Growing up, my mother made a loaf of homemade bread in our bread maker every Sunday during the cold winter months. Sunday's lunch was often the most looked forward to meal of the week, as it was always prepared from scratch and with lots of love. Homemade soups and stews were the feature, but a loaf of homemade bread was never amiss. My family devoured the loaf of bread in one sitting, arguing over the final pieces.
Everyone, of course, but me.
I was a picky eater. I was an indignant eater. I didn't like sandwiches. I didn't like bread. And I certainly didn't like crust. Occasionally I'd manage to eat half a piece of my mother's homespun bread, but I always opted for the saltines if they made an appearance. As it so happens, over the years my tastes evolved and I found myself wanting to eat more bread and less saltines. However, because I was an indignant eater (and terribly stubborn to boot), I couldn't let my mother know I actually liked her bread.
So, I begrudgingly ate my saltines and lifted my nose at the sight of the beautiful, crusty bread. I did this for years.
Stubbornness was (and still is) one of my many flaws.
It wasn't until I moved out on my own that I began to eat bread with great fervor, savoring each piece as I wish I had in the previous years. When I moved to Montreal, my love for bread flourished. With a dozen bakeries in walking distance wafting the smell of yeast and crusty bread into the streets, a baguette or two found its way to my kitchen more than my waistline would have liked.
Baking my own bread has really allowed me to appreciate each loaf for its own unique taste and texture. This Rosemary Focaccia was my first foray into the realm of focaccia and, long after this bread has disappeared, I still find myself wishing for just another piece.
Oh, what I would give for just another piece...
This Rosemary Focaccia is salty and chewy, with an unbelievable crust. The bread is made with fresh rosemary, coarse sea salt, cracked pepper, and olive oil. The bread's thick crust develops from baking in the oil, giving it an almost fried quality. It is perfect served plain, with no additions or spreads. This bread shines on its own. I've made this bread twice in the last couple weeks and, though it is fairly involved, I have a feeling it will make an appearance again very soon.