The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Good old English Bloomer....

Matt Edy's picture
Matt Edy

Good old English Bloomer....

As a passionate baker, and my passion for traditional english breads.... I decided to make a white bloomer this afternoon, which turned out pretty well to be fair (better than I had expected). Still think there's room for improvement though.... What do you guys think?


I made it with the following formula;

Final dough formula;

450g Strong white flour (13.9 protein)

250g "Old dough" (25% prefermented flour, see below for formula)

283.5g Water

8.1g Salt

9g Fresh yeast

Dough temperature of 25 degrees C. Bulk fermented at room temperature for 2hours. Scaled off at 950g, pre-shaped and rested for 10 minutes. My old dough had been stored in the refridgerator for more than 24 hours prior to incorporating into the final dough.

* "old dough" formula;

150g Strong white flour

94.5g Water

2.7g Salt

3g Fresh yeast



Crider's picture

Absolutely outstanding.

Alpana's picture

If I ever manage to score like this, I won't even bother cutting the bread ;)

ananda's picture

Hi Matt,

I'm intrigued to know what your definition of a "traditional English loaf" is?   I'm just wondering how far back in time you were going when you decided on the term.

Out of interest, I believe the loaf was made using a Sponge and Dough method.   It is named as the "London Bloomer" in some sources, but it's not really that old.   It must have emerged at the time Britain was importing wheat from a then colonial Canada, after the advent of industrial milling.   So, maybe late 19th Century, probably early 20th in reality.

Best wishes


Matt Edy's picture
Matt Edy

My definition of english breads would be thouse that you see in many independant/supermarket (commercial) bakeries in the UK. These being the bloomer, cob, cottage loaf, tin and farmhouse loaves. What would be your definition?

Ok, would I get any difference using sponge and dough to using "old dough"? Maybe taste? I believe the higher protein wheat imported from canada was used for this type of loaf, to get the bigger "bloom"?

A question.... do higher protein flours require longer fermentation time to take advantage of greater volume?




ananda's picture

Yes, Matt, you are quite right about the use of the strong flour giving this loaf its name.

There is a bit of information on Shipton Mill's website, which I assume is from Clive Mellum.

Regarding long fermentation, surely of greatest significance is this: stronger flours require longer fermentation to modify the gluten structure for better bread.   Strong flour has more high quality protein, and so long as it is hydrated correctly, then fermented properly, dough from this flour will be superior to that made with lower protein.   This is particularly manifest by the final volume in the loaf.

That does not necessarily mean better flavour, of course, and don't forget that it had to be shipped halfway round the world to reach these shores.

I was really contemplating the bread eaten in Britain before the Industrial Revolution: very different indeed!

Take care


Cob's picture

You do indeed have a lovely bloom, though I would have baled darker.

I thought the bread Bloomer was born of the war years in East London, or something? So it cannot be older than 80 years.

As for using a pate fermentee, over a sponge-dough, it depends on both the % of the final TP, and how old your old dough really is. 72-96hrs is as old as I'm prepared to use it.

I'm quite partial to a sponge-dough: for me, the flavour is superior. Or use both. Or chuck in some leaven. Bloomer is more of an iconic shape and taste than a recipe: flattish, lowish hydration, 'sweet' (mildly fermented), quite closed textured (crummy in E.David's words) with half-open cuts since they are proved to double.

As for high gluten flour, it's wasted if you don't 'work' it long enough, 20-30 mins hand kneading. It comes down to price, soft flours are cheap as chips. Imported very strong flours are expensive. It's all wheat at the end of the day, and we spend time fermenting it. Different wheats will yield differences in flavour, naturally. What's special about super strong flour is their ability to rise sky-high.

Moulin's picture

Hi Matt,


I know you posted this recipe a few years ago but I am interested in baking an English Bloomer and read your recipe.

However am I understanding it right that the 2nd rise after shaping was for 10minutes?


Matt Edy's picture
Matt Edy

Hi there,

No, that’s the intermediate resting before the dough is shaped into the “Bloomer shape”, once shaped it then proves as per usual breads. 

Hope that’s clearer for you...