water
1½ tsp olive oil
½ tsp coarse kosher salt
Put the flour and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Combine and then add the red wine, warm water, olive oil, and sea salt. Turn on low speed and knead for 6 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Punch the dough down. Lightly oil an 8”x8” baking pan. Push the dough down by hand on a lightly-floured cutting board, stretching and flattening until slightly smaller than the pan. Place the dough in the pan. Use your fingertips to gently put dimples in the dough.
Make the brine by combining the water and olive oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle the brine over the dough. Cover and let rise until doubled again, about 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the dough with the coarse kosher salt. Bake until golden brown and slightly hollow when tapped, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan then remove.