Hey! Hi. Hi! I’ve been eating a lot of bread. And I think it’s related, but I’m feeling very happy these days.
It’s a very good thing. The weather got cold again and so I sat in front of the oven, tore off large pieces of this homemade focaccia, and dunked it in excessive amounts of peppery olive oil. My fingers are greasy, but my belly is full. I love being well-fed.
I put a call out on instagram a few weeks ago asking for recipe requests. I scanned the list several times (thank you guys so much), and noticed an overwhelming number of requests for small batch yeast breads.
I love baking bread. I love working with yeast. (Have you seen my small-batch cinnamon rolls?) It’s magic in the kitchen! I’m so happy to tackle this request. I have quite a few breads on my list to make, but I wanted to start with something easy.
Something quick. Minimal effort, maximum reward. You know how I roll.
This is also how I roll:
Homemade focaccia. You’ve had it, right? It’s a rich dough made with olive oil and covered with herbs, and it’s typically not more than 1″ high. It’s thicker than a flat bread, but not suitable for making a true bread loaf.
After 5 failed recipe attempts, I’ve decided that the reason focaccia doesn’t rise very high is due to the copious amounts of olive oil. I also decided that the reason focaccia is so delicious is due to the copious amounts of olive oil.
Focaccia bread is the BEST sandwich bread, if you ask me. It’s light and fluffy, and very easy to bite through. I love eating it simply dunked in olive oil, but I also love to make a salami, brown mustard, marinated artichoke and pickled carrot sandwich with it (I’m not high maintenance, I swear).
Some people compare focaccia to pizza dough, but this is a comparison I don’t understand. Pizza dough is thin and chewy; focaccia is soft and fluffy. If your pizza dough is fluffy, I don’t think you’re making pizza dough correctly. But that’s just me. I think the comparison is referring to the Italian roots of both doughs.
Rosemary is traditional on top of focaccia dough, and I have a heavy hand with it. I used the older, woodier tips of my rosemary plants, and I mention that because if you use young, tender rosemary leaves, it has a tendency to stain your dough green. No big deal, really, but I don’t like explaining to dinner guests why I’m serving green bread. I already have to explain so many things, like why my child eats all of the food on her plate and then begs for yours too. And how is it possible that a child of her size puts away so much sauerkraut. Oh, and did I notice my baby has quite a large belly and is looking rather chunky today? Yes yes, and that’s just how I like my babes.
We’ve strayed off course. Homemade focaccia bread made in a quarter sheet pan (<–link to the one I use) for a smaller serving size. That’s what you’re here for today, correct?
A few final recipe notes:
- A quarter sheet pan sounds super fancy. It’s not. It’s basically half of a normal-sized sheet pan. If you don’t have one, you can absolutely make this bread with a regular sheet pan, but know that it will spread a bit more. Keep an eye on the edges while it bakes.
- Olive oil. Be generous and loving with it. Pour it in the dough, pour it liberally on the pan, and then lovingly brush it again when it comes out of the oven. It’s the key here.
- Please make sure your yeast is fresh and alive. Wait a full 15 minutes to make sure it blooms in the warm water. If its alive, it will be very noticeably foamy. The most common failure with yeast bread is using water that is too hot, which kills the yeast. Don’t be a murderer. Use slightly warm, not hot, water.
- I call for 1/2 cup of olive oil, which is 8 tablespoons total. You’ll use 1/4 cup in the actual dough, and then divide the remaining 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) between the pan and the top of the dough before baking. Easy, right?
- Can you double this recipe and make more? Honestly, guys, I have no idea. I spend my life scaling down recipes, so I don’t turn around and then scale them back up. That would probably land me in the crazy house, you know? This recipe makes 9 generous pieces. Enough for 4 sandwiches (and a snack for the cook!)
I love you, and can’t wait until our next yeast bread adventure!
Yields 9 pieces
Homemade focaccia bread with rosemary--small batch bread recipe.
2 hr, 15 Prep Time
20 minCook Time
2 hr, 35 Total Time
- 3/4 cup barely warm water (105-110°F is ideal)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided use
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Place the warm water in a small bowl, and sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Stir to dissolve, and let sit for 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, it should be very foamy and noticeably alive. It may even bubble as you stare at it!
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a mini stand mixer*, add the flour, salt, and half of the olive oil (1/4 cup). Fit the dough hook attachment into the mixer, and turn it on briefly to mix the ingredients together.
- Pour the foamy yeast water into the flour mixture. Turn the mixer to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Stop and scrape the dough down every minute or so.
- At the end of 5 minutes, the dough may be slightly sticky, but that's fine.
- Flour a surface, and knead the dough for about 30 seconds--the stickiness will completely disappear.
- Grease a small bowl, and place the dough inside. Let rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, about an hour in my cold, drafty house by the oven.
- Pour two tablespoons of the remaining olive oil on a quarter sheet pan (measures 9 x 13 x 1"), and spread it evenly. Add the dough to the pan, and use your fingers to spread it to the corners of the pan. Try not to make too many holes, but some are okay.
- Brush the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top of the dough, and place in a warm place to rise again until doubles, about 1 hour again.
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Sprinkle the rosemary on top of the dough, and sprinkle additional salt (coarse is fun here) on top.
- Bake the bread for 18-21 minutes, until it starts to turn a light golden brown.
- Immediately after baking, flip the bread onto a cooling rack (do not let it cool in the pan). Let it cool completely before slicing and serving.
*To make this without a stand mixer, knead by hand for 10 minutes.