A type of basic white bread that is English in origin and is unique due to its shape. The loaf is actually two round loaves – one on top of the other. The top round is smaller than the bottom round. Making a hole through the center of the top round and continuing through the bottom round welds the dough of the two rounds. A wooden dowel or a spoon handle are useful tools for creating the hole. The perimeter of each of the rounds is often slit every 2 to 3 inches, which helps the dough to expand while baking. It is thought that the unusual shape of the cottage loaf was a result of the need to be as efficient as possible with the small baking space available in the ovens of earlier times. The term “cottage bread” is often used to describe a variety of breads that all have the cottage shape in common.
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