Sunday, February 6, 2011
our daily bread
My nephew El once ate his toast into shape of lion, roared at himself with it, then was too frightened to eat it. He is funny boy, but I am thinking is not bad idea to give toast a miss for a while as is getting scarily expensive to have bread from shops.
Have watched price of basic wholegrain sliced loaf increase from $1.99 to over $3.00 over last couple of years and set to rise higher after disastrous year in Queensland.
Bought some extra flour before price goes up, but as loaded cupboard with 5 kg bags felt like crazy US apocalypse fanatic from mountain compound. Type who hoard food, have eleven wives, most of them cousins, big beards (even the wives) and large cache of semi automatic weapons! Had to apply copious lip gloss and mascara to counteract effect of hoarding as felt self slipping into serious checked shirt territory.
When kids were little I made all our bread by hand as were too poor to buy nice bread and am bread snob - cant abide pappy bread even if very cheap. As never owned bread making thingy have done this always by hand. Bread repertoire now increased to include many treat type breads and scrolls, loaves and buns, but standout breakfast fave these days is toasted homemade English muffins.
Was camping a week or so back at annual Parachute music festival, no cooking facilities except camping burner and 4-5 teenagers to feed. Toasted English muffins were ideal brekkie for all of us. 2 batches made roughly 26+ muffins for less than $5 bucks.
Since developing recipe, price of milk also soared, so if wanting to make without using pricey fresh milk either substitute with milk from powder, or I used 1/4 cup condensed milk. Made up balance with water, didn't need to add sugar as condensed milk V. sweet.
Left me with 3/4 can condensed milk - perfect amount for chocolate caramellow brownie which also went down well with young-uns. Saving on basics means treats still possible too.
My family all like English muffins as a quick breakfast or snack, but boy they’re expensive to buy for such a simple thing! These homemade ones are lovely and easy enough for a novice baker.
4 ¼ cups plain flour
1 sachet instant yeast
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm milk or milk from powder or 1/4 condensed milk + 1 1/4 cups water-omit sugar
1 egg beaten
50 g butter
Dust 2 oven trays with flour
In a large bowl combine the instant yeast, sugar, flour and salt.
In a small pan, melt the butter then add the milk and heat gently. The liquid should be warm but not hot. If you are not sure, hold your little finger in it and count to 10. If it’s uncomfortably hot by the time you get to 10 allow it to cool a little, if it doesn’t feel warm at all, heat it up.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg and the butter and milk mixture. Use a large metal spoon to mix to a soft dough.
Knead lightly for 2 minutes then place into a large greased bowl and allow to rise. Either by z9i setting aside in a warm place until doubled or by using the microwave method.
Pre heat the oven to 190°
When the dough has doubled in size knead it lightly and roll on a floured bench to 1 cm thickness. Cut into circles using a large cutter (I use my favourite “tuna tin” cutter to make 10cm circles). Re roll the trimmings and you should end up with 15 muffins. Place on floured trays and rest for 10 minutes.
Bake them for 7 minutes then turn them over and bake a further 7 minutes, until lightly golden.
To serve split muffins in half and toast lightly, top with jam, honey, ham or whatever else you fancy.
Cook’s Tip: If you are planning on freezing the muffins, split them first, they’ll defrost quicker.
For spicy fruit muffins
Add to the dry ingredients
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp mixed spice
½ cup sultanas soaked in boiling water for a few minutes to plump them up
Or develop your own spicy fruit blend