Same bread, different finish.


Believe it or not, these two breads were made from the same dough, both beautiful in their own special way and each bringing a completely different experience when you eat them.


The bread on the left with the soft golden sheen has a wonderfully soft crust to match. Thin and delicate and a great contrast to the rustic nature of the bread in the right. This one is crunchy and crusty and busted open nicely in the middle creating that beautiful “ear”. Both types were made in my oven at home, and both are quite easily achievable in your oven too. 


The dough is made mostly of strong white bread flour with a touch of wholemeal, not unlike my Simple Cob Loaf recipe. If you fancy having a go at these mini loaves, the recipe for that dough will make four.

After its first resting period, divide it into four pieces and roll them into balls. Line them up on the kitchen side, covered with a cloth, and rest them for 20-30 minutes until they have relaxed enough to shape up without too much resistance.


One by one shape up your mini loaves. Take a piece and turn it over onto a surface dusted with the tiniest touch of flour. Stretch it sideways pulling out with your hands at either side. Then fold the sides into the middle, making your dough into a rectangle. Push down with your knuckles so it is even in height.

Starting from the side furthest away from you, roll it up towards you like a Swiss roll, pushing with your thumbs as you go to create tension. You should have a firm sausage when you’re done. Repeat with the rest. 



Ok, for this one you’ll need:

A baking tray lined with parchment

A beaten egg

A pastry brush

A grignette or smoothly serrated knife

After shaping up your loaves, place them on your parchment lined tray with enough room in between for them to expand without touching.

Brush them nicely, all over, with a thin coating of beaten egg. 

Next, before they rest, score them with your knife or grignette. Make four or five diagonal cuts between 3mm and 5mm deep. 

Rest your loaves again, uncovered in a place free of drafts, for 45-60 minutes. 

Bake at 190°C fan/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.



This time you’ll need:

A baking stone

A large deep roasting tray

Some small wooden peels or one large one

A kettle of hot water

A grignette or smoothly serrated knife

After shaping up your loaves dust them nicely, all over. Dust your peels too. 

Place your loaves on the wooden peels where they will rest for 30 minutes. If you’re worried that they might stick, put a square of parchment between the dough and the peel.


Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8 with a baking stone on the middle shelf, and a deep empty roasting tray in the oven floor.

When you are ready to bake, boil the kettle. 

Make sure your loaves aren’t sticking to the peels and if they are, release them and shimmy some flour underneath with your dough scraper. They should be dusted enough to slide off the peels easily. 

Slash each loaf from one end to the other with your knife or grignette. For best results try to cut at a shallow angle instead of vertically down into the dough. 3-5mm deep will be fine.

Slide the dough off of the peels onto the hot baking stone. Carefully pour hot water into the tray below, around 2-3cm deep and shut the oven door. I’ll say carefully one more time because you’ll need to be aware of the steam as it rises from the tray. It’s hot!

Bake for 20 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.

And there you have it! Two completely different style breads with two different eating experiences using just one dough. One soft, one crunchy.  It’s all in the finish!