English Muffins

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If anyone has seen the Great British Bakeoff, they will know that Paul Hollywood is a bit of a baking legend. I thought I’d try one of his recipes, the English muffin. I’ve only ever had these with Eggs Benedict before, and not thought much of their bland chewiness. What a difference baking them yourself makes! I gobbled up quite a few with just butter.

These don’t take too long at all, but if you want them for breakfast, get up early and make the dough, as they need an hour and a half total proving time. The dough is simply strong white flour, yeast, sugar, milk, butter and an egg. After the first proving time, roll out and let it rest to get rid of any shrinking:

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Cut out into discs prove again:

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Cook on a low-heated griddle for five minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned:

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Serve with jam and butter, or good old poached eggs!

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Kouign Amann

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This French cake/bread/something in between and indescribably (this spelling looks wrong!) delicious confection hails from Brittany, France and the name literally means “cake butter.” You may think you’re about to make puff pastry when you see the ingredients, but with the addition of yeast and lots of sugar folded between the layers, this is another beast altogether:  a cake that’s crunchy with buttery caramel on the outside and soft and doughnut-like on the inside. I’d never even heard of it until a few weeks ago, although it turns out it’s there is a recipe here. To quote David Lebovitz, whose recipe we used, “Is there anything more fabulous than something created through the wonder and miracle of caramelization?”

A friend who recently made their own European-style butter, kindly showed me how to make the Kouign Amann:

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Make the first dough and knead it. Leave to rise in a buttered bowl.

Once rested, roll out the dough:

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Then add butter and sugar to the middle third of the rectangle. Fold over the left and right thirds, and now sprinkle the surface facing you with more sugar and fold into thirds again. Chill for an hour or more in the fridge.

Roll out with more sugar and fold into thirds as before and refrigerate:

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Remove from the fridge and assemble in a baking pan, topping with yet more! sugar and melted butter:

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Bake for around 45 minutes until golden brown:

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Tips:

– Make sure you eat this the day they it’s made, and not too long after it has left the oven.

-It may be risky – considering the hot caramel – but I would advise removing the cake as soon as possible from the baking pan; as once the caramel starts to harden, it gets more difficult.