If there is one problem I have with freshly baked focaccia, it’s that I could down the whole tray in one sitting. So when I’m in the mood for a freshly baked savory treat, these mini focaccia – or focaccine – do just the trick. These are great as make-ahead aperitivo bites, or after-school snacks for hungry kids.
As with most focaccia, a delicious final result depends on two factors: the quality of your olive oil, and the salamoia, or an emulsification of oil and water. Choose your favorite EVOO and don’t skimp! The oil will give your dough a deep flavor, rich texture, and that deliciously crispy bottom crust, even in these mini versions. As for the salamoia, this keeps the dimples of your focaccine tender and moist, while also creating a beautiful golden crust on top.
For an extra delicious take, you can even slice these in half and fill with mortadella, or drape an anchovy on top for a kick of umami.
Mini Soft Focaccia
Makes 8 mini focaccia
100 milliliters whole milk, room temperature
¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
200 grams all-purpose flour
65 milliliters olive oil, divided
15 milliliters water
8 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
8 pitted olives, sliced in half lengthwise
Sea salt, q.b.
Dried oregano, q.b.
In a small bowl, combine the milk, yeast, and sugar, mixing with a fork or whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until you see the yeast lightly foaming. (Note: the milk should be room temperature or just barely warm to help your yeast activate. Your yeast should smell bread-y if it’s fresh! Store any open yeast in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life to about 3-4 months.)
Meanwhile, whisk or sift the flour with a pinch of sea salt in a large mixing bowl.
Once the yeast has activated, add it slowly to your flour and mix with a spoon to combine. Slowly add 50 milliliters of the olive oil, mixing with your spoon until you can mix by hand.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until it comes together in a smooth, elastic ball. Put the ball in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest for about two hours in a warm corner of your kitchen or in your oven with the light on, until the dough doubles in size.
Once doubled, turn the dough out onto your cutting board or counter and cut into 8 equal pieces (about 40 grams each). Form each piece into a small ball, then flatten with your palm into a disk about 2 inches in diameter.
Take a baking sheet and cover with parchment paper, then brush lightly with olive oil. Place your focaccine disks about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, then place in the oven to rise again for about 1 hour.
In the meantime, slice the tomatoes and olives in half. Remove the seeds and juices from the tomatoes.
In a small cup, make the salamoia: add the remaining 15 milliliters of olive oil and the water together, then mix vigorously with a fork to emulsify.
Once your mini focacce have risen, take them out of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Press your fingers into each disk to create dimples. With a pastry brush, brush liberally with the salamoia. Top each focaccia with olives and tomatoes to your liking. Sprinkle some crushed dried oregano and sea salt on top of each bread.
Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy warm out of the oven, ideally with a spritz or a glass of white wine!
Storage: the mini focaccia will keep nicely in a covered container for 1-2 days – if they last that long!