White Bloomer
This satisfying white bread is the British version of the European "baton". This bloomer bread recipe has a delicious flavour but you need to start making it before lunchtime!
Makes: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 675 g (24 oz) strong white flour
  • 430 ml (14½ fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
For the glaze
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Mix 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of the water with the yeast in a small bowl and leave for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast and the rest of the water. Mix to form a firm dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm place to allow the dough to double in size.
  5. Knock back the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Return to the oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm place to double in size again.
  6. Knock back the dough once more on a floured surface, knead for 5 minutes, then allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1″ (2 cm) thick. Fold up the long sides and shape it into a square-ended thick baton about 30cm x 15cm (12″ x 6″). Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Place the dough seam side down on a lightly-greased baking tray. Plump up the dough and cut 6 diagonal slashes into the dough with a sharp knife. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Prepare the glaze and brush it over the bread. Place a tray of water in the oven and bake the bread at 190°C/375°F fan oven, 220°C/430°F normal oven, for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Notes
If the underneath of the loaf is not very crusty after baking, simply turn the loaf over on the baking sheet, switch off the oven and leave in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.

It is easy to tell when it is baked as it makes a hollow sound when knocked on the bottom of the loaf.

For a more rustic version of this loaf replace half the flour with strong wholemeal flour.