Whether you're a beginning baker or an expert, you will enjoy making this simple recipe for crusty English bloomer bread. Enjoy it with sweet or savory toppings, or with butter.
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What is a bloomer loaf?
A bloomer loaf is a cylindrical English bread with diagonal slashes on top. Most bloomers have a thick, crunchy crust and a soft, white interior. For more information, check out this article from Cook's Info.
Why is it called a "bloomer"?
The term refers to the way the loaf is shaped. Instead of being put into a pan like many breads, it's shaped and allowed to rise free form-- called "blooming."
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you absolutely can freeze leftover bread. Simply seal it inside of a zip-top freezer bag, press out the extra air, and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature or in the toaster.
How to Make
Measure out all five ingredients: bread flour, salt, yeast, butter, and water.
Add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, then stir them in with your finger. Add the butter, then gradually add the water and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Knead the dough until it's smooth, stretchy, and passes the windowpane test. It also should lose some of its stickiness.
Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it prove at room temperature until at least doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Punch down the dough all over, then shape into a rectangle.
Fold the ends into the center.
Roll up the dough tightly from one of the long sides to create the bloomer shape.
Place the loaf on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Cut a few diagonal slashes on top of the loaf with a sharp serrated knife or baker's lame, then bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 F and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing to allow it to finish baking inside.
- Keep the salt away from the yeast when you're making the dough, since it can kill or retard the yeast's growth.
- Add the water to the flour mixture a little at a time. The brand of flour you're using can affect the amount of water you need in the dough, so go by feel and not measurement. The dough should be sticky enough to get your fingers messy!
- Knead thoroughly. Make sure the dough passes the windowpane test before you allow the dough to rise (called proving). See the recipe below for an explanation of this technique.
- Prove slowly. The longer the dough rests, the more flavor it will have. If you're in a hurry, just make the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight. You can shape, prove, and bake the bloomer the following day.
- Roll up the dough tightly when you shape the bloomer. A tight roll will help the dough rise up instead of out, creating a much more attractive bloomer.
- Bread Flour: this is one of the most important ingredients in this recipe.
- Cookie Sheet: this light colored baking tray bakes evenly and washes up easily.
- Cutting Board: this bamboo board is roomy enough to knead dough on.
- Digital Thermometer: with this tool, you'll know for sure if your bread is cooked.
- Cooling Racks: they'll keep your baked goods crisp as they cool.
Other Breads to Enjoy
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this recipe would be greatly appreciated.
Crusty English Bloomer Bread
- 4 cups + 3 tablespoons bread flour
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ⅓ cup water
Making the Dough (25 minutes + 1 ½ hours proving)
- Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring in each one with your finger. Make sure they don't touch each other directly, as the salt can kill or stunt the yeast.
- Dump in the softened butter and half of the water, then turn the mixer on low speed. Gradually trickle in the remaining water and keep mixing until a smooth, sticky dough forms. You may not need all the water, or you might need a little extra, depending upon the brand of flour.
- Switch the attachment to a dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 3-5 minutes, until the dough passes the windowpane test. Test it by breaking off a lump of dough and stretching it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand to create a windowpane. If the dough stretches to be translucent without breaking, it's kneaded enough; if not, knead for a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough prove at room temperature until at least doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Shaping the Bloomer (10 minutes + 1 hour proving)
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out pockets of gas.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle about 9 inches wide, then fold the two ends into the middle. Roll up the loaf tightly from one of the long sides to create the bloomer. Pinch the seam to seal, then place it seam-side down on a large cookie sheet.
- Place the loaf inside a large, clean garbage bag and inflate the bag. Tuck the ends underneath the tray to seal. Let the loaf prove at room temperature until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before the loaf is done proving, preheat the oven to 425 F. Place an old metal baking pan in the lower shelf of the oven to preheat.
Baking the Bloomer (40 minutes + cooling)
- Just before baking the loaf, remove the garbage bag and cut a few diagonal slashes on the top of the loaf with a sharp serrated knife or baker's lame.
- Place the loaf in the oven, then immediately pour some tap water into the hot metal pan underneath the loaf and quickly shut the oven door. This will create steam, which will give the loaf a hearty crust. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan of water, lower the heat to 400 F, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. The loaf should be a rich golden brown and have an internal temperature of 200 F with a meat thermometer.
- Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving. The cooling time allows the bread to finish cooking all the way through. Cutting it too soon will give you a gummy interior.
- Feel free to make this by hand if you don't have a stand mixer. Just stir and crush the dough with your hand to mix, then knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes.
- This bread is incredibly versatile, and can be served with sweet or savory toppings. Make it into sandwiches, appetizers, or breadcrumbs.
- Store leftovers in a zip-top bag at room temperature, or freeze for longer storage.
- The pleasure of a 5-star review for this recipe would be greatly appreciated.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
An AMAZING find! I can't find time enough to bake this gem of a recipe due to all the requests from family and friends. Thank you for sharing this MILLION $$$ classic!!! I doubled the recipe and made them in tins, they came out BEAUTIFUL. I wish I could attach pictures!
That's wonderful, Kirk! Thank you for making our recipe; we're happy you enjoyed it!
Great recipe thanks, can I ask why your Cob loaf has sugar and this bloomer does not?,
Many thanks 🙂
Thank you, Peter! I wanted a slightly softer result for the Cob loaf, so I added a little sugar to that recipe. Feel free to add a touch of sugar to the bloomer as well if you prefer.
WOW it worked. I’ve stopped baking as arthritis in my hands just too bad. Decided for 2023 to get myself a stand mixer, bought a Kenwood Chef. I tried another recipe with olive oil and it was stodgy. I just couldn’t ‘feel’ the dough. I did yours but I did knead for 8 minutes, after talking to friends about stand mixers. I also reduced the salt to 6g simply because we don’t like salty bread. Being From West Wales that is unusual as the bread here is always on the salty side. Your recipe had 10g yeast and the other I tried only 7g and I think that’s why yours worked, I think it’s something to do with the mixer as always used 7g by hand.
Both my husband and myself send you a large Thank You it’s not the first of your recipes that have wowed us! I doubt it will be the last.
That's lovely to hear, Lynne! I'm so pleased that you and your husband enjoyed the bloomer bread so much! Happy baking.
I adore making this bread with my boyfriend. It never fails.
I find it nice to add garlic, onion, herbs, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds. It produces a lovely savory bread.
I'm so glad you enjoyed this bread, James! Thank you for your review!
Sandra L Irick
A very nice bread. Beautiful texture, slight crisp to the crust, good flavor. I made this for a family get together where it was paired with meats, cheeses, etc. Everyone loved it.
That's lovely to hear, Sandra! I'm so glad that you and everyone at the gathering enjoyed it!
Wow. The best bread recipe I have ever found. So easy to make. Can't wait to try it in the morning . It is huge .
That's wonderful to hear, Anne! Thank you for making our recipe, and enjoy your homemade bread!
I am an avid bread lover, and there isn't a bread on the planet that isn't a good friend of mine. This one is a bit crusty, and the delightfully soft interior is great.
😂 Bread is such a wonderful food!! 🍞 I'm glad that you enjoy this bloomer bread, too.
Hello there. I just wanted to say I'm new to bread baking and your "ingredients" list had me confused for a second. It lists 4 and 3/16 cups of bread flour. Upon clicking on the link that gives baking instructions, however, I see that it is actually 4 cups and 3 Tbsps. Just thought you might want to correct this.
Hi Joani! Pinterest chose to list the amount of bread flour as 4 3/16 cups. Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do to fix this.