This tasty, round, cottage loaf is a fun bake to perfect at home thanks to its interesting shape - the perfect bread recipe for the ambitious beginner baker! A traditional cottage loaf is a made up of two circular layers of deliciously enriched white bread to give it its distinct shape. Our recipe, using a good helping of yeast, has a beautiful crumb and springy texture. We've tried and tested our recipe to make one cottage loaf, but you could easily double or triple the mixture to make a few loaves at once. Bread freezes really well and makes a fantastic thing to pull out at the last minute to impress friends and family with. You could even slice it up before freezing so each piece is ready to defrost more quickly, or is ready to pop straight in the toaster. Once you've mastered this cottage loaf you can choose what to put on it, the fun part! We like it still warm from the oven with a good layer of butter to melt into the top, delicious.
- 500g strong, plain white flour
- 1tsp salt
- 60g butter, cubed
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- Beaten egg, for glaze
- Baking sheet, buttered
- Tip the flour and salt into a bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the dried yeast.
- Pour in 300ml warm water and mix into the flour to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 10 mins, either in an electric machine or by hand, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Break off about a third of the dough. Shape the larger piece into a ball and place it on a baking sheet. Shape the smaller piece into a ball. Brush a little water on the centre of the larger ball and then place the smaller ball on top. Use a floured finger to press all the way down through the centre of the loaf, as far as possible, so it almost touches the baking sheet. Use the tip of a knife to score lines about 5mm deep through the dough, marking it into 12 wedges.
- Cover the loaf with a clean tea towel or a piece of oiled cling film and leave it to prove in a warm place for 45-60 mins, or until it's doubled in size.
- Set the oven to 220°C.
- Remove the tea towel or cling film from the loaf and brush with the egg glaze. Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until it's an even, golden colour, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on its base.
- Slide the loaf on to a wire rack to cool.
Sue McMahon is a former Food and Recipes Writer at GoodTo and Cooking Editor at Woman's Weekly. Her primary passion is cakes and Sue regularly travels the world teaching cake decorating. Her biggest achievement to date was winning the Prix d’honneur at La Salon Culinaire International de Londres beating over 1,200 other entries.
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