Posts Tagged ‘Wallace and Gromit bread’

Photo from Wallace & Gromit – The Official Site

Ahh…Bristol.  Home port to Treasure Island’s Hispaniola, the starting line for numerous Top Gear challenges and of course, the birthplace of Wallace and Gromit.

Joanna, who also hails from Bristol, recently sent me a photo of a  British cottage loaf, an unusually shaped bread made by stacking a small ball of dough on top of a larger one.  As these featured so prominently in the most recent W&G film, I thought it might be fun to try and make some loaves.

Here’s how Jo described them to me:

This is a very old traditional English  bread shape – all bakeries made these when I was a kid. They don’t any more. I think the idea was that you ate the top one first and then the bottom one, so that it would keep fresher through the week.  I don’t know if they were called cottage loaves because they look like a cottage with a roof on, or because they were made at home.  I associate them with thatched cottages and so forth.

I wish one of those old English bakers could come and give me some tips, because these proved (no pun intended) to be quite fiddly!  I couldn’t use my regular bread recipe, as the high hydration made manipulating the dough very difficult.

My first attempt ended up as a spaceship, with the two storeys proving into each other.


My second attempt mushroomed and Big Boy made rude comments about it.  I made him take it to school for lunch.

CL 021

I tried a third time with a reduced hydration sourdough (60% for anyone interested in the technical details) and a smaller loaf size (600g instead of 900g). I allowed the separate storeys to rest on the bench for 20 minutes, before stacking them and giving them an additional 10 minutes proving time.

After I’d assembled the cottage, but before the final prove, I stuck my fingers into the middle of the loaf, right down to the bottom, to “weld” the two layers  of dough together.


Immediately before baking, I slashed the loaves several times, to  try and control the expansion and reduce the mushrooming effect.  It was moderately successful and I finally ended up with three cottage loaves that I’m pretty happy with.  Meet Larry, Curly and Moe…


These loaves have a different texture to the ones I normally bake, with a slightly denser, but at the same time, softer crumb.  The boys are enjoying the change.  Many thanks, Joanna!

. . . . .

Edit: For anyone else who wants to give this a go, here are the quantities I used for the 60% dough:

  • 300g sourdough starter (at 166% hydration, ie. fed on one cup water to one cup flour)
  • 1kg bakers flour
  • 430g water
  • 50g oil
  • 16g fine sea salt

I bulk proved for four hours, then shaped and proved as above.  Each loaf used 600g of dough – 400g for the “bottom floor” and 200g for the “top storey”.

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