Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cottage Bread | Vegan Baking


It is the unique and beautiful shape of cottage bread that intrigued me and got me baking my own.
There are a lot of theories about the origins of “Cottage bread”. Most of these theories date back to the time when people had no choice to make their own bread at home. Communal wood fired ovens were shared in the village. To make sure that each family had enough bread and also to save vital space in the oven, people stuck dough on top of each other.
The other theory of course is that back then, the quality of raw ingredients such as the flour was not brilliant, and the resulting bread was very low in volume... so the easiest way to increase volume was to  stick one piece of dough on top of another of course... leading to a cottage loaf!   


A type of basic white bread that is English in origin and is unique due to its shape. The loaf is actually two round loaves – one on top of the other. The top round is smaller than the bottom round. Making a hole through the center of the top round and continuing through the bottom round welds the dough of the two rounds. A wooden dowel or a spoon handle are useful tools for creating the hole. The perimeter of each of the rounds is often slit every 2 to 3 inches, which helps the dough to expand while baking. It is thought that the unusual shape of the cottage loaf was a result of the need to be as efficient as possible with the small baking space available in the ovens of earlier times. The term “cottage bread” is often used to describe a variety of breads that all have the cottage shape in common.
( Source – www.recipetips.com


This is how I made Cottage Bread. You can use any dough. Just make the dough the way you normally would. For shaping the bread this video is helpful - shaping Cottage Bread




Cottage bread
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
1 cup powdered oats
2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil + some more for oiling the bowl
¾ cup to 1 cup warm water
Method
Add sugar to ¾ cup warm water. Add yeast, stir and keep for 5 minutes.
Whisk together remaining ingredients. Add water and knead dough. While kneading, add water if the dough feels hard or dry. Knead for about 10 minutes till dough become soft and elastic. Make a ball of the dough and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Turn the dough around so that it is well coated with oil. Keep for 1 hour or till it doubles in size.
Punch the dough, knead for another 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the dough into two parts- one large one and one slightly smaller one. Roll out both the pieces slightly, place small one on top of the big one. Sprinkle some flour and push your finger in the center and push down to base to make a hole. With a sharp knife, cut down through dough, ensuring equal cuts all around. Transfer to an oiled baking tray. Cover with a kitchen cloth, leave to rise for 1 hour or till almost double in size. Sprinkle some flour on top.
Baking in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or till golden brown.
Cool in the rack.




2 comments:

  1. This bread is truly beautiful. When they say that bread is the hub of the kitchen they wouldn't be wrong with a gorgeous loaf like this gracing your dinner table. Who could resist it? Not me! Lovely stuff Namita. Cheers for sharing this lovely recipe with us all :)

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  2. How cute is this bread!! You seem to be on a look out for all international exotic looking breads and recreating them in your kitchen and making them sound so simple! Lovely creation Namita. I love the shape of the bread! Very new to me and I love the story behind it. Thanks for sharing :)

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