Making Fresh Bread: English Bloomer

Bread, British, Dairy-free

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If you haven’t already caught onto this, I am obsessed with food. I absolutely love to eat it, smell it, cook it, and think about it extensively. So much so, that I even watch cooking shows on airplanes now!

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No, I wasn’t planning on watching the show on the plane, especially as I initially snobbed the option as I was flicking through all the audio visual options British Airways offered me. But, after having watched a full length feature movie and all the episodes of the only 2 Sitcom series I was interested in viewing, and having come to terms with the fact that sleep on this flight was not going to happen (no thanks to two neighbors with small bladders who kept crawling over me as my eyelashes started to lazily descend into sweet slumber, nor thanks to the eight (yes, I counted them) young babies wailing the whole 7-hour flight) – the cooking show won. Honestly, the only reason I didn’t want to watch it, was that the food on the plane was so horrible I literally didn’t eat a bite, and cooking shows always make me hungry!

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Anyway, this serendipitous encounter, gave me the courage to try making bread from scratch one more time. As I have posted here, my history with trying to make bread from scratch goes far back, and has never ended well. But, all this was to change thanks to Paul Hollywood, a professional baker, who has become a celebrity thanks to being a judge on BBC’s Great British Bake-Off.

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He explained and showed all the right techniques for making a great loaf of bread from scratch, in all the details that a novice really needs. Because when it comes to bread, it isn’t enough to just mix the ingredients and stick them in the oven, you need to really work it!

Below is his video, where he takes you through all the steps and process of making exquisite bread!

So now that you have learned all the tips and tricks to making amazing bread, go make your own and tell us how it turned out!

However, if kneading a little is more for you, try Fran’s Foccacia. But if kneading is not at all your thing, remember Fran’s 3-minute Bread? They all look pretty amazing!

 

Paul Hollywood’s White Bloomer

Recipe taken directly from this link, replicated for ease of finding the recipe abroad.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 10g salt
  • 1 x 7g sachet of instant yeast
  • 320ml cold water
  • 40ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading

Preparation method

  1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, taking care not to have the salt and yeast touching. Add the oil and 240ml of water.
  2. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water, until all the flour leaves the side of the bowl and you have a soft, rough dough.
  3. Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface. Sit the dough on the oil and begin to knead. Do this for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and silky. Once the correct consistency is achieved, place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until tripled in size.
  4. Once tripled, place the dough onto an oiled surface. Knock the dough back by folding it in on itself repeatedly. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth.
  5. To shape into the bloomer, flatten the dough into a rectangle. With the long side facing you fold each end into the middle then roll like a Swiss roll so that you have a smooth top with a seam along the base. Very gently roll with the heel of your hands.
  6. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper, cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature, or until doubled in size.
  7. Lightly spray with water and dust with a little flour. Make four diagonal slashes using a sharp knife across the top.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F and place a baking tray filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven – this will create steam when the loaf is baking. Place the loaf on the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. After this time lower the heat to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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