strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons fast-rising active dry yeast or 1 ounce
tepid milk, and water mixed
salt, for glaze
- Sift flour and salt into a bowl, stir in sugar and yeast. Make a well in the centre, stir in the tepid milk and water to make the dough. (If using fresh yeast - put the yeast in a jug with a little of the milk and water mixture, and allow it to dissolve and become frothy - mixing thoroughly, then add it to the flour.).
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough in a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.Then knead the dough for 1 minute and divide it into two-thirds and a third. Shape the pieces into rounds. Cover them and leave for 5 minutes.
- Put the smaller round on top of the larger one. Push a floured wooden spoon (or your fingers) through the centre of both rounds, to join them together. Take a very sharp knife and make cuts all around the top round and the bottom round - see my photos. Put the cottage loaf on a lightly floured baking tray, cover and leave for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220C/440F/Gas 7.
- Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the glaze over the cottage loaf and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until dark golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped beneath.
- Cool before slicing. Delicious served with butter, jam, cheese, cold meats or make sandwiches or toast for picnics and breakfast!