GBBO challenge week 2 – English breakfast muffins

20130830-103131.jpgFind out more about my GBBO challenge.

This week’s technical challenge on the wonderful bake-off was to make English breakfast muffins. I first made muffins a couple of years ago when I found a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe for them on the Guardian website. I was amazed at how simple they are to make and cook, and how tasty they are compared to shop-bought versions, which I had always thought were quite okay anyway. Impressed with my muffin success, I also made the crumpets of his. Never again – what a disappointing waste of time: they took ages to make, were a pain in the neck to cook (and what a mess – sticking to everything) and didn’t even taste that nice. I am happy to be proved wrong if anyone has a better recipe for me to try, but until then I’ll be buying my crumpets from Waitrose, thank you very much.

20130829-165731.jpgAnyway, back to muffins. I could have tried to make a signature loaf or breadsticks, but then I’d have to eat it all, and a carb-attack like that would not be good for my waistline. The great thing about muffins is that I know they freeze perfectly and Andrew loves them because they form part of his favourite breakfast: eggs benedict.

20130829-165719.jpgHaving watched the actual programme, I realised that my way of making English muffins is slightly more haphazard than Paul Hollywood would expect. For example, I shape my muffins by hand and they are certainly not as uniform as they should be (even less so after Henry the cat had done a Sue Perkins on my proving muffins and squashed a couple of them during their final rise), and when they bake they don’t really stay flat on top but make a kind of domed shape – I thought that was normal, and it doesn’t bother me, but I suspect Paul’s eyebrows would be raised in disdain at the very thought.

Anyway, they might not look brilliant, but they taste pretty awesome, especially when spread with some lemon curd left over from last week’s GBBO challenge.

20130829-165756.jpgEnglish breakfast muffins – makes 10

500g strong white flour, 2 tsp salt, 7 g / one packet easy rise yeast, 325ml warm water, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, semolina for dusting

As I have the benefit of owning my beloved Kitchen Aid, I just put all the ingredients (minus the semolina) into there and let the dough hook do it’s work. 10 minutes later, my dough was ready for its first prove – it had doubled in size after around 30 minutes which was very satisfying to see, as normally I seem to make bread in the winter and it takes so long to rise. So after around an hour (to give it time to nearly explode out of the bowl) I divided the mixture into 10 roughly equal pieces and made them into muffin shapes. I dusted them with semolina, top and bottom, and then arranged them on a baking tray, covered them in clingfilm and a tea towel, and left them to rise again for another hour.

20130829-165743.jpgLittle did I realise that my little muffins would make such cosy pillows for Henry the cat, who I discovered later asleep on the kitchen table, squashing a few of my muffins. He did an even better job than Sue Perkins had done during the TV challenge! That is why some of my muffins are rather dented …

So, muffins rescued from the cat, I griddled them 5 at a time on a low heat for around 7 minutes each side. I allow them to cool on a wire tray before halving and toasting, and then spreading with butter, jam, lemon curd, etc. They also make a wonderful eggs benedict …

20130830-103139.jpgAndrew’s eggs benedict – serves one greedy Andrew

1 English breakfast muffin toasted and buttered, 2 thick slices of ham, 1 large tomato, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, black pepper

Andrew is weird and likes his eggs so that the yolks are solid. I just don’t understand that, but as that’s the way he likes them, I get the eggs on to poach immediately (cracked straight into boiling water which I have added a splash of white wine vinegar to). While they are cooking I toast the muffin and heat the ham and hollandaise for 30-60 seconds in the microwave. I buy Maille hollandaise because I hate seeing the amount of butter that has to go into real hollandaise if I make it. It’s got a lovely citrussy tang so I recommend it if you also despair at how fattening a homemade version is …

On top of the buttered, toasted muffin goes a couple of slices of tomato (he had eggs benedict like this once in the USA, and now he always has it made including tomatoes), followed by the warm ham, followed by a (solid) poached egg, and finally a large dollop of hollandaise. Grind plenty of black pepper over the top and serve.

Week 3’s challenges include trifle, iles flottant and petit fours. I think I might go for the trifle …


4 Replies to “GBBO challenge week 2 – English breakfast muffins”

  1. One for my to do list for sure. Might wait until Santa brings me (hopefully) my Kitchenaid then it will make light work of them 🙂 xxx ps I think Andrew’s egg preferences are odd too – hard yokes no no no lol!!! xx

    1. He’s just weird. Oooooh, fingers crossed for a kitchen aid for you – my best kitchen investment ever!

  2. I love the dented muffins bet – very original & unique!

    1. Not entirely planned but at least Henry didn’t ruin them!

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