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Light Rye Bloomer Bread

An easy recipe for a classic bloomers loaf in cob style.

Light Rye Bloomer Cob Bread

Homemade Bloomer Bread

Bread making was something I used to do regularly, but I convinced myself I didn't have the time and gave it up.

I don't know who I was trying to convince when I decided it took too long.

If you have ten to fifteen minutes to pull together your ingredients, get the yeast started and do some kneading you can walk away from the dough while it rises and get on with your day.

It really doesn't require a lot of time.

Organise your time

It's amazing how much time you actually have, even on the busiest day if you're organised and make a plan. I can't claim to be this person very often.

I'm sure my blogging friend Eb Gargano will have a post about that.

Wait a minute, yes she does. 10 Ways To Stop Wasting Time and Actually Get Stuff Done.

Bread in Fife

So what gave me the push to start breadmaking again?

On Easter Sunday my friend Grant and I drove through to Edinburgh to have a day of breadmaking with Colin Lindsay from Bread In Fife.

I know it's strange to have a business called Bread in Fife in Edinburgh (which is in Lothian not Fife), but originally Colin lived in a beautiful cottage with a rambling garden in a charming village called Freuchie. Freuchie is in Fife, on the East coast of Scotland. 

Now Colin holds classes in the gorgeous new apartment, he and his wife live in overlooking the beach and boats on the Granton waterfront.

Granton harbour in Edinburgh when the tide is out viewed from a balcony filled with flowers

Breadmaking course

If you're looking for the perfect way to spend a day or for a really special gift, I would highly recommend one of Colin's bread making classes.

Edinburgh is easy to travel to from most parts of the UK with good links by bus, train and plane.

This is the third time I've paid to attend a bread making day course with Colin and each has been fantastic.

He's so knowledgeable about the science of bread making and has so many stories to share.

The day passes by in a flash and you go home laden with bread and feeling as relaxed as you would after a yoga retreat.

I'll give you more information at the bottom of the post. Now back to the bread.

Granton Harbour in Edinburgh with sailing boats in the distance

What is bloomers bread?

Bloomers often known as London Bloomers, must not be confused with the skirt famously worn by American Women's Rights activist Amelia Jenks Bloomer or the long, loose knickers, which were the underwear favoured by British ladies in the early nineteenth century.

Bloomers is actually a type of hand-shaped crusty bread, which is rounded at each end and has several diagonal slashes across the top.

The dough can be made with an overnight sponge starter or made with dried yeast right away with no forward planning.

Bread in Fife breadmaking class in action - measuring ingredients

What is a sponge starter?

A sponge starter develops the yeast before you begin the process of making bread.

It can be made the night before and is made from strong 'bread' flour, (often between a third and a half of the flour listed in the recipe) water and yeast.

This style of loaf is somewhere between a freshly baked loaf made with dried yeast and a sourdough loaf made with a sourdough starter.

It has lots of flavour and texture but none of the hard work of sourdough baking.

Personally I think looking after a sourdough starter can be likened to having an extra pet, which needs to be watered, fed and looked after.

How do you make a sponge starter?

The flour, cool water and yeast are mixed in a bowl, covered and left at room temperature overnight.

The overnight sponge ferments while it sits, which adds more flavour and texture to the finished bread.

The next day you simply add the rest of the flour, water salt and oil to the starter and knead the dough. You don't add any more yeast on the second day.

Sponge starter or quick bread?

I have added a note on how to make the sponge starter in the recipe card below, but if like me you decide to make bread straight away with no overnight prep, you can skip this step.

We all loved the quick bread version, which had a great flavour and the most amazing crust.

The choice is yours. Of course you still need to build in time for the dough to rise, no matter which style you choose, but you can be doing other things while the dough does it's thing!

Thanks to Colin Lindsay for the recipe.

pin it for later

An easy recipe for a classic bloomers loaf in cob style with tutorial on making a sponge starter. Which is an easy method of sourdough bread making. #bloomers #bloomerbread #crustybread #breadcob #spongestarter #sourdough #bread #homemadebread #yeast #breadmaking #rye #lightrye #ryebread


dough rising

Breadmaking tips

  1. Knead the dough until the gluten starts to develop. The dough will become silky smooth and stretchy.
  2. When you add the olive oil, it will seem like there is too much and it may seem like the dough will never absorb all the oil, but keep kneading and it will eventually all soak in. Do this in your bowl not on the worktop. It may seem slimey and it may separate, but trust me and keep kneading the oil in.
  3. Once you have finished kneading, form the dough into a ball and place back into your bowl, covering it with clingfilm, a shower cap or a clean tea towel to rise.
  4. You will see a good rise after an hour.
  5. Knock the dough back by pressing with your knuckles, then tuck the ends under until you are left with a smooth long cob shaped dough.

Second rising of dough in bag sprayed with water

Second rise

  1. Place your bloomer on a floured baking sheet. You can use flour or polenta for this.
  2. Put the tray in a plastic bag (yes I know we are all trying to cut down on plastic, but if you have a large plastic bag-for-life, set it aside and keep it for bread making) and spray inside the bag with water so it doesn't dry out while it has a second rise.
  3. Leave it for one hour.

Scoring dough before baking

Scoring dough

  1. Cut or score diagonal slits across the top of the bread.
  2. Make sure you use a really sharp knife as you want clean cuts, you don't want it to drag.
  3. Three or four cuts are enough.

Bloomer bread on baking tray just out of the oven

How will I know when the bread is baked?

  1. Bake the bread until golden.
  2. The crust should be firm and dry.
  3. Turn it upside down and tap the underside, it should sound hollow.
  4. If it needs longer put it back in for a few minutes upside down to give the bottom of the bread a chance to crisp up (no soggy bottoms here).

bloomer bread sliced on a wooden board

Give freshly baked bread time to cool

Give your bread a chance to cool properly on a wire rack. I was very impatient and started cutting it while it was still warm and as you can see in the above photo it was soft and it tore.

Do what I say and not what I do is the moral of this story.

It was sensational, even if I cut it too soon and that crust, on my!

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British, vegan
Yield: 12 slice loaf

Light Rye Bloomer Bread

Light Rye Bloomer Bread

An easy recipe for a classic bloomers loaf in cob style made with a mixture of strong white 'bread' flour and light rye flour.
prep time: 2 H & 15 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 2 H & 55 M


  • 500g strong white 'bread' flour 
  • 50g light rye flour
  • 5g dried yeast 
  • 8g salt 
  • 320g warm water 
  • 40g olive oil


How to cook Light Rye Bloomer Bread

  1. In a large bowl mix the strong white flour, salt, yeast and water.
  2. Knead the dough until the gluten begins to develop (it will become silky and smooth), then add the olive oil and knead energetically for roughly 10 minutes until all the olive is absorbed and the dough is smooth and springy. Don't panic if there seems to be more oil, keep going and it will absorb it all. It may separate, but keep going.
  3. Clean the bowl, rub a little oil in the bowl,  then put the dough back in and cover with clingfilm, a shower cap or clean tea towel, in a warm place. for 1 hour. If the room is cool, leave it for longer.
  4. Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface then knock it back by pressing it with your knuckles. 
  5. Gently shape the dough into a bloomer shape, pulling the edges under gently to leave a tension on the surface.
  6. Transfer the shaped dough on to a floured tray. Put the tray in a plastic bag and give a quick spray of water to stop the dough from drying out as it proves. Leave it to prove for an hour. 
  7. After an hour preheat your oven to 220c/200c fan/425f/gas mark 7.
  8. Remove the tray from the bag, spray the loaf lightly with water and dust with white flour. 
  9. With your sharpest knife make the traditional three diagonal slashes on the top. 
  10. Bake for 25 minutes then turn the oven down to  200c/180c fan/400f/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until golden. Do the tap test on the underside of the loaf, if it needs longer pop back in on the tray upside down for a few more minutes.
  11. Leave to cool on a baking rack.
  12. Enjoy!


To make an overnight sponge starter, mix 200g of strong white flour, 220g cool water and 2g yeast (from the recipe ingredient list). Mix this together, cover and leave at room temp overnight. In the morning add the remainder of the flour, water, salt, oil but no more yeast and knead as instructed. This technique improves the flavour. of the loaf.
Nutrition and calories are per slice.
Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Sugar (grams)
Protein (grams)
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Cholesterol (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

Falafel and Apple Sandwich

Get your bloomers on!

Bloomers bread is fabulous served plain spread just with some butter or vegan spread, but it also makes a rather fabulous sandwich. 

Here are a few sandwiches to make with your bloomers bread

  1. Falafel and Apple Sandwich - The crunch of the apple is great next to the soft falafel. If you are making ahead, toss the apple in a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. Spiced Chickpea and Carrot Sandwich - You have to try this tasty chickpea sandwich filler. It's so good.
  3. The Veggie BLT - This can be vegetarian or vegan depending on which cheese you use. It's so good and a real keeper


Wholewheat Cobs

Recipes and step-by step instructions to make a sponge, which you can then use to make wholemeal cobs.

Bread in Fife (now in Edinburgh)

Phone or Text: 07840 258550
Group bookings: Save £20 when two book, £45 when three book and £60 when 4 book together.

Disclosure: I'm sharing information on Bread in Fife because I am such a fan. I paid for each course I attended in full.


  1. This looks so light and fluffy; I am looking forward to giving this a try!

    1. It is a really nice loaf. Soft inside with a really great crust.

    2. I've just made this and have to say.. This is the best bread I have ever made! Brilliant crust and amazingly light fluffy crumb.
      Great recipe. I was a bit unsure about the quantity of olive oil, but persevered, but trust me. This is a perfect bread. Thank you, Stu

    3. I am so pleased it turned out well for you and yes the oil takes a bit of working in. You have to trust the process

  2. I've never heard of bloomer bread before. It looks so delicious. Thank you for the detailed instructions and tips! I need to give this one a try.

    1. It's a really good loaf to start with and a good all rounder. It's great buttered, used for sandwiches and toasted.

  3. Thanks for all of the tips! Wish I lived close enough to attend one of the breadmaking classes.

    1. Oh they really are good. Such a good way to spend the day.

  4. I made this last night and it turned out spot on--perfect. Best Rye bread ever.

    1. Oh good, I am glad you enjoyed it Heidy. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. That bread is just gorgeous -- so pretty. And I'm a huge fan of rye, so I'm all over that. I mix it with a white whole wheat instead of a plain white, and then I can excuse a second slice. ☺

    1. Thanks Tanita and you are so much more disciplined than me. Good tip though.

  6. I always think of bloomer bread as bread with quite a soft loaf so it is interesting to hear that it is crusty. I have had a sourdough starter for 5 years so I rarely make yeasted bread or knead bread dough these days - if you are getting into breadmaking the great thing about the starter is that it makes me bake bread more than I otherwise would - the bad thing is that I end up like tonight hoping it will be bubbly enough to get the bread rising overnight. As for putting the rising loaf in a plastic bag, I have a large beeswax sheet and use this to wrap loosley around the loaf on a tray and fold the wrap under the tray. But still have to occasionally use the plastic bag. And I hear you about cutting a warm loaf from the oven - it always smells so good that it is hard to wait.

    1. This one definitely had quite a crust. I suppose it varies from loaf to loaf and supermarket breads probably have preservatives in them and all sorts.

  7. I love homemade bread. I've never tried making rye before, but I think I need to change that.

    1. This isn't a full rye bread, which would be a heavier loaf. The rye does add some flavour though.

  8. Brilliant post. Love it for all sorts of reason. Real bread is one of my passions. I love going on cookery courses, but bread ones in particular. There's always more to learn. And I love Scotland and hearing about the goings on.

    Plus you gave me a good giggle. My sourdough is so much easier to make than yeasted bread and really isn't any faff at all. It sits quietly at the back of the fridge until needed - as long as I don't leave it too long. But your loaf looks absolutely fabulous and it's always good to ring the changes. Pinned and shared.

    1. I've always thought a starter needed a lot of attention. It seems too much faff and I really don't have room in my fridge. I will have to have a look at some of your loaves. Thanks for sharing Choclette.

  9. Can you make this dough in the bread maker and then finish manually

    1. Yes you could do that. Or if you have a dough hook on a stand mixer.

  10. This recipe is fantastic and so straightforward. Had a bit of a wobble when adding the olive oil the first time but persevered, encouraged by your reassurances that it would work! I've tweaked the recipe a bit to add 100g of light rye and 450 of strong white. The loaves turned out so well with a lovely crust and my kids have devoured them quickly which is a good sign. I'm going to try rolls this time. Thanks for such a great recipe, this is now my 'go to' bread recipe.

    1. I just spotted your comment. Yes it does seem like it's ruined but it comes together nicely in the end you just have to keep kneading it. I am so glad you like it and thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  11. What a delightful recipe. I did the overnight sponge and used a mixture of 4 different flours. I was worried it hadn’t risen enough with only 2g of yeast but wowsers it’s come out amazingly well. I’ll try put a photo on Instagram. I am almost drooling at the sight of it. Keeping away from it until it has cooled down.

    Loving your site.

    1. Sorry, I just spotted your comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed it. The recipe was given to me by my breadmaking guru Colin from bread in Fife.


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