Week two of The Bake Off and it’s time for bread! Breadsticks, English muffins and a decorative shaped loaf.
In past years, contestants that excelled in the first week (Cake) have come unstuck when faced with bread and this year was no different. *SPOILER WARNING* I knew Lucy was a goner the moment she said about her breadsticks “Simple in terms of flavour but I’m hoping they’ll be technically quite good”. The rest of her bakes didn’t redeem her, she was bottom of the technical challenge and her showstopper loaf was also far too simple. Sadly this was a time when less was very much not more. I had been really excited about what her gardening background would bring to her baking over the weeks, so was genuinely pretty sad but I couldn’t argue with the judges, she was the right person to go on the day.
One person who in the first week didn’t do very well, this week became Starbaker – Ruby. All her bakes were incredibly impressive, she really upped her game but arguably Kimberley should’ve been awarded the accolade too – if not for anything but her super impressive kneading skills! Beca should’ve got a special prize for banter
English Muffins were the technical challenge and I’d been very organised and had already baked mine this week, so it was really interesting seeing the bakers tackle the same recipe I already had. I usually struggle to knead enriched doughs by hand, as they are quite sticky and wet but this one wasn’t at all. But on the show they were all commenting on how wet the dough was. I followed the recipe, so I’m not sure why mine was different! I usually use oil when kneading, but the recipe said to lightly dust the surface with flour, so I did and wonder if this is what made the dough less wet.
I would not have made Starbaker this week, my dough only made 7 muffins and it was a struggle to get that many, perhaps because of the aforementioned flour dusted surface during the kneading. They were also funny shapes, as my cutter wasn’t cutting the dough very easily and they were getting stuck to the surface. Luckily I wasn’t being judged by Paul Hollywood – they were perfectly acceptable for me, I think pretty much perfectly cooked, looked the part and tasted nice. They were pretty easy so I will be making them again.
Paul Hollywood’s English Muffins
from The Great British Bake Off – Everyday
possibly makes 8, maybe 7 or maybe less or perhaps more. Who knows!
300g / 10.6oz strong white bread flour
6g / 1½ tsp quick dried yeast
6g / 1½ tsp salt
15g / 1tbsp golden caster sugar
15g / 1 tbsp butter, softened & cubed
1 medium egg, lightly beaten with…
170ml / 6 floz milk
some semolina or fine polenta for dusting
Put the flour in a large bowl – add the yeast, salt, sugar and the butter – sprinkle the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
Lightly beat the egg and milk together and add to the bowl.
Mix together with your hands, until you have a soft dough – add more milk if needed.
On a lightly floured surface (or oiled) knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth and
Place the dough in an oiled bowl – cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise – you want it doubled in size, this should take about an hour.
Once risen, place the dough on a lightly flour surface. Gently roll it out until it’s about 1.5cm thick and then leave (uncovered) for about 15 minutes to rest!
Sprinkle some polenta/semolina on a baking sheet or two. Use a 9cm straight edged cutter to cut the dough, cut out as many as you can and gather up the remaining dough, knead it gently and repeat. I found I needed to let the dough rest for a bit again or it would just springback when I was trying to roll it out.
Sprinkle more polenta/semolina over the top and leave uncovered to rise. About 30 minutes this time, they will expand rather than double in size.
Heat a flat griddle, frying pan, whatever you’ve got – on a medium to low heat.
In batches cook the muffins on the pre-heated pan – roughly about 5-7 minutes each side. The recipe says to look for the change of colour up the sides of the muffins, like you would when frying salmon but I didn’t see any colour changes – perhaps bad light in my kitchen or bad eyes!
And there you have it, English Muffins to serve however you fancy. These are some of the ways I served mine…
Eggs Benedict -
With Moose Maple Butter -
Bacon, Mayo & Chilli Jam -
Lemon Curd -
Were you inspired to bake after this weeks episode? Take a look what the other bloggers at Bakers Anonymous got up to after this weeks show – it’s not just muffins!