Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For me, nothing quite compares to the beauty, taste and smell of homemade bread. Four ingredients, flour, yeast, water and salt, when mixed together, worked, rested, shaped and baked give such incredibly satisfying results. Bread is surely the heart of any feast and therefore, teaching  others to bake it is of upmost importance to me. Using step by step instructions and photographs, you too can learn how to make and bake this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Inspired by a friend on Twitter, who claimed that bread baking was beyond her, I set out to show her she could. While she is a very accomplished baker, far more so than me, bread is her baking stumbling block. Everyone can make bread. Are you wary of baking bread? With this guide and a relaxing cup of tea, read through and then get baking!

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf soft crumb with crunchy crust.

Following the techniques and tips in this recipe will guarentee that you too, can make delicious, homemade bread. Also the more that you practise, the more confident and better you will get a baking bread at home. It is important to remember that occaisionally a loaf of bread will turn out mishapen. Rarely is it inebible though!

Recipe: Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

320mls Water at room temperature

1/2tsp Caster Sugar

7g Dried Yeast make sure that is reasonably fresh (3 months old max) – I use Allinson in the green tub/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Method: For making by hand or using a stand mixer with dough attachment.

You will need a large, buttered baking tray.

Stand Mixer:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer in the order that they are listed. This ensures that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the yeast.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Adding ingredients to the bowl in the correct order.
  • With dough hook attached mix on low speed until all the ingredients are combined.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Ingredients have come together to form a dough.
  • At this point if you wish to knead by hand, scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl. See making by hand method.
  • Continue mixing the dough on medium speed for a further 10 minutes.
  • After the kneading time has elapsed stop the machine and tear off a small piece of dough. Stretch it between your fingers until it is so thin that light can be seen through it. This is known as the windowpane test. If it tears whilst stretching, add back to the dough and continue to mix for a further 2 minutes as before. Repeat the test after each further mixing period until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the covered bowl in a draught free place, away from a direct heat source.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
No shaping, simply leave the dough in a bowl and cover.
  • Leave until the dough has doubled in size.

Making by hand:

  • Place the flour and butter into a large bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flower using your fingertips.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the bowl on one side. Place the salt on the opposite side, so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and then add all of the water.
  • Using your hand, shaped like a claw, bring the dry ingredients into the water and mix them together.
  • Continue mixing in the bowl until the dough has formed a sticky ball.
  • Place the dough on to a clean worktop and push with the heal of your hand to tear and stretch the dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Tear a small piece of the dough and perform the windowpane test as described above. If the dough tears knead for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • Repeat the kneading and testing procedure until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

Shaping and building the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

  • When the dough has doubled in size turn out on to a lightly floured surface, ensuring the top of the dough is in contact with the worktop. What was the top is now the bottom.
  • Weigh the dough and cut off one quarter.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Turning out and dividing the dough
  • Starting with the larger piece of dough, stretch and pull one side and press down into the opposite side.
  • Now stretch and pull the opposite side. Press down as before.
  • Turn the dough and repeat 4 more times, where the edge is rough and untouched, until your dough resembles the bottom right photo.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Building tension into the dough.
  • Flip the dough over and create a ball shape. Cup your hands around the dough, tucking and turning to create a tight ball shape.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Creating a ball shaped dough using your hands.
  • Place the dough ball base of the cottage loaf, on to a prepared baking tray.
  • Repeat the streching/pulling process with the smaller piece of dough, then shape into a ball.
  • Place the smaller ball centrally on top of the base.
  • With two floured fingers push down, through the centre of the top ball, tight into the base. Doing so joins the top and bottom together, creating one loaf.
  • Slash the top 6 times and the bottom 12 times. Cut vertically, from top to bottom.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Assembling the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
  • Cover with a tea towel, leave in a draft free place until doubled in size, 45 – 60 minutes.

Baking the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C or gas mark 9.
  • 15 minutes before the loaf is ready, place a pan with 5cm/1″ of water in the base of the oven. The steam created will delay the forming of a hard crust on the loaf, allowing maximum expansion, also called oven spring, to take place.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf ready for the oven.
  • Once the loaf has doubled in size it is ready to bake.
  • Remove the tea towel and place in the middle/lower part of the oven. Make sure there is enough height room, allowing for oven spring, when placing your loaf in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at the hottest temperature and then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • Continue to bake for a further 35-45 minutes.
  • The loaf is baked when it is a deep golden colour, feels light (not heavy and dense) in your oven glove protected hands and most importantly sounds hollow when rapped on the top and base with a knuckle.
  • Remove from the oven and place immediately on to a cooling rack.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf golden and delicious.

An incredible homemade, home baked artisan style bread.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf with deeper slashes.

Serve sliced as open sandwiches, or toasted. Alternatively serve as an accompaniment to a meal, such as Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Best eaten within a day of making, this bread will keep for up to 4 days in a bread bin, which allows air to circulate. It is better not to keep this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

To freeze, thoroughly cool, then double wrap in cling film. Keep in the freezer for no longer than a month. Defrost at room temperature and refresh by placing in a moderate oven for 10 minutes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf then you make also like these:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Seeded Cob Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Baking bread is such a rewarding experience. Whether you make the entire loaf by hand, or enlist the help of kitchen machinery, each loaf will be far superior in both flavour and quality than it’s mass produced counterpart. Even if you have a great bakery in your local vicinity, baking your own means you can make unusual, rarely seen loaves such as this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

I am entering my Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in the #GBBOBloggers2017 linky hosted by http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk

 

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

I love baking and nothing is as rewarding as homemade bread. The yeasty aroma of dough proving, followed by the smell of fresh bread baking, never grows old. These Seeded Multigrain Baguettes are crunchy and full of nutty flavour. Perfect for dunking into soup, or filling with mature cheddar for a satisfying lunch.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

Since some people are scared about baking bread, here are a few tips to ensure great results. Use great quality, fresh, bread flour. Throw away any opened flour that has been sitting in the cupboard for over 6 months. Likewise, the same for yeast. Fresh yeast only lasts a few days in the fridge. Whereas dried yeast lasts longer, yet, still should be replaced after 6 months. Finally, by baking bread regularly, ingredients are used up and naturally replaced before losing their freshness.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes delicious with soup.

With bread, in its many forms; loaf, baguette, rolls etc. being so readily available in every supermarket, questions may be asked about baking baguettes at home. My personal reason is the same for everything that is cooked and baked in our kitchen. Every single ingredient is known. No additives, flavour enhancers, mould inhibitors or such are added. Each baguette, or loaf is made when required, negating the need to ensure that it stays fresh for an entire week.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes no artificial additives.

Satisfaction gained from making, shaping and baking bread dough is reward enough. Although superior flavour and freshness cannot be beaten. Eaten within 30 minutes of cooling, from the oven, sets homemade baguettes apart from their mass produced counterparts. Also no ‘invisible’ nasties enter the digestive system  from supposedly ‘healthy’ food.

Recipe: Seeded Multigrain Baguettes makes 4

340ml Water at room temperature

7g/Sachet Dried Yeast – I use Allinson

250g/9oz Strong White Bread Flour

250g/9oz Strong Multigrain/Malted with Seeds Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill 

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

4tbsp Mixed Seeds

Method:

This method uses a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. You may easily mix and knead by hand, following the shaping technique given.

  • Place the stand mixer bowl on top of digital scales. Weighing ingredients, including water is, by far, the most accurate way to bake.
  • Weigh 340g water into the bowl. One gram equals one millilitre of water.
  • Next add the yeast.
  • Add the bread flours on top of the yeasted water. Keeping the yeast and salt separate allows the yeast to work without the salt killing it.
  • Weigh the salt and butter directly on to the flour.
  • With a dough hook attached mix on a low speed for 5 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for a further 5 minutes.
  • As soon as the mixing time has finished switch off the stand mixer. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it. When fully kneaded the dough should stretch without tearing, so that light can been seen through it – windowpane test. Continue to mix on medium speed for a further 2 minutes, until this test is passed.
  • As soon as the dough is fully kneaded, switch off the mixer and scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl, using your fingers.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, turn out on to a lightly floured worktop. Make sure the top of the dough in the bowl is in contact with the worktop, becoming the underneath.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Dividing the dough into four equal portions.
  • Pull out the dough 5-6 times, from the side and press into the centre of the dough ball.
  • Turn the dough over, shape into a rough log and cut into 4 even portions.
  • Take the first piece of dough, turn on its side and pull 4-5 times from around the edge. Sticking each piece of dough back into the centre as before.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Shaping each piece of dough into a baguette.
  • Start to roll the dough into a log shape. Beginning at the front edge, use your thumb to roll the dough, as in top left picture above.
  • With the seam underneath place your hands in the centre of the log and start to roll the dough, gently easing it from the centre.
  • Continue rolling the dough until it is 10″/25cm. Finally roll either end to a point.
  • Place on to a baking tray or a perforated baguette baking tray.
  • Shape the remaining pieces of dough in the same way.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes proving.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to prove until doubled in size.
  • While the baguettes are proving preheat the oven to its hottest setting. Place a pan of water in the base of the oven.
  • Once doubled in size spray, or lightly brush each baguettes with water. Sprinkle over the mixed seeds.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes ready to be baked.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 230C/210C fan, gas mark 8.
  • Place the baguettes on their trays into the oven. The baguette baking trays fit in at an angle.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. The baguettes will be golden and sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle when fully baked.
  • As soon as they are baked remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes Hot from the oven.
  • Leave to cool until just warm.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes made at home.

Serve filled with your favourite sandwich fillings, or break apart and dunk in soup. Enjoy these baguettes on the day they are made, or alternatively, freeze wrapped in aluminium foil, for up to one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Seeded Multigrain Baguettes you may also like these:

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Lighter Wholemeal Bread

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Easy Crusty Baguettes

Making bread at home is so much fun. Including children in the process is almost foolproof. Dough is a great medium to play with. Especially with children, who, in my experience, are much more likely to eat what they have made. Pizzas are another big hit. It is amazing how a piece of green bell pepper can become a light sabre. This Better Than Takeout Pizza is a great recipe to try.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun enjoying your feast.

Sammie xx

Please do not copy any part of this post. All content is covered by copyright laws. For further details see my Disclosure Policy.

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