Learn to make bread at home with Busby's Bakery

The English Cottage Cob 

English cottage cob 1

hard

4 hours

UK

An English cottage cob is a bread I often make myself. It is not seen very often as it is really hard to get the shape correct after it exits the oven. This is a hard bread recipe to do well so if you are up for the challenge, give it a go! We are using the same recipe as the tiger and bloomer bread, see the video for how to make all three from the same dough mix.


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Ingredients


Dough:

    400g  White bread flour


    272g  Water 


     8.8g   Fresh yeast (4g dried yeast)


     7g   Salt


1

Weigh the ingredientes, keeping the dry ones separated from the wet. If using dried yeast, mix with the water, whisk and leave to stand for 5 minutes first.

2

Add the ingredients and mix slowly for 7-9 minutes until the dough is nice and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover, and rest in the fridge for ten minutes. Take back out onto the table and knead as fast as you can for another 7 minutes. Again, put the dough into the bowl, cover and place back in the fridge.

3

Allow the dough to rest in the fridge, this time for one hour. Then knock back the do or complete a stretch and fold. Take a temperature reading of the dough, if it’s above 26C (78F) place it back in the fridge, if it’s cooler then leave it out on the table, covered for another hour. Preheat the oven with a baking stone to 250C (480F).

4

Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper onto a lightly flour dusted area of a workbench. Pre-shape into a round ball and allow to rest for ten minutes. 

5

Divide into two balls at a 60:40 ratio and pre-shape into balls, pushing as much air out of the dough as possible. Leave to bench rest for ten minutes. After this, press as much air out as possible and shape into two round balls again. Put the large one down on a lightly floured workbench and very lightly flatten. Put the smaller ball on top and press down in the centre hard to form a hole. The pieces should stick together. Apply some pressure around the edges if they look uneven. Apply 5 - 6 cuts around the edges, just a small cut on the bottom piece. Place onto a flour dusted board.  

6

Leave to proof for around 45 minutes, giving it a poke in the hole every now and again to keep it even. 

7

Use a peel to slide the bread in the oven, adding plenty of steam as they go in. Drop the temperature to 230C (450F) and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. Bake until the right colour has been achieved. Take out the oven and allow to cool, the bread should sing to you as it cools!

Method using a dough mixer


1

Weigh the ingredientes, keeping the dry ones separated from the wet. If using dried yeast, mix with the water, whisk and leave to stand for 5 minutes first.

2

Add the ingredients into a dough mixer with a dough hook. Mix on slow speed 7 minutes, until the dough is nice and elastic. Then increase the speed and knead for another 5 minutes. Put the dough into a bowl and take a temperature reading if it’s above 26C (78F) cover and put it in the fridge. If it’s cooler than 26C (78F) cover and leave at room temperature.

3

Allow the dough to rest for one hour. Then knock back the do or complete a stretch and fold. Take a temperature reading of the dough, if it’s above 26C (78F) place it back in the fridge, if it’s cooler then leave it out on the table. The dough should be covered and left for further hour. 

4

Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper onto a lightly flour dusted area of a workbench. Pre-shape into a round ball and allow to rest for ten minutes. 

5

Divide into two balls at a 60:40 ratio and pre-shape into balls, pushing as much air out of the dough as possible. Leave to bench rest for ten minutes. After this, press as much air out as possible and shape into two round balls again. Put the large one down on a lightly floured workbench and very lightly flatten. Put the smaller ball on top and press down in the centre hard to form a hole. The pieces should stick together. Apply some pressure around the edges if they look uneven. Apply 5 - 6 cuts around the edges, just a small cut on the bottom piece. Place onto a flour dusted board.  

6

Leave to proof for around 45 minutes, giving it a poke in the hole every now and again to keep it even. 

7

Use a peel to slide the bread in the oven, adding plenty of steam as they go in. Drop the temperature to 230C (450F) and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. Bake until the right colour has been achieved. Take out the oven and allow to cool, the bread should sing to you as it cools!

How to make a cottage cob video lesson


Top tips for the best cottage cob bread


If you want to change the batch size or make the two other breads shown in the video use the bakers formula. This is a spreadsheet that you can download which changes the recipe ingredients depending on the amount of dough that you need.

The challenge for this recipe is to develop the dough enough for it to not explode erratically in the oven. Don't worry if this happens to you, try to increase or decrease the proof time next time.

If you are using steam its best practice to open the oven door to let the steam out after 20-25 minutes. This helps with the colour and texture of the crust.

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