This mini loaf pan focaccia is the second entry in my “scaled down recipes” series. Previously I shared my recipe for a single (epic) cinnamon roll and I had so much fun making it that I just had to try scaling down another one of my faves. My deep, abiding love for focaccia is well documented, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for another recipe. We’re now officially about three months into this “new normal” of social distancing, and though flour is easier to come by, there’s still a lot of places where it’s hard to find. This focaccia recipe is perfect for when you want focaccia but don’t want to use up 4-6 cups of flour satisfy that craving.
This recipe uses just one cup — ONE CUP! — of flour. That’s it! And the final version of the recipe uses a heaping 1 tsp of yeast, which means one packet of yeast (2¼ tsp) can make two mini loaves of focaccia.
With a loaf this small, I usually either slice it into thin ~2″ strips and eat it like a breadstick, dipping it in soup or as a side with spaghetti, but it’s also a fantastic sandwich bread. For sandwiches, you’ll want to slice it across the middle so you have two square-shaped halves of the loaf. Then slice them in half, separating the dimpled top from the crispy bottom and fill them with your favorite sandwich toppings. Because of how oily and salty focaccia is, it’s best eaten on the same day you make it. The salt draws moisture out of the bread, which means after 24 hours it becomes quite dry.
To develop gluten and give the focaccia strength and structure, this recipe uses a technique called folding to “knead” the dough. In early versions of the recipe I was doing folds every 5 minutes, but that made the gluten too tight and the dough didn’t relax nicely into the pan. The final version of the recipe calls for folds every 10 minutes for 30 minutes which is extra nice because it’s much more hands off for you!
let’s make loaf pan focaccia
a few quick notes
- Yes, making a loaf pan focaccia does take slightly longer than my recipe for a full-size focaccia but there are good reasons for that: 1) because this is so small, when I tried adding more yeast to speed up the rising time you could taste the yeast which was unpleasant and 2) the scaled down dough is too small for my electric mixer, so the gluten is developed by folding the dough over itself a few times during the first 30 minutes of the rise time. It’s also worth pointing out this is still a much faster recipe than any of the full-size no-knead variations by several hours.
- I topped this with garlic salt that I brought back from a trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland a few years ago, but you can use any flaky salt you like. You can also top this with fresh herbs, veggies, or anything else you want. Just remember that the dough has to work harder to hold heavier toppings up, so if you’re planning on using anything heavy (whole cherry tomatoes, etc.) less is more!
- I’ve written the recipe below using weight measurements in grams because when you’re working with such small quantities, a little too much of one ingredient or a little less of another can radically change your outcome. If you don’t weigh your flour you could end up with almost 2x what you actually need! So if you have a kitchen scale, you’re definitely going to want to use it here. I did include volumetric measurements (cups, teaspoons) because I find them useful just to have in mind as I’m measuring with the scale, but I don’t encourage using them if you don’t have to.
- I used a 9×4″ (1 lb) loaf pan but you can use a 9×5″ pan (1.5 lb) if that’s all you have. Just know that the dough might not stretch out into all the corners in the larger pan.
- This recipe uses Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which has larger salt grains than your standard sea salt, kosher salt, or table salt. If you’re using a salt brand other than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, cut the amount of salt in half.
loaf pan focaccia [scaled down recipe]
- 120 grams flour (1 cup, loosely packed and leveled off)
- 5 grams diamond crystal kosher salt (¾ teaspoon) (use half the amount if using another brand)
- 5 grams yeast (1 teaspoon)
- 3 grams sugar (a heaping ¼ teaspoon)
- 9 grams olive oil (2 teaspoons)
- 77 grams water, lukewarm (⅓ cup)
- additional oil for the pan and drizzling on top
- additional salt and/or herbs for topping
- Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a medium sized bowl and mix with your hand to evenly distribute. Make a well in the center and add water and oil. Use a fork or small spatula to stir the liquid in the center, slowly incorporating flour from the sides of the bowl into the center until a shaggy, sticky dough forms.
- Switch to your hands or a bowl scraper and begin folding the dough. Fold the top edge of the dough forward over the center of the dough and press down to anchor it in place. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat several times until the dough is cohesive and no lumps or dry spots remain.If the dough sticks to your hands or the bench scraper, dip them in water or coat them in a small amount of oil.
- Cover the dough and let it rest 10 minutes. Then repeat the folding process. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then fold again. This process helps the gluten develop strength, and with each set of folds the dough will get smoother and harder to stretch.Again, if the dough sticks to your hands, dip them in water or coat them in a small amount of oil.
- After the last set of folds, spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, then drizzle in approximately 1 TBSP olive oil. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the pan, using oiled fingers to gently stretch the dough into a loose rectangle shape. It won't reach the edges of the pan yet. Cover and let rise at room temperature (70°F) 1 hour.
- After an hour, the dough should have increased slightly in size. Oil your fingers and dimple and stretch the dough into all the corners of the pan. Press your fingers down into the dough until they hit the bottom of the pan, then spread them out. It's okay if you tear the dough in a few places.Drizzle with an additional 1 TBSP of olive oil, cover, and let rise for another 30-60 minutes until the dough is airy and bubbly and has mostly filled in the bottom of the pan.
- During the final 30-60 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center position.(If your loaf seems to be rising slowly, place the loaf pan on top of the preheating oven so the yeast benefits from the residual heat.)
- Right before placing it in the oven, drizzle on a little more olive oil and sprinkle the surface of the dough with flaky salt, herbs, or any toppings of your choosing, and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.If after 20 minutes it's still looking pale, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the dough and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- If you are using a different brand of salt, use half the amount. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt has larger grains and you need less of finer salts to achieve the same results.
- You may need up to 1 TBSP more water if your dough feels very dry. The best way to incorporate water into your dough is to wet your hands or the bowl scraper while doing your folds. It’s better to err on the side of less water rather than more.