Focaccia—Incredibly Easy to Make and Incredibly Good to Eat!

Isn’t focaccia bread the best? Considered to be part of the flatbread group, it’s simple to make and perfect for beginner bread bakers. It has a fluffy, airy interior and crisp, crunchy crust. It goes with everything and it’s divine alone.

This simple bread requires only basic ingredients: just a cup of bread flour (which gives the focaccia its supple, chewy texture), salt, yeast, water, and olive oil, plus a finishing combo of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan for that irresistibly cheesy topping. And the procedure for creating a loaf is simple, too: shape, dimple, bake. Then you finish with the cheese topping added midway through baking.

There is one drawback to focaccia, however. Unless you’re baking for a large crowd, it makes too much. While too much of a good thing can be great, if we’re talking chocolate cake, it’s not good when we’re talking focaccia.

This is because it has a short shelf life; it’s really best the day it’s made and rapidly declines in quality from there, growing dry and stale. Most focaccia recipes are made in a half-sheet pan or a 9" x 13" pan, making them large-format breads with a high yield.

I found a solution to this “short shelf life” dilemma, though. King Arthur Flour created a half-batch recipe so you’ll have no problem polishing it off in a single sitting. Now you can enjoy its many admirable qualities — the golden crust; the olive oil aroma; the tender, fluffy interior with no fear of any of it going to waste!

Give this recipe a try the next time you’re in a baking mood. It takes about 4 and a half hours from start to finish (but only 15 minutes to prep).

Small Batch Cheesy Focaccia


1 cup (120g) King Arthur Unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85g) water lukewarm (100 degrees)
3 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided
1/2 cup (57g) mozzarella cheese whole or part-skim, preferably grated from a block
1/4 cup (25g) Parmesan cheese shredded

To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast until well combined. Add the water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Mix until thoroughly combined and homogenous.

Cover the dough and place it in a warm spot (about 70°F to 75°F) for 15 minutes, then give it a bowl fold: Use a wet hand to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, then press it down into the middle. Give the bowl a quarter-turn (90°) and repeat 3 to 6 times, until you’ve circled the dough and it’s become resistant to stretching.

Cover the dough, set aside for another 15 minutes, then perform the bowl fold again.

After the second fold, cover the dough and allow it to rest for about 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s slightly puffy but not necessarily doubled in size.

To shape the dough: Coat the inside of a 9" x 5" or 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, being sure to oil up the sides of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and turn it once to coat in oil.

Gently press and stretch the dough, using your fingertips to dimple the surface and encourage it to cover the entire pan. (If your dough resists, cover it, let it rest for 30 minutes, and try again.)

Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough is visibly puffy and has filled the pan. It should rise to about 1 1/2" to 2" below the top of the pan.

In the last 45 minutes of the rise time, preheat the oven to 500°F with a baking stone or steel on the bottom rack.

To bake the focaccia: Bake the focaccia for 8 minutes on the stone, until it turns very lightly golden on top, then carefully remove it from the oven. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the dough around the edges first, pressing it up the sides of the pan. Cover the center with a light layer of the remaining cheese. (Concentrating the cheese on the pan’s edges gives you the maximum amount of crispy frico, the cheesy crust.)

Return the focaccia to the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is crispy and golden brown at the edges and melted and bubbling in the center.

Remove the cheesy focaccia from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Immediately run a thin knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan in order to prevent the cheese from cooling and sticking to the sides. Let the cheesy focaccia cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Storage instructions: The cheesy focaccia is best enjoyed the day it’s baked. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days; to reheat, wrap in foil and place in a low-temperature (300°F) oven until warm.

KING ARTHUR BAKERS’ TIP: For a cheese-free (though still flavorful) variation of this small-batch focaccia, top the dough with an assortment of olives, small rosemary sprigs, and/or flaky salt before step 8 (the final rise).

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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Finally, and by the way, were you aware that depending on how you top it, focaccia can turn into a full-meal-deal? Consider topping it with not just cheese, but fresh spinach, minced garlic, mushrooms, prosciutto or cooked sausage, tomato slices, artichokes, and so on. Think of it as a very thick and crispy-crusted pizza.

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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