Made with just one cup of flour (120 grams) this small batch focaccia recipe makes a single mini focaccia that bakes up golden brown and fluffy on top with a crispy bottom in a standard loaf pan.
It's become a favorite in The Practical Kitchen community for good reason! Many readers have shared their favorite creative mini focaccia toppings and many have had success making this with certain brands of gluten free flours, too. See comments below!
This small batch 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 mini loaf pan focaccia is the second entry in my "small batch recipes" series. You may also like my small batch crusty bread, my mini baguette bread recipe, or my small batch mini ciabatta which also use just about a cup of flour.
I love these little breads because they're the perfect size bread recipe if you're single or live alone and are cooking only for yourself, or if you're cooking for you and just one other person.
It's also great if there are any ingredient shortages (say, due do an ongoing global pandemic) or if you just want to avoid using up all your best baking ingredients.
For a full size version of this recipe, check out my thick and fluffy overnight focaccia.
About This Mini Focaccia
This small batch focaccia recipe uses 120 grams of flour. That's just one cup — ONE CUP! — of flour. That's 120 grams of flour, which you should definitely measure by weight using a kitchen scale. But that's it!
And the final version of the recipe uses about 1 teaspoon instant yeast, which means one packet of yeast (2¼ tsp) can make two mini loaves of focaccia.
To develop gluten and give the focaccia strength and structure, this recipe uses a technique called folding to "knead" the dough.
To build strength and trap air bubbles in the dough, this recipe calls for folds every 15 minutes for 30 minutes (two sets of folds) which is extra nice because it's very hands off for you!
One of my favorite things about this mini focaccia is that it's a gateway bread for so many beginner bakers. So many readers have told me it cured their fear of bread making — it wasn't long before they felt confident enough to try making more complex or time intensive recipes like my overnight bagels or basic brioche bread!
Here's what you'll need to make this mini loaf pan focaccia. No fancy or hard to find ingredients, and you can definitely get creative with your toppings! See recipe card (at the end of the post) for ingredient quantities!
- All purpose flour - Regular all purpose flour is just fine here. You can use bread flour, but you may need to adjust the amount of water or add more flour to get the dough to the right consistency.
- Water - Lukewarm or slightly warm water, but not hot water. If you use cooler or cold water the dough will take twice as long to rise.
- Sugar - Crucial for getting that beautifully golden brown focaccia crust and adds a nice flavor.
- Instant Yeast - I use instant (sometimes called "rapid rise") yeast. See notes below for adapting for active dry yeast.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which is half as salty as other brands. If measuring by weight, it doesn't matter what brand of salt you use. But if you're measuring by volume (e.g. teaspoons) and using a different brand of salt, even a different brand of kosher salt, cut the amount of salt in half.
- Olive Oil - I like using a bold flavored olive oil for focaccia because it's such an olive oil-forward kind of bread and I want to enjoy that delicious EVOO flavor. You can definitely use flavored or infused olive oils here too.
Mixing this small batch mini focaccia dough is very simple and doesn't require any fancy equipment other than a kitchen scale. If you have a bowl, a spatula, and at least one hand, you can mix this focaccia dough. Also, I believe in you. And you are capable of making great bread.
Start by combining the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour in the warm water, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it rest on the surface of the water for 30-60 seconds to hydrate slightly, then pour in the olive oil.
Mix with your hand or a spatula, slowly incorporating more flour in from the sides until you have a messy ball of dough in the middle of the bowl.
Fold the dough over itself a few times to start building some structure in the gluten network.
I usually switch to my hands at this point, but you can stick with a spatula or bowl scraper if that's easier.
It will be quite messy and sticky. That's normal; don't panic. Just get the dough in a loose ball shape. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
A Modified "Slap-n-Fold"
The "slap and fold" is a technique used to add structure and strength to bread doughs in place of kneading. It's particularly useful for very sticky, high-hydration doughs.
Usually it's done on a countertop, but because this mini focaccia recipe is so small, you'll be doing a modified mini version of the slap and fold in the bowl.
I've included video gifs below so you can watch how to do it yourself.
The dough will get easier to fold each time as it builds strength and structure. Make sure you're rotating the dough 90 degrees between folds so that the gluten is being stretched in all directions.
As you repeat the folding and resting process, you're building a criss-crossed network of gluten inside the dough that will trap air bubbles and enable the dough to rise. If you only fold in one direction the dough won't have the strength it needs.
TIP: Don't overdo the folding — 4-6, maybe 8 slap-and-folds total is plenty. You don't want the dough to start tearing. (The current video for the recipe says 10-12 folds, you can disregard that!)
Here's what the dough looks like after folding during mixing, and then after the two sets of slap-and-folds in the bowl with rests in between.
The dough will get smoother and easier to handle with each set of folds.
TIP: If the dough is sticking to you, wet your hands with water or a tiny bit of oil. Not too much or you'll add too much water to the dough, but just enough to prevent sticking!
After you finish the last set of folds, transfer the dough into a greased and oiled loaf pan. The grease (non-stick spray) prevents sticking, while the drizzle of olive oil gives your mini focaccia a gorgeously crispy bottom.
Gently stretch the dough into a vagely rectagular shape. It likely won't fill the whole bottom of the pan yet, that's okay. Cover and let it rest somewhere warm (70-75F) for one hour.
After about an hour, the focaccia dough will have relaxed and expanded into the pan. It may not fill out all the corners, but it will have filled out a lot more of the pan.
Drizzle the dough with a little more olive oil, and rub some olive oil on your fingers too. Now, it's time for the most fun step of all: DIMPLING.
Press your fingers down into the dough until they touch the bottom of the pan. Spread your fingers slightly when you hit the bottom of the pan to push the dough into the corners. Repeat until the dough is dimpled across the surface.
Cover the loaf pan and let the focaccia rise for another 30-60 minutes in a warm spot. The dough will rise and bubble up in the pan. When the dough has doubled in size, it's ready to bake. Go by what it looks like, not the time on the clock.
Right before baking, drizzle one more glug of olive oil across the focaccia and add any herbs or finishing salts you want to use.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400F until golden brown on top. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn it out onto a sheet pan to finish cooling.
Instant Yeast vs. Active Dry
Instant and active dry yeast are the same thing — the difference is that active dry yeast granules have a tiny shell around them that needs to be dissolved before use.
Generally you can use the two fairly interchangeably, although active dry yeast can sometimes take a little longer to rise because that shell takes time to dissolve.
I encourage you to use instant yeast for this recipe to get the best results.
If you only have active dry yeast: Use 5 grams instead of 3 grams. Sprinkle it on top of the water, give it a stir, and then let it sit for 3-5 minutes instead of the 30 seconds the recipe calls for. This will help that shell dissolve before you start folding the dough and will allow the yeast to get to work faster.
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 and meatballs, but it's also a fantastic bread for making sandwiches with my deli tuna salad.
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.
For crispy garlic breadsticks, slice the focaccia into thin strips, arrange on a lined sheet pan, and top with minced garlic (or garlic salt), dried basil and oregano, and grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F until the cheese melts and starts to brown. These are super tasty for dipping in tomato soup!
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 revive day old focaccia, slice it thin and toast it in a skillet with a bit of butter. And if, somehow, you do have any leftovers from this mini focaccia, you can freeze it in an airtight bag.
Practical Tips & Recipe Notes
- MEASURE WITH A KITCHEN SCALE. 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. So if you have a kitchen scale, you're definitely going to want to use it here. I did include volumetric measurements (cups, teaspoons) below because I find them useful just to have in mind as I'm measuring with the scale, but I don't encourage using them.
- I usually top this mini focaccia with Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, but you can use any finishing salt you like. You can also top this with fresh herbs, veggies, or anything else you want (I've even done it as a mini version of my onion and pepper focaccia!). 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!
- If you ARE planning on using any heavier toppings — onions, tomatoes, etc — put them on the dough after dimpling but before the final rise. That way when the dough rises one last time, it rises around the toppings and secures them in place.
- I used a 9x4" (1 lb) loaf pan but you can use a 9x5" 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.
I haven't tested this, so can't say for sure. Using sourdough discard or alone won't work, however. It doesn't have enough rising power and the recipe hasn't been formulated for sourdough rising times. Using just active sourdough starter for rise would likely change all the timing of the stretching and folds and stuff.
If you do want to use sourdough and your sourdough is 100% hydration, you can try reducing the amount of flour and water the recipe calls for by 20 grams each and adding 40 grams sourdough discard to the dough. Then proceed as usual. You'll still need the instant yeast to give it rising power, but the sourdough will add flavor!
I haven't tried it, but a good rule of thumb for using Whole Wheat flour in any recipe is that you can replace up to 25% of the flour with WW flour. That would mean replacing 30 grams of the AP flour with WW flour. So you'd use 90g AP and 30g WW flour here. I wouldn't recommend using all whole wheat flour, because it's a much tougher flour that absorbs a lot more water — it's very rare that whole wheat recipes use entirely WW flour. You may also need to add a little bit more water or use very wet hands while you're doing the folding to make up for the fact that the whole wheat absorbs so much more liquid. If you give it a try, let me know!
This is because weighing baking ingredients is much more accurate that using volume (cup) measurements, especially for something as small as this mini focaccia! If your flour or water measurements are off by even 10 grams, your dough will behave much differently than it should and you won't get the same rise or texture as the recipe promises. I've included approximate volume measurements in the recipe card below to give you a sense of how much you need if you're not used to measuring by weight, but I really encourage you to use a kitchen scale if you have one.
Yes! You can actually skip the loaf pan in this case too. Drizzle olive oil on your toaster oven's sheet pan and plop the dough out there after the final set of folds. The focaccia may end up a little thinner and crispier as it will spread out into an oval shape rather than a perfect rectangle. It may also need a slightly shorter bake time, so check it after 15 minutes just in case.
I don't know, I haven't tested it! If you try it and it works please let me know by leaving a comment!
BONUS: Weight to Volume (Cups) Conversion + Instructions
I really resisted including volume measurements here, because measuring your ingredients with a kitchen scale is much more accurate and will give you the right ratio of dry and liquid ingredients so that the focaccia dough behaves the way you want it to.
I tested and developed this recipe using weight measurements for accuracy. I can't promise how it will turn out if you measure with cups because not all measuring cups are the same! That said, I am making a rare exception because of how popular this recipe is and providing them for you here. **Please read this carefully!!**
- To properly scoop flour in cups: Stir and fluff the flour in your container well so there's plenty of air in it. Use a spoon to gently spoon the flour into the one cup measure, then sweep any excess off the top. The cup should feel pretty light and the flour should not be tightly packed into it. Think of it more like a ⅞ths cup.
- To properly measure water: Use a liquid measuring cup. Place it on a flat surface, fill with water just until the water reaches the correct marker when you look at it at eye level.
- To properly measure with measuring spoons: Scoop dry ingredients flat, do not use heaping scoops. Olive oil should not overflow the rim of the measuring spoon.
Here are the mini focaccia volume measurements (use at your own risk):
- 1 scant cup all purpose flour, well aerated and properly scooped (see above)
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (use ½ teaspoon of any other brand of salt)
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
Troubleshooting: If the dough seems overly dry, use wet (instead of damp) hands to mix the dough to incorporate more water or add water ¼ teaspoon at a time until the dough looks right. If the dough seems overly wet and isn't developing strength as you fold it, very lightly dust in more flour as you do the folds.
If you measure with cups and the recipe did not turn out right, that is likely why the recipe did not turn out right. Try again!
Using the 2X/3X Buttons
If you use the 2X/3X buttons in the recipe card, they will ONLY adjust the weight measurement numbers to the left of the ingredients in the recipe card.
They will not change any numbers or measurements provided in the recipe instructions. Make sure to make those adjustments on your own!
TL;DR - Recipe Summary
- Mix together flour, salt, and yeast.
- Pour the water into the dry ingredients. Bloom the yeast on top for 60 seconds.
- Add oil and mix the dough, folding it over itself several times to make a ball.
- Cover and bulk ferment for 30 minutes, with slap-n-folds every 15 minutes for a total of two sets of folds.
- After the second set of folds, transfer dough to a greased loaf pan. Cover and rise for 1 hour.
- Drizzle with oil, then dimple the dough. Let rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil and add any toppings.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.
Loaf Pan Mini Focaccia
- Combine flour, salt, and sugar, in a medium sized bowl and mix with your hand to evenly distribute. Make a well in the center and add warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let bloom for 30-60 seconds. Add oil, then use a fork or small spatula to stir the liquid in the center, slowly incorporating flour from the sides of the bowl until a sticky dough forms.
- Switch to a bowl scraper or spatula and begin folding the dough over itself, rotating the bowl as you go until the dough is cohesive and no lumps or dry spots remain. The dough is very, very sticky at this point so do the best you can — just keep folding for about 30-60 seconds until the dough is somewhat in the shape of a ball.
- Cover the dough and let it rest 15 minutes.
- Then, with a damp hand, scoop the dough up, slap it down in the bowl and fold it over itself away from you. Repeat the folding process 4-6 times until the dough feels like it has tightened up slightly. Wet your hand as needed so the dough doesn't stick to you.Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. NOTE: This is a modified version of the "slap and fold" technique. When you scoop the dough up your fingertips should be curved under, pointing toward your body. When you pick the dough up, rotate your wrist so your thumb is up — almost like you're holding a cup. Then "slap" the dough on the near side of the bowl and fold it away from you. The idea is to rotate the dough 90 degrees between each fold so you're folding in both directions. This builds structure in the dough and you will feel it tightening up as you work.
- Repeat the folding process one last time (4-6 folds). The dough will still be pretty squishy and sticky, but should be smoother and have more structure to it than the earlier sets of folds. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, then drizzle in approximately 1 tablespoon 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°-75°F) 1 hour.
- After an hour, the dough should have increased slightly in size and will have filled out more of the pan. 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.Cover, and let rise for another 30 minutes until the dough is airy and bubbly and has filled in the bottom of the pan.
- During the final 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 400°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.
- For best success with this recipe you must use a kitchen scale. I can't make any promises for how well it will turn out if you measure the flour using cups. A scant 1 cup of flour will be more like ⅞ cup. Stir the flour well in the container, then scoop it loosely into your measuring cup and use the back of a knife to sweep any excess off the top. The cup will not seem full. If your dough looks dense or dry or isn't wet like mine is in the video or photos, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time during the first mixing step until it looks right.
- If using ACTIVE DRY instead of INSTANT yeast, increase yeast to 5 grams.
- If measuring by volume and not using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, use half the amount by volume.
UPDATE 4/12/21 — A huge thanks to my volunteer recipe testers Beth, Sarah, Lisa, Cecile, Kelly, Rachel, and Christine who gave this a try after someone commented that the dough was "impossible to handle." They gave me some great feedback and sent so many gorgeous photos of their own focaccia loaves.