Simple white bloomer

Simple white bloomer

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

If you’re just starting to Bake It Yourself, there’s no better building block than basic white bread. Few things are more appealing than the aroma of a freshly baked loaf wafting through your house. When I started baking, I mucked up lots of loaves by over-complicating them, but I’ve since learned that there’s no need. With this recipe, you will achieve a great-tasting loaf first time around and see how incredibly simple it is to make.


Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour, plus more to dust
1 tablespoon ‘quick’ yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
300ml water

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
baking tray
small roasting tin
wire cooling rack


  1. Stick the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and the water and continue to mix, using the spoon at first, then, once it stops looking sticky, your hands, until all the flour has come away from the sides; this dough should leave the bowl pretty clean.
  2. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Once the dough is smooth, rub a few drops of oil around the bowl, pop the dough back in it, cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 1–2 hours until it has at least doubled in size. It is worth taking a photo of it on your phone so you can compare later to see whether it’s risen enough. If you’re feeling impatient, stick it somewhere warm (such as the airing cupboard). You’ll still make a nice loaf but it won’t be as flavoursome. (That’s because flavour develops as a yeasted dough proves, so speeding up the process means you miss out on some of that extra taste.)
  3. Once it’s proved, tip out the dough on to a very lightly floured surface and ‘knock back’, by folding it in on itself about 6 or 7 times to pop the large air bubbles. Pat into a long oval shape, about 25 cm long, and put on to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Put the tray inside a plastic carrier bag – the bag shouldn’t touch the dough but should form a tent around it – and leave it to prove again for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 240°C, fill a small roasting tin with around 200 ml of boiling water and put it in the bottom of the oven (this will help to form a crunchy crust on the loaf ).
  5. Remove the dough from the plastic bag and, with a very sharp knife, slash the loaf diagonally at 2 cm intervals along the top, then dust lightly with flour.
  6. Bake for 30–35 minutes until a rich brown colour. To check the loaf is done, turn it upside down and tap the base; it will sound hollow when it is cooked. Leave on a cooling rack until cold.


  • This recipe has a level 1 (beginner) difficulty.


  • Everyone kneads differently, but the most important thing is to stretch the dough. I push the heel of my palm into the centre of the dough, squishing it down, then push it away. The dough flattens out and I fold it back over, turn the dough, then repeat. It doesn’t seem like it’ll happen at first, but the dough does eventually change from lumpy and rough to smooth and elastic. Once it’s smooth, give it a few minutes’ more kneading, as you can’t over-knead by hand and it’s the closest thing you get to exercising in the kitchen! I normally take about 10 minutes to knead, but it may take slightly longer until you get the hang of it.


  • Nice one! You just made bread. Now, here are a few ways to muck about with it:

    Shape the loaf in different ways: form a round ‘cob’ with a cross slashed in the middle; or make a ‘sandwich’ loaf by putting the dough in a standard-sized (900 g) loaf tin before its second proving.

    Before it goes into the oven, instead of dusting with flour, you can spray water on the top of the loaf and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

    This dough can also be plaited; have a play with it and see what you come up with.
Great British Bake Off
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