Makes one big bloomer
500 g strong white wheat Shipton Mill flour
2.5 g/1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast/ 1 ¾ teaspoons dry yeast
100 g sugar
2 big tablespoons of honey
250 g water
50 g/2 tablespoons butter
10 g /2 teaspoons salt
20 – 60 strands of Saffron (see how to use Saffron)
How to use Saffron
Decided how much Saffron you want to use: 20 strands will give a subtle, honeyed flavor, 60 strands will give a strong Saffron flavor and a rich golden colour.
Crumble the requires number of threads into a small container, or ideally grind them in a pestle and mortar. This breaks the outer waxy ‘skin’ to let the flavor, colour and aroma out.
The finer you grind the Saffron is a personal thing, the finer the grind the more uniform the bread colour will be, or a coarser grind will allow hotspots of rich orangey red against a yellow background.
Add a small amount of pre heated water to the mortar of container to make a Saffron infusion. Allow at least 20 minutes for the flavor and colour to infuse out. You can leave the Saffron to infuse for several hours if you like.
Your Saffron infusion is ready to add to the bread recipe. There is no need to strain the Saffron bits.
If you are using instant yeast, put all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix them together. Tip out onto a counter and knead well for 10 minutes.
If you are using dry yeast, put the dry ingredients in a big bowl and make a well. Sprinkle the dry yeast into the well and add 100 g of the water. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Tip out onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes.
The dough will be sticky and yellowy.
Put the kneaded dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel, shower hat or plastic bag. Allow to rest for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Pull out the dough onto a floured surface.
To shape the bloomer, flatten the dough into a rectangle. With the long side facing you fold each end into the middle then roll like a Swiss roll so that you have a smooth top with the seam along the base. Gently tuck and round the end so that you have an oval shape, then gently roll with the heel of your hands to make the classic bloomer shape.
Place the bloomer on a baking tray and put inside a clean plastic bag ensuring there is enough space between the dough and the bag, so it won’t touch the plastic as it rises. Leave the loaf for about 1 hour until it doubles in size.
Heat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6. Once the loaf is risen, spray with water. Dust with a handful of flour and rub gently all over the loaf. Using a sharp knife score 4-5 diagonal slashes across the loaf, 2-3 cm deep. The slashes will reveal the gorgeous sunny interior of the loaf.
Bake for 45 minutes. To check whether it is done, tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow then it is done, if not then pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes until done. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, pause, smile and soak in the sunshine.