‘The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn.’
Well, there you have it- never a truer word spoken. And here’s a recipe to prove it! I’ve taken the humble bloomer and given it a little upgrade. The secret ingredient do I hear you ask? A stock cube. I’ve used chicken, but you could try beef or even fish if you’re feeling really adventurous- although personally, fishy bread doesn’t sound very appetising to me...
Whenever I have a family get together, this bread always takes centre stage. It’s simple but effective. Whether you want to eat it warm, freshly baked out of the oven with a slather of butter (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), mopping up soup, toasted or to make a sandwich, it’s an all rounder. Obviously if you want a regular bloomer, just don’t add the stock cube to the water.
Happy bread baking!
Makes 1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
For the Bloomer:
500g white bread flour
7g sachet of instant yeast
30ml olive oil
300ml stock made up with a chicken cube, cooled to room temperature
Add the flour, salt and yeast to a large bowl, keeping the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl, and combine with a whisk. Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil followed by 280ml of the stock. Mix together using your hands and add the remaining water if the mixture feels too dry. Continue mixing with your hands until you have a rough dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough feels smooth and springy to the touch. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, turning it over to grease all sides of the dough and cover loosely with cling film. Allow to rise in a warm place for an hour to an hour and a half until tripled in size. For the warm place, (because let’s face it I don’t exactly live in a warm place!) I whack my oven up to full temperature for 1 minute and switch it off. I prove my dough in there and it normally takes just over an hour.
Place the risen dough onto a floured surface and knock back the air by pressing your knuckles down onto it and folding it onto itself. Once all the air has been knocked out, flatten the dough into a rough rectangle. With the long side facing you, roll the dough like a swiss roll and gently tuck the sides underneath so all the seams end up below the loaf. Continue smoothing the sides and edges of the loaf until a neat, oval shape is achieved that has no seams visible to the eye.
Place on a tray lined with baking parchment and cover with a light tea towel for an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan, fill a baking dish with water and place it on the bottom shelf of the oven. This will cause steam in the oven, giving your bread a wonderfully crisp crust.
Spray the loaf with water (I fill up an empty spray oil bottle with water) and dust with flour, gently smoothing it around with your hands for even coverage- be very careful you don’t misshape the loaf whilst you’re doing this! Using a serrated knife, make 4-5 diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf.
Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes and then lower the temperature to 200°C/180°C fan and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and once cool enough to handle, lift the bread and give it a little knock underneath. If it makes a hollow sound it’s done!
Once it’s cooled for at least 20 minutes, slice and serve!