Cottage loaf

Cottage loaf

Basic milk dough

By
From
Baking
Makes
2
Photographer
Vanessa Levis

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
600g baker’s flour or plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g compressed yeast
or 7g dry yeast
3 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
60g butter

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
  2. If using compressed yeast, cream the yeast with the sugar in a small bowl. If using dry yeast, stir it into the flour.
  3. If using compressed yeast, heat 1/2 cup of the milk to lukewarm and add to the yeast and sugar mixture. Mix until dissolved, then pour into the well in the flour. Stir in a little of the surrounding flour, then cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes. If using dry yeast, stir all the liquid into the flour to form a dough. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt the butter, add the remaining milk and warm slightly. Pour into the yeast batter in the bowl and gradually mix in the flour (if you are using compressed yeast and haven’t already done so). The dough for a cottage loaf should be quite stiff, so add more flour if necessary. Knead the dough, then allow it to rise until it is doubled in bulk. Knock the dough back and knead lightly for 10 minutes.
  5. Shape two thirds of the dough into a ball and place on a greased baking tray. Shape the remaining dough into a ball, place on top of the other dough, then press a floured finger right down the centre of both. Leave to rise for about 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  6. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  7. Brush the risen dough with milk, sprinkle with a little flour and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20–25 minutes. To test whether the bread is cooked, knock firmly on the base: the bread should sound hollow. If it does not, bake for a little longer.

Variation

  • Fruit loaf

    Prepare dough as for Cottage Loaf, using a little more liquid. When the dough has doubled in bulk, knock it back and knead in 125 g mixed dried fruit. Cut the dough in half, shape each portion and place in two well-greased 21 cm x 11 cm loaf tins. Cover and leave to rise for 35–40 minutes. Bake in a preheated 230°C oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20–25 minutes. Paint the loaves with honey or thick milk and sugar syrup as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack.
Tags:
baking
bakery
margaret
fulton
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