In celebration of St. George’s Day, we’re sharing a classic, traditional British bread recipe. Essentially, a cottage loaf is two round loaves on top of each other giving it a unique appearance. The name didn’t appear in writing until the mid 19th century, but for all we know, this yummy loaf could have been around for centuries before!
- 500g (1lb) strong, plain white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 60g (2oz) butter, cubed
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- Beaten egg, for glaze
- 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 (½ pint) 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 buttered 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 (¼in) 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 Gas Mark 7 or 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.
This bread is perfect sliced up and served with jam or butter. It’s also great for adding to a ploughman’s salad with cold meats and cheeses!