Cottage Loaf Bread

Cottage Loaf Bread
One of the things that I love about bread making is the variety of shapes that can be given to the bread and have fun with it. As much as I like to bake bread at home, I like to play with the dough and give it a new look. It's fun eating as well. The above shape is called a Cottage Loaf and is originally a British bread. The upper part of the bread is actually not supposed to slide much side-wards like it's the case here. The reasons that this happened are, first, the water content in the bread was more than it should have been to ensure that the top part of the bread remains straight. However, less water means that the texture would be somewhat dry and slightly on the harder side which I do not prefer. Secondly, because of the extremely hot and humid climate at the moment, the dough became soft and loose than it normally is making it difficult to let the dough rise upwards rather than side-wards. Anyways, however it looked, it's texture and taste was how it should have I'm still happy!

Cottage Loaf Bread
This recipe is from Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno's book Bread. If you are fond of making your own breads, you should seriously consider adding this book to your collection. It's a very nice book with a lot of different types of bread shapes and recipes.

There's one thing that I would like to mention today. Though I give steps to knead the dough by hand, you can by all means use a stand mixer to make the bread dough thereby saving your time and some muscle power. The reason I prefer to knead the dough by hand is because I can feel the texture of the dough which gives me control of the kneading process, not to mention that I really love to feel the transformation of the sticky mass between my palms to a smooth and soft dough.

500 grams bread flour or strong white flour(or you can also use a combination of 250 grams bread flour and 250 grams all purpose flour)
375 ml water(you might need lesser or more water depending on your flour's absorbency rate).
1+1/2 teaspoons salt
1+1/2 teaspoon instant yeast(if you have a cold climate, use 1+3/4 teaspoon instead)

Click here and follow the steps till the first proofing stage. Once you knock back the dough after the initial proofing, divide the dough into two-thirds and a third(i.e. weigh the dough and remove a chunk of it that is about 33% of the total weight of the dough). Shape both the dough parts separately into a boule as shown here.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the large loaf on the sheet. Place the small loaf on top of the large loaf. Plunge your index and middle fingers together into the stacked loaves to join them together. Do not go very deep into the dough, just enough to glue them together.

Spray or brush with oil and cover loosely with a cling film till it has almost doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Remove the cling film and dust with some flour. Bake the bread until it sounds hollow at the bottom when tapped with your knuckles and is evenly browned.

Alternatively, you can check if the bread is done with a food thermometer as well. It should register at least 95 degrees C. If the bread is still underbaked, pop it in the oven for some more time until done. Remove the bread from the oven and keep it on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut a slice and enjoy your sesame seed sandwich bread with jam, preserves, butter, omelette or anything else that you would like.

Happy Baking!!!

Cottage Loaf Bread

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