Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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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.

Bread Making Is Easy To Learn And Bake At Home

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!

Two balls of bread on top of each other with the bottom one larger than the top. Grooves scored around the outside.
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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.

Making The Bread Dough Using A 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.

  • With dough hook attached mix on low speed until all the ingredients are combined.

Mixing dough using a stand mixer.

  • 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 after each mixing period until the dough passes the 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.

  • Leave until the dough has doubled in size.

Making The Dough 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 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

For both methods given:

  • 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.
  • Score 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

Proving The Cottage Loaf A Second Time

  • Cover with a tea towel, leave in a draft free place until doubled in size, 45 – 60 minutes.
  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C/230C, gas mark 9, 500F.
  • 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.

Baking The Cottage Loaf

  • As soon as 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, 450F.
  • 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. Do not to keep in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

FF Cottage Loaf Breadmaking Tutorial

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

Farmhouse White Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf
Seeded Cob Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit 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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Large White Bloomer

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Hello and thank you for stopping by. I’m so excited to share my recipe for a Large White Bloomer today. Because, this bread is easy to make and even easier to eat!

Freshly baked crusty, organic, white bread on a cooling rack.
Large White Bloomer

I was inspired to make this Large White Bloomer by a loaf I saw on Twitter. Ooh it looked good and I knew I had to try and make my own loaf. And I am so glad that I did. Because now I get to share the recipe with you.

Large White Bloomer

You may wonder why you should make your own bread? Since most supermarkets sell freshly baked bread and most high streets still have a bakery. Yet, I can honestly say that nothing beats the taste and smell of fresh, homemade bread. Also, you know exactly what has gone into your loaf. Have you looked at the ingredient list on plastic wrapped bread lately? Even supermarket bakery bread contains flavour enhancers, flour improvers and all manner of other additives that aren’t present in a home baked loaf.

While you may not bothered by the additives in shop bought bread, what about the cost? My Large White Bloomer is made with organic, stone ground flour and costs no more than £1.00 to make! Have I got your attention now?

 

Large White Bloomer www.feastingisfun.com
Large White Bloomer www.feastingisfun.com

 

A Tasty And Cost Effective Bake

Since we are a family of five we eat a lot of bread. So, it is simply too cost effective for me NOT to make our own bread. No we don’t eat all organic food. And yes, I do occaisionally buy bread. Although, everytime I do it reminds me why I bake my own. It takes very little time, especially if you use a bread maker or stand mixer to do the kneading/mixing part for you. Even if you knead by hand, double up on this recipe, pop one loaf in the freezer and timewise you’re quids in.

Have I convinced you? What I love about this Large White Bloomer is, the only piece of baking equipment you need is a baking tray. Also you will be able to make and bake my Seeded Cob Loaf.

Recipe : Makes 1 Large White Bloomer

400ml/14 fl oz Warm Water – body temp.

10g/3tsp/1.5 Sachet Dried Easy Bake Yeast – I use Allinson

2tsp Honey

675g/1.5lb Strong Plain White Flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling

10g/1.5tsp Salt – I use Maldon

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter – alternatively use 1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil)

Method :

Note : if making by hand, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes before proving. The dough will be sticky to start but continue kneading and it will transform into a soft, pliable dough.

The ‘bowl’ refers to a large bowl for hand mixing, a stand mixer bowl, or a bread maker pan.

Making The Dough

Place the water into a bowl. Add the yeast and honey. Use your clean fingers to swish and mix everything together.

Add the flour. On top add the salt and butter.

In all methods stir the ingredients with the end of a wooden spoon 10 times.

Set your bread maker to dough cycle and start. When the dough cycle is complete, restart the mixing cycle on your bread maker. Allow to mix and knock back your dough for 5 minutes. Follow instructions with the photographs.

Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer. Mix on low – medium speed for 15 minutes. Stop the mixer, clean the dough off of the hook, form into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

If mixing by hand bring all the ingredients together using one hand and proceed as above for kneading. Form the dough into a ball, place into a bowl and proceed as for stand mixer.

Shaping The Large White Bloomer

For stand mixer or hand mixed dough, once the dough is doubled in size, punch down into the bowl to knock back the dough. Hand knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 – 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.

Whichever method you use, as soon as the dough has been knocked back and mixed or kneaded, place on a lightly floured surface.

On a floured surface form the dough into a ball.
On a floured surface form the dough into a ball.
Roll the dough out until it is 2.5cm/1" thick.
Roll the dough out until it is 2.5cm/1″ thick.
Fold the top third, like an envelope.
Fold the top third, like an envelope.
Fold the bottom third up and over the top third.
Fold the bottom third up and over the top third.
Turn the dough over, you should have a lovely bloomer shape. Place on a greased baking tray.
Turn the dough over, you should have a lovely bloomer shape. Place on a greased baking tray.
Using a sharp knife cut 4-5 slashes across the dough.
Using a sharp knife cut 4-5 slashes across the dough.
Dust the loaf with flour.
Dust the loaf with flour.

Proving The Shaped Loaf

I actually used the excess flour from the worktop to dust my loaf with. Because waste not want not!

Cover the loaf with a clean , dry cloth and leave again in a draught free place until doubled in size, mine took 45 minutes on a warm day, don’t worry if it takes longer. Because, the longer bread takes to rise (prove) the deeper the flavour.

15 minutes before your loaf is ready to bake, place a tray/grill pan in the bottom of the oven and fill with water. Preheat your oven to its hottest – 230C/210C fan, gas mark 8, 450F. 

When your loaf is doubled in size remove the towel.

Large White Bloomer ready for the oven.
Large White Bloomer ready for the oven.

 

Baking The Bread

Place your loaf in the middle of the preheated, steamy oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 220C/200C fan oven, gas mark 7, 425F and bake for 20 – 30 minutes depending on how dark you like your crust. My loaf was baked for 25 minutes.

When golden and crusty remove your Large White Bloomer from the oven.

Taking care, as the bread is extremely hot, turn it over and rap your knuckle against the base. The bread is baked if you hear a hollow sound.

Large White Bloomer a gorgeous, golden loaf.
Large White Bloomer a gorgeous, golden loaf.

 

Cooling The Bread – An Important Step

Transfer your bread to a cooling rack. Doing so will avoid it getting a soggy bottom. Breathe in deeply. And remember the smell. Because this is the wonderful smell of homemade bread and can’t buy that!

Large White Bloomer leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Large White Bloomer leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

While it may be tempting to slice straight into your loaf, it’s better to leave it to cool completely as it will slice better. If you can’t resist tearing a chunk off go ahead. Also it may be a good idea to bake another loaf, as warm bread is addictive and easily snaffled!

Large White Bloomer golden crust, white crumb delicious www.feastingisfun.com
Large White Bloomer

 

Large White Bloomer homemade bread is the BEST! www.feastingisfun.com
Large White Bloomer homemade bread is the BEST!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for a Large White Bloomer you may also like these:

Farmhouse White Loaf

Farmhouse White Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Crunchy Seeded Bread 

Crunchy Seeded Bread
Crunchy Seeded Bread

Oat Bran White Bread

Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

 

When I make bread for people as a gift (and I use the word make in it’s loosest term as my bread maker does the hard stuff) it always receives a rapturous welcome. And out of everything I bake it is probably the MOST appreciated.

If you make this loaf I’d love to see it. Find me on Twitter @sammiefeasting.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

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

Extra Bread Shaping Tips

To make a longer, more uniform bloomer loaf, follow these steps.

Following the last fold of the dough, turn it over and roll the dough using both hands, while gently encouraging the dough to lengthen. Doing so will even out the dough, resulting in a longer, more uniform shape.

Place the dough onto a greased baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to prove for 30 minutes, dust lightly with flour and then score across the dough five times.

Leave the dough to prove for a further 15 minutes and then bake in a preheated oven as given in the recipe.

Showing how to score dough to create beautiful baked bread.
Scoring through the dough.

Also, scoring the dough allows the bread to expand while baking. Not scoring the dough is likely to cause the bread to burst at its weakest point while baking, creating an irregular shaped loaf.

Pinterest image of a crusty bread loaf.

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