Cooking for Wan: For the Love of Bread

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Buns (English Muffins) in the sun

You may have seen from my recent Instaposts that I have upped my bread-making game to the echelons of french bread. Yes, I attempted to make baguettes. And I did not totally fail. I was very happy about this.

I bloody love bread. Not quite as much as I love rice, but it’s high up there on my list of Top 5 Carbs. I’m so happy that there isn’t a shortage of bread in the shops at the moment, but I am highly pissed by the shortage of bread flour. Great that everyone is now on the bread-making band wagon but seriously, buying kilos of it at once will not make you a good baker. It will make you a flour-hoarding moron. The world does not need flour-hoarding morons right now.

Since I only order groceries every 2-3 weeks, I tend to make bread-based goods in between. I mean, firstly it’s something to do with all my time at home and secondly, I only make what I need to eat so there is less waste.

A few weeks ago I experienced what I can only describe as an Easter miracle where I was able to order 3 bags of flour. 3 WHOLE BAGS OF PLAIN FLOUR. They were listed as 500g bags so I got 3, to equate to a normal 1.5kg bag… when they arrived, to my delight, they were 1.1kg bags! PLAIN FLOUR MY PRECIOUS.

So, whatever bread-based goods I make are currently restricted to plain flour recipes only. If like me, you’re only able to get plain flour, why not have a go at making some English Muffins reminiscent of the days when we could get Egg McMuffins from McDonald’s? Remember them? I had a go at Bigger Bolder Baking‘s recipe that called for the most basic of ingredients and knead-power. With a few tweaks and no overnight proofing, here’s how it goes:

Ingredients:
(makes 7 muffins)

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups milk (I used unsweetened oat milk and it worked great)
  • 1/2 cups warm water
  • 25g butter
  1. Put the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, and salt) into a bowl. I use a kitchen mixer so I put mine straight into the mixing bowl and had the dough hook attachment ready.
  2. Put the milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan and heat/melt. It should be warm but not too hot to touch.
  3. Add 2/3 of the the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until you form a dough. I use the dough hook attachment on my mixer for this but you can equally use a wooden spoon. Add the remaining 1/3 of your wet ingredients (if needed) until you get a soft and sticky dough. If you’ve added all of your wet ingredients and your dough is still dry, add (in small quantities) some more warm water until you get to the desired consistency.
  4. When your dough is combined, scrape down the sides and cover with a damp tea towel until your dough has doubled in size. This takes around 45-60 minutes. My kitchen can be quite cool so I pre-heat the oven to the lowest heat setting, turn off, and pop my muffins inside to prove.
  5. Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto a floured surface and gently roll it out to about 1.5 inches in thickness. You can make thinner muffins if you like, but I like some height on mine!
  6. Using a 3.5 inch round biscuit cutter dusted in flour, cut out the muffins and place onto a lined baking tray (I use baking parchment). If you’re feeling fancy you can dust some semolina onto the parchment too. You can combine any dough scraps to re-roll and cut out again.
  7. Cover the muffins with a damp tea towel again and let the dough rise for a second time for another 45-60 minutes or until they have nearly doubled in size.
  8. Once the muffins have risen, heat a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet to a medium heat. Gently place the muffins onto the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side, then an additional 3 minutes on each side, with a lid on if you have one. Use a fish slice to flip them. Be careful not to burn the muffins – keep the heat on low if you need to.
  9. Place the muffins on a rack to cool – don’t cut into them immediately as you’ll end up with a mush! Give them a few minutes to cool before eating – probably the most torturous few minutes of your life but it’ll be worth it, I promise! Fin.

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Look at that crumb

The recipe makes around 7 muffins – 1 for each day of the week! They freeze really well too but I recommend slicing them in half before you put them in the freezer. I suggest serving these with… anything. Great for bacon and egg butties, with peanut butter, or just with a generous slathering of salted butter. How do you eat yours?

Happy cooking!

xxx

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