Cobber Cottage Loaf

Cobber Cottage Loaf

The cottage loaf is a traditional bread shape originating from the stacking balls of dough one on top of the other to maximize oven space. A thumb pressed through the dough balls to stop them falling over in the oven. This bread dough could also be baked in a tin if you prefer.

Prep time: 10-15 mins plus extra for proving Bake time: 35-40 mins Makes: 1 cottage loaf
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  • 500g Wessex Mill Cobber Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp quick yeast (we like to use Doves Farm)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • plus oil, for tray or loaf tin
  • plus flour, for dusting


  • 2 x mixing bowls
  • 1 x large baking tray
  • or 1 x 900g/2lb loaf tin


220˚C, Fan 200˚C, 425˚F, Gas 7

  • Put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a large bowl and blend them together.

  • Pour in the water and stir until everything looks craggy and lumpy.

  • Stir in the oil and bring together a doughy mass.

  • Using your hands, gather everything together into a ball of dough.

  • Knead the dough in the bowl for a minute. Avoid adding flour if possible.

  • Cover the dough bowl with a clean tea towel and leave it in a warm place for the dough to double in size, which will take about an hour.

  • Rub some oil around the inside of a large baking tray or a 900g/2lb loaf tin.

  • Knead the dough for another minute.

  • Shape the dough and put it into the tin OR cut off about a third of the dough and roll it into a small ball.

  • Roll the larger piece of dough into a larger ball.

  • Put the larger dough ball on the prepared baking tray and place the smaller one on top.

  • Press your thumb right through the middle of the top dough ball and down into the lower dough ball.

  • Invert a large mixing bowl or large saucepan over the loaf and leave it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven.

  • Remove the inverted bowl or saucepan and gently but surely press your thumb through the dough again.

  • Bake for 35–40 minutes.

  • Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave to cool.

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