By Tom Jaine
The cottage loaf is perhaps the ultimate symbol of British traditional baking. Yet this shape is one of the most difficult to get right. The dough needs be firm so that the bottom half does not collapse under the weight of the top. The joining of the two needs to be firm yet gentle. All too often, the ‘hat’ topples off: if it does, console yourself that the bread will be none the worse for being misshapen.