In a neighbouring suburb there is a bakery that shall remain nameless which inspired these muffins. The stuff they create is amazing. Now, I may come across as being slightly jealous of their baking skills during this instructable, deep down inside I probably am. This is irrational jealousy though, they have years of baking experience behind them whist I am a humble computer technician. Can a layman like me meet their skill level?
One of their hero products is a savoury muffin, and they are killer. Most days they sell out by noon. Come a weekend I am generally waking up around 11am so there is always apprehension on the journey to said bakery, will they or wont they? So far my strike rate has been 50/50. On the walk back to the car my shoulders slump while I contemplate what is next in line for bunch.
My motivation for attempting these is pride. My pride is stimulated by money. Said bakery sell their muffins for AU$6.50. While they are big and luscious, AU$6.50 is taking the mick a little. I could beat the traffic and make these myself.
Let us begin.
Step 1: Preface
A savoury muffin has one essential requirement, it must not be sweet. Maybe that was obvious.
I am not a cook, I am a hack so to speak. But my method when cooking is this, I always visualise what it is I am attempting to create. I try to break it down into all the elements that are required and how the flavours relate to one another. I also do this when I eat, using taste, touch and smell I subconsciously break a dish down. I did this with the muffins and had in my mind the essential ingredients to replicate them.
These are not an exact replica of XXXX bakery's muffins. I have added certain elements to meet my taste. I encourage you to close your eyes and imagine all the flavours, and add or subtract what you feel is necessary. Treat recipes as a guide, they are not an exact science. Look at the balance of components, look at oven temperature, other than that wing it, experiment. You can improvise while following most recipes.
After reading many recipes for savoury muffins and drawing from my experience with XXXX bakery's muffins I have decided that, for me, the requisite ingredients for 6 Killer Savoury Muffins are;
2 cups of plain flour
6 short rashers of bacon
2 beaten eggs
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup split green olives
100 grams of full cream feta
2 tablespoons Italian herbs
1/2 diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 six pack of beer - to be consumed during preparation and consumption of muffins
Step 2: Step 1
Essential to a pleasurable cooking session is a pleasurable environment. During this session I chose [DI] Radio as back ground music, their House channel is amazing. Nothing better that monotonous beats to make you focused and productive.
Also, to lubricate the experience choose a suitable beverage. Today I chose Tecate, an excellent Mexican beer. I first had this beer whist on a flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City when I was on a 3 month adventure from LA down to south america. Even today it takes me back to that experience.
Choose a clean chopping board. The one I used was clean, but has been affected by a dish washing experience after my house mate made pureed Bolognese sauce. Awkward.
Step 3: Step 2
Choice of knife is somewhat important. It must be suitably sharp for the task at hand. We will be cutting bacon, feta and olives so this poor excuse for a knife will do.
At this stage open your beer and take your initial sip.
Step 4: Step 3
Probably best to fire up the oven at this stage so it's ready to go when you have the muffins set like a jelly in the tray later. Fan forced 200 degrees Celsius is what I cooked mine in. If you don't have a fan forced oven or Fahrenheit is your local measure then I really have no idea - google is your friend in these cases.
Chop the bacon into chunky little squares so it retains some texture when in the muffin. I also trimmed the fat from the bacon as it is unnecessary and I am overweight already.
Step 5: Step 4
A great tip I heard once is to put an onion in the freezer a short while before chopping as it will stabilise the acid which sprays in a microscopic mist when you cut it causing you to cry.
I put mine in for an hour and they were like concrete when I tried to cut them. So maybe 20 minutes in the freezer is sufficient. Due to my impatience I ended up using an unfrozen one and cried more then when I watched Leo drown in Titanic.
At this stage you should be on beer number two.
Step 6: Step 5
Fry the onion and bacon until it is crispy and delicious looking. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to make it sizzle more.
Step 7: Step 6
Sift your two cups of plain flour into a bowl of suitable size. I sifted mine into this one but later realised I had to add a shit load more ingredients. I migrated to a larger bowl.
If you don't have a sifter do not despair, I'm sure clumps of flour wont affect the end product. I only had the benefit of a sifter as my house mate had one in the draw. It turns out I broke it and had to tap the side to get the flour to sift through. You could probably use a colander and get similar results.
Skull beer to finish it off as flour mist will otherwise make it into the can causing your beer to coagulate.
Step 8: Step 7
Combine all the dry ingredients together. Add Italian herbs to taste, alternatively you could add just oregano or similar herbs. Mixed herbs maybe. Your choice.
Step 9: Step 8
Gently beat two eggs. Free range, caged, whatever - they are all the same. I can't taste the pain the chicken suffered, so I usually go for the cheapest.
Step 10: Step 9
Add water to the eggs to make two cups. Two eggs is generally one cup, so you could also just add one to one 1/2 cups of water to the mix. Does that make sense?
I am on beer three in this picture.
Step 11: Step 10
Now the recipe says gruyere cheese but the supermarket I went to was a little inadequate. I am sure XXXX bakery uses gruyere, but as a substitute I found this great cheddar. It's by a mob named Collier's and it hales from Wales. My girlfriend's father is from Wales so I gravitated to this when looking at the selection in the supermarket. It's a strong cheddar and I would rather be able to taste it in the muffins than not.
I grated about a cup, but use your spidey sense to guess what is best for the muffin you are making.
Step 12: Step 11
Add the bacon, olives, fetta, cheese and egg/water mixture to the the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
As this is the first time I have made these I would look back and possibly add the fetta toward the end. As it is the softer of the non-dry ingredients it did get a little pulverised whilst mixing. Also, the mixture was a little stiff and to soften it I added about a cup of full cream milk.
Step 13: Step 12
As I said earlier I did ready a lot of other muffin recipes. The ones that had the best feedback added sour cream to the mix. I added a big dollop to my mix with the assumption that it would make the muffin texture a little more velvet like.. and probably more of a heart risk to the 35-65 demographic.
Open Tecate number 4.
Step 14: Step 13
One thing I always liked about XXXX bakery's muffins was their presentation. They labeled themselves as an "Artisan Bakery" and they showed that by how their product looked visually. The savoury muffins has a rustic look, almost like they had been made briskly by a small town baker. The baking tray hastily lined with parchment paper with the mix dropped in. The visual result certainly adding to the enjoyment of the muffin.
I wanted my muffins to have the same visual aspect as XXXX. Using baking paper I cut oversized squares out for the muffin tray. Pushing the paper into the tray I struggled to find consistency, but maybe that added to the "rustic" look.
Due to the stiffness of the mixture I slapped the tray on the bench before placing it in the oven to ensure the mix had settled in the moulds adequately.
Step 15: Step 14
Now, we all know that results from ovens differ greatly. I found that mine browned toward the back of the oven quicker than the front, so I turned the tray around after 10 minutes. At the same time I brushed some melted better over the top of the muffins to add a golden baked look to them.
I probably baked mine for 20 minuted totally. This will vary for all ovens. To test if they are ready stick a knife or skewer in to a muffin and if it come out clean it is done. I left mine in a little longer as I wanted them to be nice and golden on top.
Step 16: Step 15
Now, I am not a baker. I never plan on being a baker. But I know what I like like. And these taste amazing.
Heat them up and serve them with a crisp salad, some tomato chutney and you'll win anyone over.
Bakery XXXX you have met your match.
Step 17: Step 16