I could spend all day listing the great things about focaccia. 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.
But instead, I’m going to be a downer and focus on the one bad thing about focaccia: It makes too much.
Now, too much of a good thing is usually great (give me all the chocolate cake). But focaccia 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. On top of that, most recipes are made in a half-sheet pan or a 9" x 13" pan, making them large-format breads with a high yield. If you’re baking for a party or a large group, that’s great! If you live in a small household or a single-person home like me, however, that can leave you with too much focaccia and not enough people to eat it.
Thankfully, there’s now a solution: Small-Batch Focaccia. It’s everything you love about focaccia, designed for a 9" x 5" or 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan instead. It makes just enough focaccia for a few people to enjoy alongside dinner or for a couple of big sandwiches — just slice in half crosswise and stuff with your favorite sandwich fillings.
But as if that wasn’t enough, this bread is topped wall to wall with a layer of cheese that browns while baking to create a salty, crunchy crust where the dough meets the edges of the pan. Because there is a greater edge-to-middle ratio when you bake focaccia in a loaf pan instead of a sheet pan (not to mention the loaf pan has higher sides), you’re ensured a lot of crispy, cheesy bites. Nodding to the recent trend toward pan-baked Detroit-style pizza, Martin Philip, this recipe’s developer, calls it “essentially a Detroit-style focaccia.”
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. The dough is developed with just two bowl folds, rather than kneading, which means there’s no stand mixer or intensive arm workouts required. From there, you follow the same basic focaccia template — shape, dimple, bake — with the cheese topping added midway through baking.
Like all focaccia, this is best the day it’s made. But since it’s a small batch recipe, you’ll have no problem polishing it off in a single sitting, with plenty of ingredients left to make a second batch tomorrow.
Cover photo by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.