Ever since the Great British Bake Off came into my life, I have fallen in love with Mr Paul Hollywood and now that his brand new TV programme has hit our screens, I’m in my element!
I tried his white bread bloomer loaf a few months back before this blog was born and it was super easy to do so I thought I’d do it again! Baking my own bread always seemed a bit scary and I thought there must have been some kind of awkward or technical science to it. The truth is, it is unbelievably simple and we should all be doing it! It’s fun to make, barely costs anything, and it tastes SO much better than your standard Tesco loaf.
This is all you need …
- 500g strong white bread flour, and a little extra for dusting
- 40g butter (I forgot to photograph this!)
- 12g/2 sachets fast-action dried yeast
- 2 tsp of salt
- 300ml tepid water
- Olive oil
1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt at the other end. Stir everything to combine.
2. Add half of the water then turn the mixture round with your fingers. Add the rest of the water a little bit at a time so it starts to combine and you pick up all of the flour from the side of the bowl. (Note: You may not need to use all of the water, or you may need a bit more. Make sure the dough is soft, but not sticky or soggy.)
3. Mix the dough with your fingers to make sure the ingredients are combined and use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl. Now you should have a rough dough.
4. Lightly grease your work surface with a tsp of olive oil. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
5. Lightly grease a clean mixing bowl and put the dough into it. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a cool/dry place to prove for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
6. Once you can see it has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and put it onto a lightly floured surface. It should feel bouncy and have a shiny look to it. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then smooth it out into a round loaf shape.
7. Line a baking tray with baking paper. (I ran out and lightly greased the baking tray which was still fine.) Place the dough loaf onto the lined baking tray and cover with a tea towel. Set aside and leave to prove again for an hour until it has doubled in size.
9. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200 fan assisted/425F/gas mark 7. At the bottom of the oven, place an empty roasting tin.
10. After the hour, check that your loaf has risen again and sprinkle some flour on top. Using a sharp knife, create 1cm cuts across the top to create a diamond pattern.
11. Put your loaf into the oven and pour cold water into the empty roasting tray at the bottom. (The water helps to create a shiny crust.)
12. Bake your loaf for about 30 minutes until you can see that it has risen and looks golden. Check that it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
13. Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy your soft white bloomer, Hollywood Baker style!