This months fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by myself. I bought the River Cottage handbook Bread by Daniel Stevens (published by Bloomsbury) a month or so back and decided I wanted to do a challenge from there. I thought it might be nice to do something other than a loaf so I have picked English Muffins. I love English muffins toasted and buttered for breakfast and buy them regularly but I have heard they are even better when homemade. I have attempted English muffins once before and the results were not good – most were burnt on the outside and doughy in the middle. I suspected I had the heat on too high but they showed promise so I thought I would try again and what better way to do that than through this baking challenge where we can all help each other out and ask for advice.I really enjoyed this challenge. The recipe was easy to follow and the resulting muffins were delicious. Much better than my first attempt!
This dough is soft so you may prefer to use a mixer if you have one.
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
5g powdered dried yeast
10g fine salt
325ml warm water
A drizzle of sunflower oil, plus extra for coating
A handful of semolina flour, for coating
To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round, coat with a little extra oil and place in a clean bowl. Leave to rise, covered with a plastic bag until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out on to the work surface and press all over to deflate. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a round and flatten to about 1-2cm. Dust them all over with semolina flour; this gives a lovely texture to the crust. Leave to prove on a linen cloth or wooden board, covered with a plastic bag, until doubled in size.
Heat a couple of large heavy-based frying pans over a medium heat. Lay the muffins in the pans and cook for a minute or so, then turn them over gently. Cook slowly for a further 10 minutes, turning every now and then. You may need to adjust the heat if they are colouring too fast, or not fast enough. Alternatively, if you are using an Aga, cook the muffins directly on the warm plate for up to 15 minutes, give them a quick blast on the hot side at the end, if you think they need it. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Fresh from the oven – Baking one loaf at a time.
Fresh from the oven is a monthly bread baking group started by Brooke and now handed over (Brooke’s first baby is due next month – good luck Brooke) to myself and Jules. Challenges are announced on our private blog on the first of each month and then on the 28th of the month each member posts their bread on their blogs. Why not follow us on twitter, view our public blog which showcases all our efforts or email us to join at freshfromtheoven AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk.