In bread week I was also inspired by the technical challenge – English Muffins. I have tried to make these before a number of times with limited success. Normally, I cook them on the griddle and although burnt on the outside, when I cut them open, they are very dense and doughy and have to be toasted. I was a bit apprehensive about this bake but I was determined to give Paul’s recipe a go.
The dough is incredibly wet. Having watched the episode and seen the contestants struggle with this, I was not unprepared for this. Even still, it felt very wrong and after 10 minutes I did add a little bit of extra flour to bring it together. It really did feel like it had gone wrong and I hand kneaded for 20-25 minutes before the dough came together. At this stage I was worried that this might mean it had been overworked but I had to keep going. The dough proved slowly but effectively and I shaped it by hand instead of using a cutter (I didn’t want to waste any dough and I quite like the rustic uneven look of the batch.
The second rise was the most eventful part of the bake. During this episode of the bake off one of the contestants (Howard) is talking to Sue and she leans on his muffins leaving a mould of her elbow on his lovingly crafted muffins. As I covered mine with a tea towel, I was reminded of this moment and smirked to myself. Then I left the kitchen. When I returned, my lovely boyfriend had cleared the kitchen and stacked the washing up ready to get on with it. Unfortunately the bottom of the stack was my muffins. That’s what you get for being amused by another’s misfortune. Luckily there was nothing to heavy in the washing up and some gentle prodding revitalised my muffins.
Part of me is loath to say it but that Paul Hollywood know what he’s doing. Look at those beauties. Brown tops and bottoms with white round the side. Those muffins were fluffy and rich and so much better than shop-bought. We ate them with cream cheese and smoked salmon and I can now confidently say that I CAN make muffins. I think I added too much extra flour when I made muffins previously.