Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Classic White Bloomer, and 'Bread' Episode One

Last week I blogged a review of the new cookbook 'Bread' by Paul Hollywood. I tried to get across the fact that I have in the past had very much mixed results when bread-making, and was relying on Mr Hollywood to teach me his ways, and equip me with knowledge to make the perfect loaf every time. 

On Monday, the first episode of 'Bread' aired on BBC2, and if you haven't had the chance to watch it yet, let me tell you it doesn't disappoint! If you read my book review, I explained how I found the book a little daunting at first glance, but thoroughly wonderful when I actually sat down and read it properly. The TV series however, is totally accessible and absorbing from the first moment. Paul's easy manner when demonstrating his recipes is captivating and yet brilliantly down to earth, and his passion for a good bake radiates from the screen. We have seen glimpses of Paul's teaching style during the Great British Bake Off Master-classes, however 'Bread' is 30 minutes of uninterrupted Hollywood doing what he does best. 

Coming back to my mission however to learn to bake bread, as I had a busy work week coming up, I got a head start on myself, and actually made my first attempt at the Classic Bloomer on Sunday, when I knew I had time for the proving etc. I used the book and followed the instructions to the letter, and overall was very pleased with the results. After watching the episode on Monday evening, there are a few things I would do differently, it just goes to show that you can get so much from something in writing, but watching it happen really positively enforces the method. 

My first attempt at Paul Hollywood's Classic Bloomer

As I used the exact recipe, I am not going to lift it, but you can find it here on the BBC Food website. I will however share a few baker's notes from my experiences.

  • When adding the yeast and the salt, you have to make sure that the two do not touch each other directly until you start to mix. I use a set of digital scales, and weigh as I am adding to the mixture. For some reason, when I added my salt, the scales did not register any additional weight, and I had to second guess the quantity. My bloomer was a little too salty to taste, and I am unsure as to whether this is because of the quantity of salt in the recipe, or a fault in my measuring. Next time, I will measure the salt out separately and then add it. 
  • In the book, and on the show, Paul says that you do not need to prove bread in a warm place, any normal kitchen at room temperature will be fine. I tried this, and after around 90 minutes there was hardly any rise in my dough. Taking matters into my own hands I relocated my dough to my go-to 'warm place' and it flourished very nicely after that. 
  • After the knock back, you shape the dough, and then put it on a tray, cover it and place it in a bag to rise. When I made my bloomer on Sunday, I found that it rose beautifully, however the weight of the greaseproof paper and then the bag caused the dough to expand more sideways than upwards. I ended up with an albeit tasty, very wide and low loaf, that was a bit misshapen at one end. When Paul made the bloomer in Monday night's episode, he place two upturned mugs on either side of the loaf before covering with the greaseproof, so that it didn't touch the top of the loaf. Genius. 
And there you have it! I was really pleased with my bloomer, and I'm confident that the next time I make it (which will be soon) I will get it just right! Now I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode, which will be about various flatbreads... Yum!


  1. This looks great, we watched the first episode and wanted to make this bread but I've not had time yet! :-)

    1. Thanks! It seems a daft thing to say, but Paul really knows what he's talking about! He's a baker that happens to have gotten famous, rather than some of the more amateur 'famous' cooks out there ...

  2. I love how much you are getting into bread making, it's really inspiring. I've been wanting to make a seeded loaf for ages but not had the time. Will definitely have to watch 'Bread' and use all the tips you've mentioned to help me! Oh and the white bloomer looks perfect!!

    1. Thanks, I can feel myself getting more confident already - I even made pizza from scratch last night.. Loved tonight's episode too - Tortilla Wraps are the challenge for this week!

  3. Hey there : greetings from germany .... i saw that episode and now im addicted to the bloomer.

    everyday now i make a bloomer, and it keeps getting better and better ...
    on the first try: i used too much water so the dough was runny and i used to much olive oil during kneeding... GREAT FOCCACIO ^^

    2. try: exactly 320 ml cold water .... better dough now ... but a bit runny .... GREAT CIABATTA ^^

    3. try: changed the all purpose flour to strong flour ( from type 405 to type 550 ... better rising

    now the question .... maybe u have an idea:

    afer rising the 2nd time paul cuts the dough.

    everytime i do that, the dough loses its form..... like a balloon with a hole : i tried : sharp knifes ... oiled blade...is there a trick ?
    hope to hear from you soon



    1. Hi there Tina from Germany!
      Ok, so you definitely need to use strong flour, so that's right. After you shape the loaf for the second time and have left it to rise, unwrap it. Now, sprinkle a little water over the top of the loaf. Then dust the top of the loaf with some flour, and gentle rub it over with your hands, without knocking any air out of the dough. Finally, use a very sharp knife, and make the slits in one motion - if you saw at it you will bang the air out of the dough.
      Also, a good tip is to place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven whilst baking, the steam that rises will help the dough rise more in the oven, and also give a glossier crust.
      I hope this helps, please let me know how you get on. :-)

    2. Hey there again :)

      ty for the fast answer
      i did all the steps you said... maybe the knifes werent sharp enoug....and i dusted it afetrwards so that maybe the rtrick ... ill try it for my tomoorrow bloomer and will answer :)

      have a nice saturday


    3. Good luck! I'm still learning myself, if I think of anything else I'll let you know! Let me know how you get on, I'm keen to see if you find the key :-)

  4. hey ... i think i got it .....
    the loaf is in oven now and i think i thought right ^^
    you have to cut the loaf BEFORE the 2nd rising .... now it looks perfect ... cant wait to get it out of the oven.... have to look again the show cause i thought paul cuts it after te second rising and i think thats a mistake in the show ... like the look of the dough when he splashes the olive oil over it ....
    greets Tina

  5. soooo now i´m done ....

    you have to cut it definately before ... that Bread was delicious
    ive tried it with stronger flour today but i think 550 Type is the right ... 1050 is to strong ( nic bread but rising is not as high as the 550)

    1. I'm so glad to hear that you got some successful results! Enjoy eating it now as your reward! :-)

  6. Hi, I've tried to make this loaf twice and both times it has spread width ways rather then rising. Yesterday's end result resembled a ciabatta - the mix seemed quite wet.

    Today I didn't add so much water but still after shaping and 2nd proving the loaf spread sideways.

    What am I doing wrong...? Any help gratefully received!!

    1. Hi! First question would be, is anything touching the top of the loaf when it proves for the second time, such as a cloth or cling film? If so, any small amount of pressure will prevent it from growing upwards, and sent it sideways instead. A good tip is to place an upturned glass or mug at either end of the loaf before covering it, which will give it some growing room upwards as it proves. Also, place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven when baking, as the steam helps create a better 'bloom' from the loaf.
      It sounds like one attempt did have too much water, you don't always need to use the full amount specified in the recipe.
      The loaf will always spread sideways somewhat, as it will grow in any direction it can, and without a tin to contain it it can grow out as well as up.
      Hope this helps - let me know if there's anything else I can help with :-)

    2. Hi, I did use upturned cups with clingfilm and nothing touched the bread. On both attempts I also had a tray of water in the oven. Maybe 3rd time lucky......thank you.

    3. Hmm ok, I'm not sure what else to suggest I'm afraid? Hope the next attempt comes out how you'd like, please let me know how you get on? :-)

  7. I think I have just twigged the spreading problem which I get my self.
    For the second proving I put it on an oiled try instead of baking paper as per the recipe so of course there is no friction and it spreads I will try putting it on baking paper and see if that sorts the issue

    1. Ah that's a good spot. You could also try dusting the grease proof paper with flour and semolina, I've found that really helps with sourdough bread too and helps it grow up not out.


Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment - I always try to reply as soon as possible.

You can also find me on;
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pantrydoor
Twitter: @ThePantryDoor1
Pinterest: thepantrydoor