Mixing this small batch mini focaccia dough is very simple and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. 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.
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 measuring by volume and not using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, use half the amount by volume. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt has larger grains and you need less of finer salts to achieve the same results. If measuring by weight, it’s 5 grams of salt no matter what salt brand you’re using.
Original recipe: Had only 77 grams water and 3 grams of sugar. Folded 3x every 10 mins for 30 mins. Baked at 425°F instead of 400°F. Rest of the recipe follows exactly.