If you own an Aga, then lucky you – muffins were made for cooking straight on the top. If not, you will need a couple of heavy-based frying pans (each large enough to hold 4 or 5 muffi ns). This dough is soft, so you might prefer to use a food mixer to knead it.
A muffin – split, toasted and buttered – is my very favourite bread to have with eggs for breakfast.
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 1 drizzle of sunflower oil,
- Plus extra for dusting and extra for coating
- 5 g powdered dried yeast
- 1 handful of semolina flour
- 10 g fine salt for coating
- 325 ml warm water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Total rising time: approximately 1-2 hours
To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round, coat with a little extra oil and place in a clean bowl. Leave to rise, covered with a plastic bag, until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out on to the work surface and press all over to defl ate. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a round and flatten to about 1–2cm. Dust them all over with semolina flour; this gives a lovely texture to the crust. Leave to prove on a linen cloth or wooden board, covered with a plastic bag, until doubled in size.
Heat a couple of large heavy-based frying pans over a medium heat. Lay the muffins in the pans and cook for a minute or so, then turn them over gently. Cook slowly for a further 10 minutes, turning every now and then. You may need to adjust the heat if they seem to be colouring too fast, or not fast enough. Alternatively, if you are using an Aga, cook the muffins directly on the warm plate for up to 15 minutes, giving them a quick blast on the hot side at the end, if you think they need it. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Recipe from Bread - River Cottage Handbook No. 3 by Daniel Stevens (Bloomsbury)