Bloomer's are a typical English bread that are just fantastic. A good bloomer with have a soft spongy crumb and a tearable crust. Canadian flour is often used in British breads as it has plenty of quality gluten and plenty of flavour (A lot of Canadian flour used to be imported to Britain).
If you can't find Canadian flour, use any high protein bread flour. This recipe makes 2 small or 1 large bloomer.
How to make an English bloomer video lesson
600g White bread flour
Method to make English bloomers
Add the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a plastic dough scraper around the edges of the bowl to combine the ingredients. After a minute or so, take the dough onto the table and use some long stretching motions to gently knead the dough. Continue for 8 minutes and then put the dough back in the bowl, in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Using a dough mixer:
Add the ingredients into a dough mixer with a dough hook. Mix on slow speed 7 minutes, until the dough is nice and elastic. Then increase the speed and knead for another 5 minutes. Put the dough into a bowl and take a temperature reading if it’s above 26C (78F) cover and put it in the fridge. If it’s cooler than 26C (78F) cover and leave at room temperature. Skip to step 4.
Fast knead the dough
Take the dough onto the table and knead as fast as you can for 7 more minutes. At the end of this the dough should be reasonably stiff, with signs of a strong gluten network appearing.
The first rise (bulk ferment)
Put the dough into a mixing bowl, cover, and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour.
Stretch and fold
Knock back the dough or complete a stretch and fold.
The bulk fermentation, continues...
Take a temperature reading of the dough, if it’s above 26C (78F) place it back in the fridge, if it’s cooler then leave it out on the table, covered for another hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper onto a lightly flour dusted area of a workbench. Divide the dough into 2 even weights, which should be around 485g - 500g. Pre-shape the pieces into round balls and allow to rest for ten minutes.
Final shape following the bloomer final shape and leave to proof on a dusted wooden board or a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Leave your bloomer to rise!
Leave to proof for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven with a baking stone and a baking sheet underneath to 250C (480F).
Score the bread
Use the pinch test to check if the dough is ready. Cut the bloomers at a slight angle with 4 - 6 slashes across the dough for a small and 5-8 for a large.
Use a peel to slide the bread in the oven. Add plenty of steam, before shutting the door. Drop the temperature to 230C (450F) and bake for 35-40 minutes, opening the oven door to release the steam at the 20 minute mark. Bake until a nice golden coloured crust is visible.
Take out the oven and allow to cool, the bread will sing to you as it cools! Enjoy!!
Using dried yeast
If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.
Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F), add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of water from the recipe.
Top tips for the best English bloomer bread
If you want to change the batch size or make the two other breads shown in the video use the bakers formula. This is a spreadsheet that you can download which changes the recipe ingredients depending on the amount of dough that you need.
Swap some white flour for wholemeal to give your bloomer more flavour. Just 50g will create more depth in aroma though you will have to add a little more water, approx 10-20 grams.
If you are using steam its best practice to open the oven door to let the steam out after 20-25 minutes. This helps with the colour and texture of the crust.