The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

English Cottage Bread

SallyBR's picture

English Cottage Bread

A friend of mine is from England, but has lived in the US for over 40 years - he asked me if I knew how to make "English cottage bread", which he often dreams about having


I searched this forum, found only some other kinds of cottage bread, none seemed to look like his description.


I managed to find a picture of it - if anyone has a recipe or a source (cookbook) for it, please post for me!  I would love to surprise him with a bread gift...

According to him, it is a white, soft bread, you pull apart the top, slather with butter or jam, and enjoy it




sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)
pmccool's picture

a recipe for that type of bread in one of his books.  I'll try to remember to look it up when I get home.


pmccool's picture

This recipe appeared in Tom Jaine's Baking Bread at Home book.  It makes one loaf.

Mr. Jaine notes "This cottage loaf is perhaps the ultimate symbol of British traditional baking.  Yet this shape is one of the most difficult to get right.  The dough needs to be firm so that the bottom half does not collapse under the weight of the top.  The joining of the two needs to be firm yet gentle.  All to often, the "hat" topples off.  If it does the bread will be none the worse for being misshapen."


2 cups (300 g) unbleached all purpose flour

1-1/4 cups (150 g) unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 cakes (25 g) fresh yeast

7/8 cup (200 ml) warm water (80 dF)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

beaten egg for glaze

Sift the flours and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center.  Crumble the yeast into the well and pour on the water.  stir with your finger to dissolve the yeast.  Add the oil and mix into a dough.  When it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.  The dough will be firm.

Let the dough rise in a bowl covered with oiled plastic wrap in a warm place (80 dF) for 1-1/2 hours, until doubled in size.  Turn onto a lightly floured work surface, punch down, and form into two balls, the first made of one-third of the dough, and the second made of two-thirds.  Divide by weight if you are unsure.  Let them rest for 5 minutes, covered with oiled plastic wrap.

Gently flatten the top of the larger ball and the bottom of the smaller one.  Moisten the bottom surface of the smaller one with a brush dipped in water.  Place the smaller ball on top of the larger, making sure you position it in the center, then carefully press a hole through the center from top to bottom, using the first three fingers and thumb of one hand held in an approximate cone shape.

Place the loaf on a floured baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap as well as with a large glass bowl inverted over the loaf, to prevent a skin from forming on the outside of the dough.  Let recover and rise in a warm place (80 dF) for about 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 dF.

When risen, brush again with beaten egg, then use scissors to snip small cuts at 2-inch intervals around the outsides of both the top and bottom sections of the loaf.  These will help with the expansion of the loaf in the oven.

Bake the loaf in the bottom of the oven, preferably under a "bonnet" of a large saucepan or metal bowl inverted over the loaf (allowing plenty of room for growth).  This will equalize the pull of the oven and encourage the loaf to rise straight, as well as keeping the crust soft and expandable for as long as possible.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the "bonnet" and bake for 15 minutes more so that the crust can brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Paul's notes: I haven't yet made this, so can't offer any insights.  I'm also not remembering the conversion from fresh yeast to dry yeast, although there's a vague notion rattling around in my brain that one ounce of fresh yeast is approximately equal to 1/3 ounce of dry yeast.  Better check that for yourself instead of relying on my spotty memory.  It's nice to see a recipe from 1995 that has both volume and weight measurements.  And, surprise!, it also has "Susan's Magic Bowl" technique.


SallyBR's picture

THanks a million, Paul!


this is a very well explained recipe - I will give it a try soon. My friend will be away fro 5 weeks, so that gives me enough time to practice before serving it to him



qahtan's picture


 I wouldn't say that this is a cottage loaf


 I think it is the shape that makes the loaf not some special recipe any good white loaf recipe will do just as well,,,,,, qahtan