Place the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the salt followed by the yeast. Add water and mix to form a slightly sticky soft dough.
Lightly oil the work surface and tip out the dough. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes until the the dough has lost its stickiness and is smooth and stretchy.
Alternatively mix the water into the flour mixture using the dough hook on a stand mixer and continue mixing for at least 5 minutes
Place the dough back into an oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise until double in size about 1-1½ hours.
Knock back the dough and lightly knead again. Then shape as desired. For a cottage loaf roll about ⅔ of the dough into a tight ball and place on a baking sheet. Roll the remaining dough into another ball and place on top. Dip two fingers into flour and push down through both balls of dough to the the baking sheet. Cut slashes in the side of the loaf.
Cover loosely with a large plastic bag or slightly damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220℃ (200℃ fan)/450°F/gas mark 7. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes until risen and golden. When cooked the loaf will sound hollow if tapped on the bottom.Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.