I used to make this with sourdough bread dough. It has always been popular at wine tasting parties, soup parties, or on the buffet table ~
And since Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg introduced us to their easily doable recipes in their wonderful cookbook, it is more simple than ever to make.
I recommend their cookbook, even if you don't consider yourself a bread baker. This book may change your mind!
by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg
(Click link to take a closer look...)
I use their basic recipe at two days old (easier for me to handle at that point), and simply form the dough into various size balls to form the grape cluster. For this large loaf I used an entire recipe (6 cups flour), of course you could make this much smaller, or shape into individually sized grape clusters, too.
I assemble freeform as I go along, using water as the "glue" to encourage the individual balls of dough to cling to each other.
I build the grape form directly on a flat baking sheet, which has been generously sprinkled with cornmeal and bake it right on the baking sheet, allow it to rise. To bake I place the baking sheet directly on the hot baking tiles, positioned in the center of the oven, with a small pan of water (holding about 8 ounces of water) directly beneath.
It's a fine palate cleanser between wines, and is delicious with deli selections; salumes and cheeses of all types. Perfect for soup parties, too.
If you haven't visited Zoë's wonderful blogs, I urge you to do so ~ she is incredibly talented:
This long-time bread baker cannot thank Zoe and Jeffery enough for making artisan bread baking so easy!