In a rush? You can skip to the Easy Cottage Bread Recipe at my Tumblr!
When I first started baking, I tried a lot of different recipes. And I failed at a lot of them. My loaves came out lumpy and misshapen. Some of my bread collapsed in the oven or burnt to a crisp.
With more practice, I managed to make a few loaves that looked a little bit more like bread, but they didn’t taste half as good as they looked. They were too bland or too salty or too sweet. I felt a bit like Goldilocks trying the different beds – one recipe was too big, another recipe was too hard, etc.
And then I stumbled across this easy cottage bread recipe, and it was just right.
This recipe is my go-to bread recipe for just about everything now. When I need bread for sandwiches? This is the one I make.
When I need bread for French toast? I can count on cottage bread.
When I’m in a hurry and don’t want to spend all day waiting for bread to rise? You guessed it – I make cottage bread.
If you are just starting out and don’t think you can make bread, this is the recipe for you. Cottage bread convinced me I could make great bread any time I wanted.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Rise time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: Approximately 2 Hours 20 minutes to 3 hours
This recipe only needs:
- 2 2/3 Cup Warm Water
- 2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 6 Cups All Purpose Flour*
*Plus a little more flour for dusting
Here are a few items you’ll want to have available when you make cottage bread:
- Small and Large Mixing Bowls
- Wooden Mixing Spoon
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Pastry Cutter or Dough Chopper
- Two 9-inch by 5-inch pans
- Cooling Rack
This recipe makes two loaves – thus the two pans. However, you can easily cut this recipe in half if you only have one pan. Or, you could make multiple mini loaves depending on what you own.
Ready to dive into a fun new recipe? This one is a breeze.
Just stir the yeast into the bowl of warm water and stir until the grains dissolve. Set aside and allow the yeast to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the yeast has proofed for a few minutes, add it to the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir until well incorporated.
Once your dough starts coming together, turn your dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until the dough feels smooth but slightly tacky. If it feels especially sticky, feel free to add a little more flour and work it in. Shape it into a round ball.
Place your bread dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Allow it to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
When your dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and turn it out onto your floured surface again. Use a pastry cutter or dough chopper to divide the dough into two pieces.
Fold the dough into a sandwich loaf (or just roll it around and squish it into the pan) and place into lightly greased baking pans. Let them rise again for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough slightly rises above the edge of the pan.
Gently press your finger into the dough. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time to rise. If it slowly springs back, it’s ready to go in the oven. (If it collapses, you’ve let your dough rise too long. Don’t worry, it will still bake just fine.)
Once your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your loaves for 35 minutes. The tops should have a nice golden brown color and the bottoms will sound hollow when tapped.
Turn your bread out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing. I know it’s hard to wait when you have fresh bread right out of the oven, but the bread will finish baking in the middle while it sits. When you slice your bread too soon, the middle may turn a little gummy.
Once your bread has cooled, feel free to slice and enjoy. I prefer to eat freshly made cottage bread with just a smidgen of butter and honey.
If you want a softer crust, feel free to cover your bread while it’s still warm from the oven. The bread will “sweat” and release steam that will keep your crust soft. Alternatively, you can brush the crush with a thin layer of butter.
Secrets to Success
This cottage bread recipe is as easy as it comes, and it’s pretty flexible and accommodating for beginning bakers. Don’t feel afraid to make mistakes with this one.
I once left out almost a cup of water, and though the bread had a denser consistency, it still tasted wonderful.
I also left out a cup of flour, and the dough was too sticky to knead properly. I scooped the dough into the pans anyway, just to see what would happen, and the bread still rose and tasted just fine (though it was a little gummy).
Feel free to play around with the flour to water ratios to see what texture best fits you.
Keeping track of your calories? Here’s the nutritional information for this recipe:
For simplicity’s sake, I sliced my two loaves into 12 slices each, for a total of 24 slices. This bread has a nice structure, so you could cut thinner slices without any issues. Keep in mind that thinner slices will have fewer calories per slice (and subsequently, thicker slices will have more calories).
Did You Try It?
I love hearing from readers. If you tried my recipe, let me know if you liked it in the comments below. Feel free to send me any suggestions for improving the recipe, too.