Do you ever crave a loaf of fresh, homemade bread? Don’t worry–you can satisfy that desire with this easy recipe for crusty English bloomer bread. Whether you’re a beginning baker or an expert, you will enjoy making this simple, versatile bread.
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 this bread called a “bloomer”?
The term refers to the way the loaf is shaped. Instead of being put into a loaf pan like many breads, this loaf is shaped and allowed to rise free form– called “blooming.” That’s why this bread is called a bloomer.
How to Make Bloomer Bread
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 1/2 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 the bread 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.
- Bake the loaf with a pan of water in the oven. The water will turn into steam in the hot oven, giving the loaf a beautifully crunchy crust.
- Allow the loaf to cool before slicing. It’s tempting to cut into a fresh, hot loaf of bread, but don’t do it! Fresh bread is full of steam and needs time for its crumb structure to finish baking and cooling down. If you cut it too soon, it could be soft and gummy inside.
Are you ready to get baking? Your family will really enjoy this wonderful homemade bread.
These other delicious white breads would taste wonderful with a bowl of soup.
- Rustic Cob Loaf: another easy to make British bread that everyone loves.
- Waterford Blaa Buns: these beautiful Irish rolls are delicious on their own or in a chip butty sandwich.
- Easy White Mountain Bread: this crusty white loaf has a soft interior, making it perfect for sandwiches.
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This classic English bread is the perfect yeast bread recipe for beginners—it only takes 5 ingredients! Learn how to make one loaf of beautifully crusty homemade bread with a Kitchenaid mixer or by hand.
- 4 cups + 3 tablespoons bread flour (500g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (43g)
- 1 1/3 cup water (325 ml)
Making the Bread Dough (25 minutes + 1 1/2 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 1/2 to 2 hours.
Shaping the Bloomer Bread (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 Bread (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 bread 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 bloomer bread is incredibly versatile, and can be served with sweet or savory toppings. Make it into sandwiches, appetizers, bread and butter pudding, or breadcrumbs.
- Store leftover bread in a zip-top bag at room temperature, or freeze for longer storage.
Keywords: white bloomer, crusty white