Small-Batch Cheesy Focaccia

Recipe by Martin Philip

Focaccia has many admirable qualities — the golden crust; the olive oil aroma; the tender, fluffy interior! — but a short shelf life. It’s best enjoyed the same day it’s made. That’s where this small cheesy focaccia comes to the rescue. Among four eaters, it’s easy to polish off in one meal (and two people would have no trouble finishing it up, slice by slice, over the course of an afternoon). This small focaccia also has an extra special element: a handful of cheese that’s scattered over the top halfway through baking that melts into an extra-crispy crust.  

15 mins
17 to 22 mins
4 hrs 40 mins
1 small focaccia
Small-Batch Cheesy Focaccia - select to zoom
Small-Batch Cheesy Focaccia - select to zoom
Small-Batch Cheesy Focaccia - select to zoom
Small-Batch Focaccia - select to zoom


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

  2. 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.  

  3. 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. 

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

  5. After the second fold, cover the dough and allow it to rest for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it’s slightly puffy but not necessarily doubled in size. 

  6. 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. 

  7. 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.)  

  8. 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.  

  9. 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. 

  10. To bake the focaccia: Turn the oven temperature down to 450°F, then bake the focaccia for 8 to 10 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.)  

  11. Return the focaccia to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is crispy and golden brown at the edges and melted and bubbling in the center. 

  12. 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.  

  13. 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. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • 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).