Paul’s English Muffins , The Technical Bake From The Great British Bake Off Series 4

I was really excited to be watching episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off.  We’re beginning to get to know the faces of the contestants of this new series and what they are capable of.  As Week 2 was bread week and one area of baking I really struggle with, I was glued to the TV to see if I could pick up any tips or advice.  The breadsticks looked amazing and my mouth was watering at the thought of a pile of breadsticks washed down with a large glass of red wine. I had to make do with a cup of tea and I had already had my dinner.   I was totally gobsmacked by the over-the-top bakes of the showstopper bread.  It seems as if they are doing really taxing things this year and upping their game. I’m sorry to say this but I wasn’t impressed by the Octopus football bread . However I was amazed by all Kimberley’s bakes and was very surprised when she wasn’t made Star Baker.  Ruby though did extremely well and I was pleased to see her being recognised for all her efforts.  It was sad to see Lucy go, though. I thought she could have got further in the competition.

So, the technical bake for this week was English Muffins. As it was a bread bake it would be one of Paul Hollywood’s recipes.  I had to explain this to my children that I meant the sort of muffins you had at McDonalds with bacon and egg for breakfast, not ones with chocolate chips in!  I for one love English Muffins and my favourite dish on the menu at Betty’s in Harrogate is their delicious Eggs Benedict. So, I thought I would try it out on Saturday to see how I got on.  I was dreading it.

So on Saturday morning, my hubby was out working and the kids were still in bed (well they are teenagers!) I decided to get on with it so we could have the Eggs Benedict for lunch.  I always make a mess of Hollandaise sauce though, so I cheated and bought a jar of it from Tesco. I wish I hadn’t though, the list of additives on the label was shocking!  It was a Finest one but even that had glucose-fructose syrup in it? Why?  Totally not necessary but because I’d ordered it as part of an online shop I hadn’t checked the ingredients list first, yuck!

Strong white bread flour, yeast and salt are put into a large mixing bowl.
Strong white bread flour, yeast and salt are put into a large mixing bowl.
Sugar, small pieces of butter, a beaten egg and some mlik at room temperature are added to the bowl.
Sugar, small pieces of butter, a beaten egg and some mlik at room temperature are added to the bowl.
The dough is mixed together by working it with your hand.
The dough is mixed together by working it with your hand.
The dough is made into a big ball and kneaded for about 10 minutes.
The dough is made into a big ball and kneaded for about 10 minutes.
After kneading the dough is put in an oiled bowl, covered in cling film and left to rise on the worktop.
After kneading the dough is put in an oiled bowl, covered in cling film and left to rise on the worktop.

At this stage I thought I would get the kettle on and make myself a cuppa.  It was great to sit down for 5 minutes before the kids surfaced.  I didn’t get much time for sitting down as there was washing to hang out and some  ironing to get on with.  Why is it that on a day when I try out a Technical Bake, it ends up being a day where you have loads to do?

After about 1 1/2 hours the muffin dough was doubled in size.
After about 1 1/2 hours the muffin dough was doubled in size.
The dough is rolled out to a 1.5cm thickness and left on the worktop to relax for 1/4 hour.
The dough is rolled out to a 1.5cm thickness and left on the worktop to relax for 1/4 hour.
Some semolina was tipped onto a baking sheet and the muffins were dipped in this.
Some semolina was tipped onto a baking sheet and the muffins were dipped in this.

At this stage my hubby got in from work. He had been out to get a few jobs done that he needed to catch up with and came in absolutely starving.   I said if he wanted the dinner a bit quicker he could poach the eggs for me while I did the muffins.  He agreed to this thankfully as his poached eggs are sublime! This is the bit where I wanted it all to go right as when you make something for the first time, especially when you are making it for your family, you want it to go right.

The muffins are cooked in a griddle pan for about 6 or so minutes.
The muffins are cooked in a griddle pan for about 6 or so minutes.
Cooking the muffins on the other side.
Cooking the muffins on the other side.
Eight Muffins all ready to be split in half, toasted and eaten.
Eight Muffins all ready to be split in half, toasted and eaten.]

Fortunately, the muffins turned out really well. I’m not sure if they would be Great British Bake Off standard but I was pleased with them. If my family eat the lot, then that to me speaks volumes!

Two halves of a muffin to make one of my all time favourite meals- Eggs Benedict!
Two halves of a muffin to make one of my all time favourite meals- Eggs Benedict!

This is a Technical Bake I would definitely try again for a winter Sunday teatime if I have enough time to make them.

If you bake English Muffins, it would be great to know how you get on with them.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Apple and Oat Muffins- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

Last Wednesday I woke up feeling in a baking mood.  I think the excitement of the Great British Bake Off starting back on TV and everyone talking baking on Twitter made me want to get my apron on.  I didn’t need to bake anything, I just felt like it.  It was a day when we were staying at home (apart from getting my son’s hair cut ) it was all about catching up on jobs for me.  My daughter was stuck up in her room doing Art coursework and my son had his friend round.  So apart from the usual, I needed something exciting to do!  So what did I do- well baking, of course! What else?

I’d had my eye on the Apple and Oat Muffins in the Great British Bake Off Everyday book.  I love making muffins.  Did you know my nickname was Muffin when I was little? My Dad called me that because I couldn’t say Samantha properly when I was little, it came out as Muffind!  Mind you, I was dead clumsy as a child and still am very accident prone, I wondered if it was because I was like Muffin The Mule!

These gorgeous muffins were easy to make and ideal if you want to make something in a hurry. They took just under an hour from start to finish and tasted delicious with a large mug of steaming hot coffee. They’d be lovely for breakfast or a snack and I’m sorry to say but they do taste much nicer than the ones you get in chain coffee shops!

So, here’s how I made them :

First of all i made the crumbly topping for the muffins.  This is made in the same way as a crumble.  Flour, porridge oats, demerara sugar and butter were rubbed in together to form the topping.
First of all i made the crumbly topping for the muffins. This is made in the same way as a crumble. Flour, porridge oats, demerara sugar and butter were rubbed in together to form the topping.
Some unsalted butter was put into a bowl and melted gently in my microwave for about 30 seconds.
Some unsalted butter was put into a bowl and melted gently in my microwave for about 30 seconds.
In another bowl I combined flour, porridge oats, caster sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. These were mixed together with a wooden spoon to combine them.
In another bowl I combined flour, porridge oats, caster sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. These were mixed together with a wooden spoon to combine them.
In another container I measured out some milk and added two beaten free range eggs.
In another container I measured out some milk and added two beaten free range eggs.
023
I used two large Braeburn apples in these muffins. It didn’t say whether to peel them or not but I did. I kept the chunks quite large as I didn’t want them to reduce to nothing and go all mushy while baking!
022
The batter all ready to be spooned into paper muffin cases.
024
The batter was carefully divided between 12 muffin cases. I used plain brown ones which are fab. They are from my local Morrisons and they are ideal, they do not discolour or peel away from the muffins. Also they are a very reasonable price.
025
The crunchy crumble topping is then carefully sprinkled on the top of the unbaked muffins.
026
And half an hour later or so they were ready to come out of the oven.
028
Displayed on my new cake stand bought in the Lakeland sale for only £7.49 the other day.
029
I know I shouldn’t but the smell was too inviting! I just HAD to have a muffin with my elevenses!

When I told my kids I had made muffins and they asked what flavour they were, they said “Urgh, gross!” and “What did you have to put apple in them for?”  Funny how they all disappeared very quickly.  Either that or we have a cake ghost in our house!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx