Thursday 15 December 2016


I had a rare work-from-home day, as I was selling my much-loved, but now rarely used table football table. I decided to take the chance to do a loaf of bread...something nice and simple, which doesn't really take any time, but involves a lot of waiting around.

One problem I've often had with bread, especially with non-tin bread, is getting the mixture too wet, and it not holding it's shape. A typical loaf of bread has 500g of strong flour, and normally recipes look for 300-350ml of water into that. For this bake, I decided to add the water bit-by-bit, and stop once the dough formed, as I had a suspicion the flour I used (nothing fancy...Waitrose Essential Strong Flour), might not need much water... turns out I was correct, as the dough formed at about 220ml of water, and was the consistency I wanted at 240ml.

The bake itself is very simple, a very simple, basic bread dough...I did the first prove in a warm area (airing cupboard), and the second one was done at room temperature (~20'C). As I had no real time-lines, I was able to do nice, long prove times, and the end result was a good-looking loaf of bread. I shaped it as a basic bloomer (an oval loaf, with some diagonal slashes). This dough is basically a prototype that can be used as the base for any bread recipe...

Bloomer Loaf  -Recipe


  • 500g strong white flour
  • 40g sunflower oil
  • 10g salt
  • 7g fast-action yeast
  • 240ml tap water
1) Place flour, salt, yeast and oil in a stand-mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment.

2) Add half the water, and begin to mix

3) Slowly continue to add the water until the dough forms. You may need a little more, or less water, dependent on how thirsty the flour you're using is.

4) Continue to mix for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, firm dough.

5) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with cling-film. Place in a warm location for 1½ - 2 hours until at least doubled in size.

6) Line a baking tray with baking parchment

7) Take the dough out of the bowl, and place it on a lightly floured surface.

8) Knock the dough back, then fold the dough over itself a few times to form a firm, oval loaf with the join on the bottom. What you're looking for is "surface tension" on the loaf, to get a nice smooth surface.

9) Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover and prove at room temperature for 1½-2 hours, until doubled in size

10) Pre-heat the oven to 220'C

11) Lightly sprinkle water over the loaf, and really gently rub it over the entire surface.

12) Sprinkle the dampened loaf with flour, and gently smooth it over the surface (this is how you get the really rustic looking crust to the loaf)

13) Cut 4 diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf

14) Place in the oven, and pour 500ml of water into a tray at the bottom of the oven.

15) Bake for 25 minutes

16) Reduce the temperature to 200'C, turn the loaf and bake for a further 10 minutes

17) Remove to a wire rack to cool