Sunday 11 February 2018

The Bread Bible: a tale of two sweet breads and a number of woes

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I took this photo as I drove past these banana muffins at high speed. 

Instead it was taken in haste with my ancient phone camera because my iPad battery had died (as in completely dead, not run down). They also might have looked better if I hadn't had to microwave them. Yes, you heard, I said microwave. I realised my oven had died as I waited in vain for the muffins to cook. And that was my back-up convection microwave oven. My actual oven has not worked for some time. 

I think I can safely recommend these, although mine were a little spongy from the microwaving, they were very tasty and easy to make. My only comment on the recipe would be that it makes 5 (admittedly large) muffins which doesn't seem worth getting the bowls out, for so I'd recommend doubling it.

Not one to be deterred from sweet goods by the mere lack of an oven, and having bought all the ingredients and promised my colleagues a Nutella Cake for World Nutella Day, I toddled off to retrieve my toaster oven out of storage. And since I had the oven and all the ingredients for Angel Light Biscuits, I thought I'd knock them off my Bread Bible Bakers 'to-do' list as well.

All the way through making these Angel Light Biscuits I was thinking (grumpily) that the efforts the baker has to go to in this recipe for what are essentially scones (or biscuits in US parlance) is a bit over the top. Then I ate one, and then another one, and pretty soon I was thinking about when I could make some more. They do defy categorisation, to my mind, but their soft texture and yeasty flavour made me think of traditional Northern English or Irish yeast breads. Or even brioche, at a stretch.

One of the interesting things about this recipe is that it includes yeast as well as quite a lot of baking powder. I thought they'd burst out of the oven with all that rising agent but they were fine.

Plus there's the very curious addition of hard boiled egg yolks strained into little worms and mixed into the flour. I've only ever done that kind of thing for a savoury salsa or dressing. You don't notice the egg yolks at all in the finished product, so there's no danger of coming across lumps of egg yolk in your scone.

The dough starts off very wet before it is left to rise, refrigerated, then shaped and risen again. I was particularly annoyed by this lengthy part of the recipe, but I think the key is not to make them when you're feeling hungry. I may have cut a few corners during this process and suspect I could have got more height in my scones if I'd been more patient.

I used all buttermilk in my scones, rather than the cream option, and I guess that contributed to the very soft texture and lovely flavour. Because the butter is rubbed into the flour like traditional scones, they also had the light, layered texture of scones. I recommend the optional sprinkling of sugar on the tops, to make a sweet crust.

Keep on eye on the other Bread Bible Bakers' progress over here.



  1. Brilliant post! I've missed your writing. You always cheer me up with a giggle. Biscuits and muffins look really good. I've yet to make the biscuits. My granddaughters are coming over for the weekend in a month and it will be a baking marathon.

    1. Thanks Vicki, it's good to be back. Lucky you have grandchildren who love baking with you!

  2. yes--i love the way you wrote this up plus the great photos. your biscuits look divine and i don't use that word very often--not at all!

    1. Thanks Rose, every time I look at the photo my mouth waters and I find myself wondering if I have the ingredients on hand.