Sunday, January 25

English Muffins

Makes 8 muffins
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
2tsp caster sugar
300ml (½pt) whole milk
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
450g (1lb 2oz) strong-white flour
A pinch of sea salt
50g (1¾oz) dry polenta

Put the butter and sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and pour in the milk. Whisk in the yeast and set aside.

Pour the flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and set the machine on its second lowest setting. Gradually pour in the milk and yeast mixture until fully combined and mix for 10 minutes. Turn the dough out into a large clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the work surface with half of  the polenta and turn out the dough. Using your hands, gently flatten the dough into  a large rectangle, roughly 1.5cm (¾in)  thick, and dust the top with the remaining polenta. Use an 8cm (3¼in) round cutter  to cut out 8 circles of dough, re-rolling the scraps if needed. Space the muffins out evenly on a large non-stick baking tray and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the muffins (you may need to do this in batches) for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until risen and golden. Serve warm, cut in half and spread with butter.
If you leave them to cool, cut them in half and toast until golden before spreading with butter or topping with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce or with bacon, cheese and a fried egg

Sunday, January 11

Stilton and bacon rolls

Originally from Paul Hollywood’s Bread.
Makes 7 rolls.
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g salt
10g fast-action dried yeast
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
320ml cool water
130g dry-cure back bacon rashers, rind removed
150g Stilton, at room temperature, crumbled
1. Put the flour in a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter in small pieces and mix with your fingers. Add 240ml of the water and mix it into the other ingredients using the fingers of one hand and a clawing action. Now add the remaining water a little at a time until you have a soft, sticky dough and you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the water; it will depend on the absorbency of the flour you’re using.
2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 5-10 minutes (or longer if you’re a beginner). It will become less sticky as you knead and eventually turn into a small ball with an elastic texture.
3. When the dough is smooth and stretchy, put it into a large bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled or tripled in size – at least 1 1/2 hours, but it can take up to 2 or even 3 hours.
4. In the meantime, heat your grill to medium-high and grill the bacon rashers for a minute or two on each side until cooked. Set aside to cool, then cut into small pieces (you need 90g).
5. Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back by folding it in on itself repeatedly until it is smooth and all the air has been pushed out. Use your hands to mix the crumbled Stilton and bacon into the dough, really crushing them in so they are evenly distributed.
6. Roll the dough into a long sausage and divide it into 16 equal pieces. The easiest way to do this is to cut the roll in half, then cut each piece in two, then repeat twice more. You can weigh the dough to be sure the pieces are the same size, and they’ll cook evenly.
7. Now roll each piece of dough into a ball between the palms of your hands. Alternatively, you can shape each one into a ball by rolling it around on the work surface using the cupped palm of one hand (or use both hands to roll two balls at a time).
8. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper, unless you have good non-stick trays. Place a roll in the centre of each tray and arrange 7 rolls around it, so they are almost touching. The rolls will come together as they rise to form a tear-and-share loaf.
9. Put each tray of rolls inside a large plastic bag, making sure there is plenty of space above the rolls so they won’t touch the plastic and stick to it as they rise.
10. Leave the rolls to prove, or rise again, until they have doubled in size and come together. This will take about 1-1 1/2 hours. The dough is ready for the oven if it springs back when you push a finger into it. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220C.
11. Spray the rolls with water, using a spray bottle, and then dust with flour. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Recipe and instructions HERE