Have you ever watched the Great British Baking Show? As you know, I'm totally addicted to cooking shows. If I had my way we'd be watching them all day long. I get a kick out of seeing what they make and it often starts my wheels turning and I get some awesome ideas on things I want to bake myself!
Anyhow, I'm now in a group that is doing a Bake-A-Long with this show. We aren't doing exactly what the show is doing but we had a biscuit week and a cake week just like they do on the show. We get our guidelines and off we go! It's been really fun so far and I can't wait to do the rest of the challenges.
One week we had a technical baking challenge. For this week we needed to make the recipe exactly as it is written. The recipe was for Cottage Loaf which apparently is a Traditional English Bread. I had never heard of it before but I was up for the challenge. There is nothing like the scent of fresh baked bread so I was ready to go. A little yeast wasn't going to scare me!
I got all of my ingredients together and started mixing them in the bowl. As a side note, be careful how much of the additional water you add in! I added in too much and then had to add in more flour which I did not want to do. I really think I could have done without any extra water in the bowl.
Once I had the dough together I kneaded it then let it rise. Then I had to punch it down and shape it. To do this you actually make two pieces and then stack them on top of each other. Then I let it rise again and finally I sliced and baked it.
This loaf turned out HUGE. I'm not kidding you, it baked up big and bad. It actually looked pretty good and I was excited to try it. As soon as it came out of the oven my husband and I had a piece. J wanted some as well so we gave him some too. It was unanimous....this bread was a hit! We ended up eating about one third of the loaf before it even cooled.
The bread ends up being crusty on the outside but soft on the inside. We enjoyed it the second day with a bowl of soup which was absolutely delicious. I can't wait to try this loaf again!
- 3¾ c. flour
- 2¼ t. dry active yeast
- 2 t. salt
- 4 T. butter at room temperature, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 c. warm water
- Place the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the butter and 1¼ cup of warm water and mix well until combined.
- Pour in the remaining water a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture is pulling together in a ball. I only needed an additional ¼ cup of warm water.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.
- Once doubled punch the dough down and fold it into the center.
- Divide the dough into ⅓ and ⅔ chunks.
- Take the bigger piece and pat it into a rectangle. Fold it over in thirds lengthwise and then fold each end in and stretch the dough into a circle.
- Repeat these steps with the smaller dough as well.
- Place the smaller circle on top of the bigger circle and gently push down. Flour one finger from each hand and stick them all the way down into the dough to bind them together.
- Cover and let rise about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Pour water into a large glass pan and set the pan of water in the bottom rack of the oven.
- Once the bread has finished rising, slash it into 8 pieces, dust with flour, and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until bread is cooked through.
- Bread will sound hollow when you knock on it when it is finished baking.