29 May 2013

Paul Hollywood's Bloomer

Once upon a time I didn't eat bread for a year to see if I could lose a bit of the wobble around the waistline. I cannot conceive myself ever repeating this act of craziness again, I do not know how I managed it in the first place. Bread is a staple for me, something I am not advocating as a particularly healthy thing but...pish posh to that. Fresh bread from the oven with a little dot of butter melting in, unbeatable! I hadn't made bread for a verrrryyy long time, but now I am settled down again in a place with an oven (woop!) I decided to give it a go. As soon as this loaf emerged in all its yumminess I vowed not to buy bread for the next 6 or so months I will be living here (rather than in a van, a bit of a hindrance on the ol' baking that is). Yes it is not a quick fix and does require a few hours, but realistically it is SO easy! If you haven't made bread before, well you really should change that right now, if only for the amazing smell that will make your neighbours jealous :)

As soon as I think of bread, I think of Paul Hollywood. The silver fox that he is certainly knows his stuff, if you don't know of him I strongly recommend watching a few episodes of The Great British Bake Off! I love him and Mary Berry as a duo :) After seeing this recipe made on that amazing show I decided this would be an ace starting point to rekindle my yeasty skills.

If you do not like delectably crusty crusts, a superbly fluffy soft crumb and a pretty darn easy recipe then ignore the below. As true of most homemade bread, it is best fresh the first day and (although still soft) as toast the second, but trust me it won't last long in any home!

ps prepare yourself for some more awesome Paul Hollywood recipes soon!

Paul Hollywood's Bloomer
Adapted from BBC Food
Makes 1 loaf

500g (1lb 2oz) strong white flour (N1)
10g salt
1 x 8g sachet of instant yeast (N2)
320ml (11 1/2 oz) tepid water
40ml (1 1/2 oz) olive oil, plus extra for kneading

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Place the salt and yeast in the bowl on opposite sides (the salt will cause the yeast to become inactive if in direct contact)
Add the oil and 240ml of water
Mix with your hands and gradually add some of the remaining water. You will likely not use all the water, just enough so the flour leaves the side of the bowl and you have a rough dough
Knead the dough on an oiled surface for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky (N3)
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until tripled in size, 1-2 hours

Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Once risen knock the dough back on an oiled/floured surface. Basically, beat it up! Knock as much air out as you can by folding it on itself then flattening it until you are left with a smooth dough
To shape into a bloomer, flatten dough into a rough rectangle and roll from the shorter end to create a 'swiss roll' with the seam on the bottom. Very gently roll with the heel of your hands
Place the dough on the baking tray, cover and leave in a warm place for another 1-2 hours

Preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F / gas 7
Lightly spray the dough with water, sprinkle a little flour on top and gently rub it over the top (this will create a lovely crust)
Make 4 diagonal slashes 1cm deep along the top of the dough using a very sharp knife (serrated if necessary)
Place a tray of water into the bottom of the oven which will create steam and a better crust on the bloomer
Place the loaf on the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200C / 400F / gas 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
Cool on a wire rack for a while before cutting

1. I used plain white flour, one day I will invest in the proper stuff and see what differences it makes!
2. Recipe calls for 7g sachets, the stuff I get here weighs 8g, so use what you have on hand  :)
3. If you are new to kneading what I do is lightly pin down the side nearest to me with my left fingers then, starting in the middle of the dough, push down and away with the heel of my right hand - it will at the beginning especially 'break' but you will notice it becoming more stretchy as you keep going. After pushing away, roll the dough back towards you using your right hand. Turn the dough 90 degrees or so and repeat

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