Recipe Review

I Tried the Wildly Popular Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia Recipe and It’s the Simple Elevation Your Dinner Needs

published Jan 22, 2023
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I Tried Loaf Pan Focaccia
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

I’m no stranger to bread baking, but I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like. While I pretty much always want a loaf of freshly baked bread, I don’t always need it, and it’s never quite as perfect when you save it for later.

Focaccia, in particular, I believe is best fresh out of the oven. But I don’t always think about putting it together with enough time to bake it off before dinner. Kitchn’s favorite focaccia recipe, for example, requires up to 16 hours from start to finish, and makes an entire sheet pan’s worth.

So when I saw this TikTok from Rebecca Eisenberg of A Practical Kitchen, I was intrigued. The recipe only requires a cup of flour and a few hours until you’re eating.

Get the recipe: Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia

How to Make Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia

This one-bowl dough is pretty simple to put together. The written recipe has you mix together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add warm water, and sprinkle instant yeast over the top. After it’s bloomed for a minute, add a bit of olive oil and mix the dry ingredients into the wet. After it comes together into a shaggy dough, cover the bowl and let rest for 15 minutes.

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

After a brief rest, you’ll do a few turns and folds using a modified “slap and fold” technique. Rebecca has both a video and gifs demonstrating the method, but it’s an alternative to kneading that helps build structure in the dough. You’ll let the dough rest again, covered, for another 15 minutes. Repeat the folding technique, then place the dough in a well-oiled loaf pan. Let rise for one hour.

At this point, the dough should have filled out most of the pan. Use oiled fingers to stretch it out to the corners and press your fingers into the dough to create dimples. Preheat the oven to 400°F and let the dough rest for a final 30 minutes. 

At this point, add a little more oil to the top of the dough and sprinkle with flaky salt or other flavorings. Bake until golden-brown for 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and eating. 

My Honest Review of Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia

I enjoyed this bread! The prep required some timing, but wasn’t difficult at all. Even if you’re new to bread-making, this is a simple and quick recipe to get you started.

I liked that I didn’t have to flour countertops and get lots of dishes messy. Instead, I was able to keep it all contained in the bowl. I started prep around 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning while I made a second cup of coffee and cleaned up general breakfast dishes. I went back and did some computer work while it was rising. It came out of the oven around 12:30 p.m. and while it cooled, I put together a big green salad with a creamy Italian dressing. My husband and I split the bread and salad for a midday lunch date with cozy Olive Garden vibes, but at home. This would also be a great recipe for a weekend afternoon for a two-person household. Homemade bread elevates the simplest meal!

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

While I was ultimately successful, I did have a little trouble with the recipe as written. The original TikTok was definitely a teaser that encourages you to check out her full profile and blog. I made sure to watch the full video, read through the extensive headnotes, as well as the entire recipe on Rebecca’s blog. There are definite discrepancies between the three. To be fair, I followed the directions written in the full recipe. 

First and foremost, she really recommends using a kitchen scale and I definitely agree. While I did weigh the dry ingredients, I measured the water by volume. Flour measurements can vary a ton due to the way it can compact into a measuring cup, but I figured with water it was fine to use the 1/3 cup volume measurement included in the recipe. As the dough was coming together, I noticed that it was a tight ball versus loose and super sticky as indicated in the recipe. I ended up weighing 1/3 cup of water, and it turns out I was a full 20 grams short. I added it to the dough and proceeded as written. I went back after the fact and 90 grams of water was 3 ounces by volume for me. 

I was also a little confused about the amount of turns and folds required. I ended up doing six folds two times after the dough came together. The video indicates to do 10 to 12 folds each time. I am also not entirely sure if you’re supposed to do this process two or three times — the video makes it seem like three. 

Finally, I let the dough rise for the final 30 minutes. It hadn’t risen much, but definitely filled out the pan and had bubbles so I popped it in the oven as directed. The video, however, says to let it rise 30 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. I definitely would let it take its time next time — I ended up with a pretty flat loaf. 

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

3 Tips for Making Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia

  1. Weigh your ingredients. This is generally recommended for all bread baking, but as Rebecca mentions, it’s especially important for this small-format bread. The amounts are small enough that measuring by volume can really impact your outcome.
  2. Grease your loaf pan really well. Don’t be shy with the olive oil. It really flavors the dough and keeps it from totally adhering to the pan.
  3. Let your dough double in size before baking. This wasn’t clear in the recipe, but I think it is important to getting a super-pillowy focaccia. Go by looks, not just the clock.

Get the recipe: Mini Loaf Pan Focaccia