Crusty Topped Bloomer (Tiger Bread)
This is a simple white bloomer loaf that has a tasty crunchy top which once you have tried it you will be hooked. You get more for your money with this recipe - a huge loaf using just 500g flour and it keeps fresh for longer than other home made breads.
If you are mixing your dough by hand place the flour, salt and yeast in a roomy mixing bowl then add 280ml of the water and mix to a rough dough. If the dough is very dry then add the rest of the water. Knead the dough for at least ten minutes until it becomes stretchy, smooth and non sticky. If you are going to knead the dough in a table top mixer fitted with a dough hook – I usually place the yeast into the bottom of the bowl then add the flour, salt and finally the water. Add 280ml of the water then mix long enough for the dough to form a ball then add the rest of the water a little at a time. Continue to knead the bread dough until smooth and stretchy – avoid adding extra flour.
Kneading by hand will take at least ten minutes. I use spray oil to grease a glass bowl – transfer the dough and cover with a beeswax wrap, plate or reusable plastic cover then leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising make the topping. In a small bowl place all the ingredients, adding sufficient water to mix into a thick paste about the consistency of whipped double cream. Set aside.
When the dough has risen turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a bloomer and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Using the hand spread a thick coat of topping paste over the shaped dough then supply a generous sifting of flour.
Leave to prove for about an hour and a half. I find an ambient temperature of 18 degrees celsius will take an hour and a half – 15 minutes or so less if the room is warmer and up to two hours when the room is cold. Leave the dough uncovered on the work surface. It will be ready to bake when you see that the loaf has doubled in size – and that the paste over the surface has cracked open as the dough increased in size.
Bake at 220 degrees for 30 minutes until the top is crisp and brown.
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