If you’re looking for a simple loaf to make, look no further. Today I’m sharing my recipe for a cottage loaf.
A cottage loaf is a super simple to make, almost as simple as a bloomer. This loaf was quite a popular one back in the day but is now less common as it takes more time to make and process, so you won’t see it as often. Smaller craft bakeries may actually sell these more frequently.
There are different types of cottage loaf and you might know this if you’re from the Birmingham region. You have a standard cottage load and a Birmingham cottage loaf, the main difference being an extra cut on the side, nothing major.
Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
500g Strong white bread flour.
10g White shortening.
Before you get into making the loaf, you’ll want to do some prep. Start by weighing up all your ingredients, lightly oiling a bowl and get any equipment you may need, such as a stand mixer and a silicon spatula.
To start on the dough, grab yourself a mixing bowl and place in the flour and salt. Whisk the ingredients to incorporate them together.
Then you can ahead and add in the yeast, shortening and water. Mix on a low speed 2 minutes, followed by a high speed for 4 minutes. The dough should be clear and leave the bowl almost clean.
Flour your work surface with a small amount of bread flour, then place on the dough onto the floured surface and give it a brief knead just until its smooth and elastic.
Grab your lightly oiled bowl and place the dough into it, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has roughly doubled in size. This is known as the proving process.
Once the dough has doubled in size, you can flour your work surface with a small amount of bread flour, then place the dough onto the flour and knock it back. knocking the dough back is simply the process of removing the gases from the dough that have built up in the dough while proving.
Bring the dough back into a ball shape and weigh the dough. Then you’ll want to divide the dough up into 1/3 and 2/3 balls of dough. The larger one is for the bottom and the smaller one is for the top, place the smaller dough ball on top of the larger one then you can secure it in place. take your finger and poke it into the centre of the dough, until you reach the very bottom and feel your work surface.
I like to place my dough onto a piece of parchment paper as it makes the dough easier to manoeuvre around when making the scores onto the dough. Take a sharp serrated paring knife and score the dough, I went with 12 cuts as that’s what I remember from college (when I say remember, I mean badly).
Loosely cover the dough with some clingfilm and leave somewhere warm until it has risen well, this is the second proof.
Now you can see the dough as proven enough, preheat your oven to 200˚c/390˚f.
Once the dough has proofed, you can remove the clingfilm and place the baking tray into your preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
You will know once the bread is done as it will be well coloured and when the bottom is tapped, it will sound hollow and that is what you’re looking for. Remove from the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack to cool fully.
After some time, you can start to slice the bread up to your desired thickness, enjoy it however you like, I like mine thickly cut, toasted with salted butter.
That’s all for today guys, I hope you enjoyed. If you did, don’t forget to share this recipe with your family and friends and enjoy it. I’ll be back soon with another blog post and YouTube video, so join me then. In the meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my other social’s – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The YouTube tutorial will be linked down below.