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May 16, 2020

Early American Cottage Bread

This multigrain cottage bread includes oats, wheat, wheat germ, wheat bran, and cornmeal to create a hearty delicious loaf.

Early American Cottage Bread

I love the unusual shape of the bread. You form two dough balls and place one on top of the other before baking. It's up to you how you want to slice it!

The shape is supposed to recreate the way the American pioneers shaped their loaves before baking them in cast iron pots over campfires. I have a bread genius friend who still does this when he camps, stacking cast iron posts to bake several loaves.

This bread was chosen by Cathy of Bread Experience for the Bread Baking Babes' bake this month. Acknowledging that early Americans probably didn't have instant yeast, she's also provided a sourdough version of the recipe. She originally found the recipe on the Red Star Yeast site.

Early American Cottage Bread sliced

This bread is delicious sliced and slathered in salted butter. It also makes excellent toast topped with a fried egg or spread with avocado.

How to make this bread:

Combine the flours, yeast, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk. In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine the water, oil, and honey and then pour the combination over the flour mixture.

Next, mix with the dough hook (you can also knead by hand) until everything is smooth.

You will need to let the dough rise for an hour, stretch and fold the dough, and let it rise another hour.

Cut off 1/3 of the dough and form each dough piece into a ball. I used a large soufflé dish (about 9 inches across) to bake the bread, and I lined the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

Next, you place the larger piece of dough in the center of the dish and, using a sharp knife, cut an "X" on top as shown below.

Early American Cottage Bread slashed in a pot

After than, brush the cavity with water and top the dough with the other dough ball. Using your finger or the handle of a wooden spoon, poke a hole all the way through to the bottom of the pot through the center of the dough. This will help keep the top piece from falling over.

Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rise. Watch it closely as it rises pretty quickly during the second rise.

Early American Cottage Bread stacked dough

Right before baking the loaf, push your finger back through the hole to secure it, and slash the top with a sharp knife or bread lame eight times. You can also slash the bottom ball in a pattern. I tried, but had a little trouble reaching the dough.

According to Cathy, this slashing pattern is common in these breads.

Early American Cottage Bread on a wooden board

You bake the bread in the pot in a 375 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

After the recipe, be sure to check out everyone's version of this bread!

Early American Cottage Bread

Multigrain Cottage Bread on a wooden cutting board

Early American Cottage Bread

Early American Cottage Bread
Yield: 16 servings
This multigrain cottage bread includes oats, wheat, wheat germ, wheat bran, and cornmeal to create a hearty delicious loaf.


  • 286 grams (2 1/4 cups) bread flour
  • 120 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) wheat bran
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey


  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup and pour them over the dry ingredients. 
  3. Mix with the dough hook (or knead by hand) until you have a smooth dough, about 7 minutes. 
  4. Let the dough rise, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour. Stretch and fold the dough over itself and re-cover the bowl. Let rise an additional hour. 
  5. Cut off 1/3 of the dough from the risen dough and form each piece into a ball. 
  6. Line the bottom of a 9 inch round soufflé dish or casserole with parchment paper. Place the large ball in the center of the dish and cut a large "X" on top (see photo in post). 
  7. Brush the cut section with water and place the smaller ball on top of the slashes. 
  8. Poke your finger or the handle of a wooden spoon down the center of the two dough balls all the way through to the bottom. Cover the dish loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Check the dough at 30 to 45 minutes with the finger dent test to see if it's ready. 
  10. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, until the interior reaches about 195 degrees F. 
  11. Remove from the dish and cool on a wire rack. 
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bread, multigrain
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Fried egg and avocado? Sign me up! We loved it with poached eggs too. Beautiful!

    1. Thanks Kelly! I need to work on my poached egg skills =)

  2. Always know your bread is going to be awesome Karen but this is mind blowing lay perfect. Just gorgeous. I do love this shape.
    Fun to know you’ve had your dish 48 years! Makes it perfect for this bread I think. I really enjoy holding old things that have history for me.

    1. I do too! I'm not sure my kids will feel the same way. I'm hearing that millennials are not that interested, lol!

  3. How cool that you know someone who a.) bakes bread when camping, and b.) stacks more than one cast iron pot so he can bake more than one loaf!

    Your bread looks wonderful! I particularly like that you advise slathering it with butter.

    Seeing your soufflé dish reminded me that I have two Evesham soufflé dishes that Mum gave me eons ago - not quite 48 years, but close: about 30 years (I just learned that their "Royal Worcester Gold" pattern has been discontinued - I don't know why I'm surprised). I use them at Christmas and Easter as serving dishes. I SHOULD have used one or both of them to make this bread! Next time....

    1. It's so sad when those old patterns are discontinued. Thanks Elizabeth!

  4. Beautiful crumb and beautiful photos to tell the story. I love to bake bread while camping. Haven't done it in a while and never stacked cast iron pots. Gotta try that!

  5. Looks lovely - great idea to use a soufle dish!

  6. How beautiful is your loaf and crumb? Love the deep colour you got.


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