Hands up all ye who could not keep up with the galloping pace of December this last year! And now those who amidst all the Christmas stress threw a little birthday get-together shortly before Christmas Eve and cooked all weekend to make the cutest cake (ever) and a spread of Ottolenghi’s scrumptious vegetable dishes (aubergines!). A fair few courses were getting axed as the prep day progressed, where are these Heinzelmännchen (German elfs) when you need them to chop and mix and whisk up all those extra-super-delicious sauces for each recipe?!

Well, anyway, by now we all will be in desperate need for a curative hangover breakfast scoring some more health points than the usual remedial fry-up or a fantastic brunch dish that’s easily (and best) prepared in advance. Allow me to introduce you to one of the most restorative & delightful breakfast / brunch dishes ever Continue reading

English muffins

English muffins

Silly me, I thought these were super difficult & tricky to make, a great hassle. Boy, have I been wrong. There is a bit of sports involved (kneading the dough by hand, very satisfying though) plus the wait while the dough proofs & rises, but that is all, I mean, you do not have to watch it. Then beauties need to be baked on a griddle (exciting) for only 10 minutes in total and you have English muffins! Muffins that are a universe away from the cardboard things you get in a bag. I am speculating that they freeze well, too; we’ll run tests if there are enough specimens.

English muffins

If you want to eat these directly, separate the two halves by slowly opening them with your hands: an Englishman never cuts his muffins with a knife, I am told. Why? To insure maximum surface-roughness, which will turn into crispy peaks and ridges when toasted and therefore reach maximum crispness. The same rule applies to the mashed potato application onto Shepherds Pie. Or leave the muffins to cool and toast at a later moment for the aforementioned crispy surface. Eat with salted butter & jam or use to make the great celebratory breakfast and brunch dishes: Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine. Hmmmh.

Let’s see. Maybe. Why not? Definitely. We got the stuff. It might go off otherwise.



English muffins

adapted from Paul Hollywood’s recipe from The Great British Bake Off

300g or 10.5oz strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon (6g) salt
1 teaspoon (6g) fast-action yeast (I used quick yeast)
1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
1 tablespoon (15g) very soft unsalted butter
170ml or 6 fl oz warmed (not hot) milk, use a little more if you need more fluid
1 egg (should be medium, mine was large and I had to add a little more flour)
flour for kneading
semolina, corn meal or polenta for dusting

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl, place the salt onto one side and the yeast, sugar, butter and milk onto the other (this way the salt does not hinder the yeast). Mix together with a wooden spoon, then add the egg and form a soft, pliable dough. Add a little more flour if the dough is too liquid (if you have used a larger egg) or a little more milk if too firm. Do not be tempted to add more flour because the dough seems very sticky. Turn it onto a floured work and start kneading it wile pushing the dough with the heel of your hand away from you and stretching it this way. After about 10 minutes the dough will have become soft & smooth. Place it into the lightly greased bowl, cover with a plastic bag or cling film and leave until the dough has doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Gingerly place the dough back onto the counter top, dusted with a mixture of flour and semolina, and lightly roll it to a thickness of 1.5 cm. Cut 8 muffins using a 9cm (3½ inches) round cutter, carefully push & fold the rests together to get your bonus pieces. Place them onto a tray covered in semolina and dust the tops as well. Cover again and let the muffins rise & rest for 30 minutes. Heat a flat griddle only over low heat and bake your muffins for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Note: Hollywood rolls the dough to a thickness of 2.5 cm, those are a little too thick for my liking – and too chubby for our toaster. Roll it thinner and you will get two additional muffins, yippee!



Englische Muffins

Adaptiert von Paul Hollywoods Rezept aus The Great British Bake Off

300g Weizenmehl Type 550
1 TL (6g) Salz
1 TL (6g) Instant-Hefe
1 EL (15g) Zucker
1 EL (15g) sehr weiche ungesalzene Butter
170ml warme (nicht zu heiße) Milch
1 Ei (M, meins war L und ich brauchte nur ein wenig mehr Mehl)
Mehl zum Kneten
Sonnenblumenöl zum Fetten der Schüssel
Semolina (Hartweizengrieß), Maismehl oder Polenta zum Bestäuben


Das Mehl in eine große Schüssel geben, das Salz an den einen Rand streuen, Hefe, Zucker, Butter und die Milch auf die andere Seite. Mit einem Holzlöffel verrühren, das Ei hinzugeben und alles zu einem weichen Teig verarbeiten. Den Teig auf eine bemehlte Arbeitsfläche geben und mindestens 10 Minuten zu einem glatten, weichen und elastischen Teig kneten. Der Teig ist zuerst sehr klebrig, man sollte aber nicht zuviel Mehl hinzugeben, denn der Teig wird erst mit dem Kneten und wiederholtem Auseinanderziehen glatt. Am besten benutzt man einen Teigschaber um ihn immer wieder von der Arbeitsfläche zu lösen und dehnt & schiebt ihn immer wieder mit leichtem Druck des Handballens von sich weg. Anschließend zu einer Kugel formen und in der geölten Schüssel abgedeckt (die Schüssel in eine Tüte stellen oder mit Frischhaltefolie bedecken) mindestens 1 Stunde oder länger gehen lassen bis sich der Teig verdoppelt hat. Anschließend nicht mehr bearbeiten, sondern ohne viel Druck auf der mit einer Mischung aus Mehl und Semolina bestreuten Arbeitsfläche 1,5cm dick ausrollen und mit einem glatten runden Ausstecher (9cm) insgesamt 8 Muffins produzieren, die Teigreste nur leicht zusammendrücken um 2 weitere zu formen. Diese dann auf ein mit mehr Semolina bestreutes Backblech geben, die Oberseite der Brötchen ebenfalls mit ein wenig Hartweizengrieß berieseln, wieder abdecken und weitere 30 Minuten aufgehen lassen.

Eine glatte gusseiserne Grillplatte (griddle plate) oder eine schwere Pfanne nur leicht erhitzen und die Muffins auf jeder Seite ca. 5-6 Minuten backen, sie sollten eine leicht gebräunte glatte Oberfläche haben. Dann entweder noch warm vorsichtig in zwei Hälften öffnen (mit den Händen, der Brite schneidet Muffins nicht) und mit gesalzener Butter und Konfitüre essen oder eben zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt in den Toaster damit. So eignen sie sich auch prima für amerikanisches Festtagsfrühstück: eggs benedict oder eggs florentine.

Notiz: Hollywoods Muffins sind um einiges höher, er rollt den Teig 2,5cm dick aus und durch das Aufgehen werden sie noch größer. Auch geteilt passten diese nicht mehr in unseren Toaster, daher die dünnere Variante. Ein weiterer Vorteil: die Teigmenge ergibt 2 Muffins mehr.

Chipotle cheddar scones

Well, not really a scone, maybe a roll? In the american recipe they are called biscuits and that has a total different meaning (= cookies or biscuit dough) on this side of the globe. Anyway, I made these for my husband’s birthday breakfast and they went down a treat. He loves chile chipotles and especially cheese crust on top of the german Käsebrötchen (baked cheese buns) and so, flipping through the first cookbook from Baked (Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito: Baked. New frontiers in baking. New York 2008.), these had to be it. Now thinking about it: this years birthday cake was the Salted caramel cake form the same book, although with a different frosting. Now that I have heard about their chili brownies as well I sense a deep understanding of the chipotle lover’s psyche here. I think these will be very good with jalapenos, too. A project then.
I understand the difference between a scone and a biscuit is the amount of liquid added, the less is used in proportion to flour and butter, the more the dough becomes a scone dough.
Chipotle cheddar scones
adapted from Baked
2 1/3 cups flour (type 405, all-purpose)
a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper (1 teaspoon or more)
1 dried chipotle chili, ground in a coffee grinder
more chili powder to taste (I added a little more of our chile mixture – chile pasilla, guajillo, mulato & chipotle – which we use for chili con carne)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (Weinstein in Germany)
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter (114g), cut into small pieces
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used a mix of sharp somerset cheddar and the orange cheddar for colour)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg
more coarsely grated cheddar to sprinkle on the buns
I use a food processor but the dough could easily made by hand. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 190° C convection oven or 200° C normal (400° F).
Fill the flour, pepper, chili powders, sugar, baking powders, salt, the butter into the food processor and pulse briefly several times until a dough starts to form. Try not to overwork the dough. Add the cheese and pulse again to roughly mix. Stir the buttermilk into the eggs and pour into the bowl with the dry dough mix, process only a few times. Use a spoon or an ice-cream scoop to shape uniform buns, pat down a little and sprinkle some of the scones with extra cheese which will melt on top and give them an extra cheesy crust.
Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the sheet around after half the baking time, until a tester comes out clean. Mine took a little longer, maybe 10 minutes. Make sure the cheese does not get too brown. Let them cool down or eat when they are still warm with butter.
I found that they were quite easy to freeze as well and brought slowly back to room temperature or reheated in a warm oven.