Robin and I recently took a short retreat to Cambria. During our retreat, we ate at the Sow’s Ear on Main Street, just down from our B&B. The food was good, and their bread was amazing. When I got home, I immediately tried to duplicate the bread recipe for a dinner for four people. We ate two of the loaves for dinner, kept one for ourselves, and I sent the other loaf home with our friends. Here’s what I came up with.
4 teaspoons sugar
6 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for bread tops)
5 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves (chopped fine)
2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare four 4-inch unglazed terra-cotta flower pots by cutting out circles of parchment the diameter of the flower pot bottoms. Place one circle in the bottom of each pot. Cut long, wide strips of parchment to fully line the sides.
Pour ½ cup warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar-water and let sit until foamy, about eight minutes.
Add an additional 1½ cups warm water to the bowl. Add in the olive oil, the flour, rosemary, and salt. Knead by hand for about five minutes or until the dough is elastic. Add a little flour if the dough sticks to the bowl. Set aside.
Brush another bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about one to 1½ hours.
Coat the parchment in the flower pots with cooking spray. Punch the doubled dough down, and evenly divide into four pieces. While holding a piece of dough, tuck the edges under to form a ball, then place it seam-side down in one of the prepared flower pots. Repeat with the remaining three dough balls, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until the dough rises above the flower pot rims (about another hour).
Bake the bread until dark golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before serving.