12 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

Jefferson cultivated table grapes at Monticello, as well as black cumin seed (seeds from a plant known in Jefferson's time as Nutmeg Plant). Black cumin seeds have a stronger, more peppery flavor than the more common amber variety and are a delicious foil for the sweet grapes. Omit them if you wish, and substitute poppy seeds, caraway seeds, or dried onion flakes. Sesame seeds are another option--and another crop Jefferson cultivated.

How to Make It

Step 1

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour and sugar to yeast mixture; stir until well combined. Cover and let stand at room temperature 1 hour to form a sponge (mixture will rise and bubble slightly).

Step 2

Add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon black cumin seeds, and 1 teaspoon salt to sponge; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Step 3

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; gently knead in 2/3 cup grape halves. Cover dough with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 4

Transfer dough onto a baking sheet sprinkled with remaining 1 teaspoon cornmeal. Pat dough into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle; brush with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Step 5

Preheat oven to 475°.

Step 6

Uncover dough, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and kosher salt. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup grape halves over dough; gently press into dough.

Step 7

Bake at 475° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen bread from pan with a thin spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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