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A bloomer is a long round white loaf with diagonal slashes across its top. Its linguistic history is obscure: there is no record of the term bloomer in print before 1937, and its derivation has never been determined for certain. The likeliest explanation is that, either before or after baking, the loaf expands, or ‘blooms’—a reference perhaps to the widening of the slashes across the top, or to the fact that since the bloomer is not baked in a tin, it is free to expand in any direction it likes. In her English Bread and Yeast Cookery (1977), however, Elizabeth David puts forward several other theories, among them that bloomer refers to the ‘bloom’ or sheen on bread made from high-quality flour, and that it derives from a completely unrelated word bloom, meaning ‘ingot of metal’, on the basis of the loaf's shape.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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