what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the tag “fresh yeast”

Great British Bake Off English Muffins

Very pleased to see that the bread episode was early in this series. English Muffins are a useful ‘frying pan’ bread that is baked on the stove top, so no need to heat the oven. Having just seen last year’s electricity bill I think I’ll be economising a bit more on how much goes in each oven load and looking at other ways of baking. Now, how can I persuade himself to build a wood-fired oven in the garden? There is a method in the back of the River Cottage bread book if you’re looking for one. Moving on, we don’t need that for this.

The recipe is available to download from the BBC here.

The only variation I have made – changing the dried yeast to fresh – I doubled the quantity to 12g. There was talk on the programme about scalding the milk, but as this recipe doesn’t tell you to do it, I didn’t and used cold semi-skimmed milk out of the fridge.


The mix was indeed soft,


so I gave it a 10 minute Dan Lepard rest and then returned and kneaded it for about 5 minutes before putting it in an oiled bowl to rest.


The recipe said for at least one hour to double in size. Which gave me a chance to go and  measure all my cutters to see which is 9cm in diameter, and then find that I have 8.5cm or 10cm. So going with 8.5 cm.

One hour later … dough seems to have doubled so I patted it out and tried to work out how we were going to get 8 muffins out of it. Then it is left for another 15 minutes.


I cut the muffins, can you see where I had to bodge one? and the misshape bits?


Then they rested for half an hour before I could start experimenting with the temperature setting. The recipe says low, so I started on 4, after 6 mins the first four were quite pale, so I turned it up to 5 and did the other side, and then flipped the others back again.

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By the time the second batch were ready to go in they’d had quite a bit more rising time. By now I was on level 6, and this was a bit hot as after 3 mins the bottoms were quite brown, so I flipped them and then did the other side and turned it down.

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And by the time the final lot were ready to go in, the last one was rather large!

So, quite pleased, a bit of a faff and because of the different amount of rising time, they won’t end up the same size when cooked unless you have more than one pan on the go or a very big pan or a hot plate! We’re eating these with bacon for lunch.

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Paul Hollywood’s Baguettes

I wondered how long it would be before he got out a machine to do the hard work. Really, a machine that can cost hundreds of pounds needed to make a mix of 250g of flour? I think not. If you don’t have a food mixer then don’t despair, all you need is a bit more time in the preparatory period. Let’s do it the Dan Lepard way instead, but we’ll use Paul’s ingredients. Of course you could just knead it by hand the Paul Hollywood way, but this is a bit easier.

So, put all the ingredients in a bowl. flour, oil, salt, yeast and water. I’m using fresh yeast today and warm water not cold, because my kitchen is positively Baltic and I want to give it a chance to get going. Warm water means 1 part boiling water to 3 parts cold tap water, it should not be warm to the touch. I also cut the salt by half. Let’s also not get into arguments as to whether proper baguettes need a lot of olive oil slopping in, we’re just going with it today. If you want a loaf without a lot of oil, try the Hairy Biker’s version from the Bakeation book, but you need another day or two to get that one going.


Mix it all up, with a fork or fingers, it doesn’t matter, into a rough ball. Leave it for 10 minutes.


Oil the work surface, tip it out, pat it down then do a Dan Lepard knead, just fold it over on itself 10 or 12 times. Leave for another 10 minutes.

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Knead again, leave again, knead again, then we’re back into Paul’s recipe so pop it in a bowl for about 2 hours, I left mine for about an hour and a half.
And it was all nice and stretchy.

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I don’t have a fancy baguette tray either so today they’re going on a heavily floured tea towel for the rise.

The online recipe doesn’t have the semolina mix that the TV programme did, so I’m leaving that off as well.

I put a baking tray in the oven to get nice and hot before I put the bread in, and I did steam the oven. And I reduced the total baking time by 10 minutes by doing that.

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Slightly disappointed that they didn’t spring much in the oven, but they were quite crunchy and went down well with some cheese and salad.

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