Last night I watched the first episode of Paul Hollywood’s Bread and today I baked some bread. Me? Influenced by television? Never! Unless it is a cookery programme that is.
Paul baked a beautiful bloomer and so did I. Try it, it couldn’t be simpler but you do need some time – it is left to prove twice for around two hours each time.
The hardest thing about this loaf is leaving it to cool before you eat it!
500g / 1lb 2oz Strong White Flour, plus extra for kneading
10g / ¼oz Salt
1 x 7g sachet of Instant Yeast
320ml / 11½ fl oz Cold Water
40ml / 2¾ fl oz Olive Oil, plus extra for kneading
extra Oil and Flour, for kneading
Place the flour in a bowl, add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side of the bowl taking care not to have them touching. Add the oil and 240ml / 9fl oz of water.
Mix the ingredients together with your hands. Gradually add the remaining water (you may not need it all), until all the flour is incorporated and you have a soft, rough dough.
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 until the dough becomes smooth. Place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl, cover tightly with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours or until more than doubled in size.
Once risen, place the dough onto a floured surface. Knock the dough back by folding it in on itself repeatedly and pressing with your knuckles. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth.
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 heal of your hands.
Place on a tray lined with baking paper, cover and leave to prove for a further 2 hours at room temperature. It should be doubled in size.
Lightly spray the loaf with water and dust with a little flour. Make four diagonal slashes using a sharp knife across the top.
Preheat the oven to 220 °C / 425°F / Gas Mark7
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 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
You can find the original recipe here along with some technique videos.