When it comes to bread & gluten, you must know I am a lover and profound connoisseur of it: any bread, any, it’s mine at some point, and even though I used to be a big fan of the crumb when I was a kid, it’s now all in the crust. And Cristina can make a crusty bread like no other, trust me.
This one in particular it’s the best, most beautiful looking loaf we have ever made and have adored it – no crumbs left, just as an FYI.
- 500g of white flour, plus some extra for dusting
- 10g of salt
- 10g of dry yeast
- 30g of unsalted butter, softened
- 330ml of cold water
- extra virgin olive oil to help you knead the bread
Start by placing the flour in a large bowl – or in the bowl of your standing mixer, if you have one – add the salt to one side and the yeast on the opposite side, then the butter and 3/4 of the water and mix or start the standing mixer on a low speed. Continue to add water until all the flour is incorporated into the rest of the dough.
Move the dough onto a counter, greased with extra virgin olive oil, and work it for about 5-10 minutes, then let it rise in a greased bowl, covered only with a cloth, until it has doubled its size.
Move everything again on a floured surface, punch the dough to remove all the air from it, folding it over itself several times. Now cut it into two pieces, one of which will be double the size of the other, and start working on the larger piece.
Create a ball with the larger piece, pushing the excess dough into the base of the ball. Repeat the same round movements more than once so that the ball becomes soft, but resistant at the same time. Now do it all again with the smallest part of dough.
Place the smaller ball on the larger one and, after dipping a couple of fingers in flour, carve the center hole by pushing it down. Now you are ready to practice some cuts on both parts of the Cottage Loaf, both to aerate it and decorate it.
Let it rise again for 1 hour, turn on the oven to 210°C and, at the bottom of the oven, place a baking sheet that you have previously filled with boiling water from the kettle: this will help the Cottage Loaf to have that great crust we are very fond of around here.
Bake the Cottage Loaf for 30 minutes, and let it cool completely before cutting. Tempting, I know, we did dig in straight away – and it was completely worth it.
And while you are baking…try this one too.