Baking huffers

Outside they’re getting ready for harvest and I’m trying to work out what to feed them when they start combining and then cultivating. Leaving home at 7am with no breakfast because “we stop at 9 for food” and returning home any time after 10pm, too tired to eat, can mean packed breakfast, lunch and supper. The lunch bag sits on the tractor getting jolted about all day so there’s no point making delicate dishes as they simply end up a churned mush and anything that can be eaten one-handed is a bonus for mouthfuls snatched on the go. Food has to be robust, not crumbly, slippery or elaborately constructed. Rolls seem to hold together better than sandwiches and can pack in more fillings, which encourages Jack to make something slightly healthier than marmite sandwiches for the whole day . One of our local pubs serves wonderful huffers – a triangular bread bap peculiar to Essex – and it occurred to me that these would be ideal for packed lunches. I trawled my recipe books and searched online, but couldn’t find a recipe so have devised my own version. These are smaller than the pub huffer (because they’re enormous and need two hands or a knife and fork) and I’ve used milk and butter to soften them slightly.

HUFFER RECIPE

750g strong white flour

60g butter

1 ½ teasp salt

1 teasp Doves quick yeast

200 ml milk

250 ml tepid water

Rub the butter into the flour, add the salt and yeast and then stir in the milk and water. Use a spoon or your hands to bring it all together and then turn the mixture onto the work surface; you don’t need to flour it first – just use a scraper if it sticks.

Knead this for about ten minutes until the lumpy mess becomes a smooth, elastic dough and then shape into a ball and place in a large bowl.

Cover with a tea towel, cling film or a disposable shower cap and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 – 1 ½ hours.

Now take out your ball of dough, which should have risen and doubled in size, flatten it with the heel of your hand and then fold over a few times to expel the air. Divide it in half, forming each piece into a tight ball and then using your hands or a rolling pin flatten each ball into a circle about 24cms diameter.

Cut each round into four quarters and put onto lightly greased baking sheets , separating the quarters slightly to make a large round that you break into four huffers after baking or move further apart to make four individual huffers. Cover and leave to prove for thirty minutes.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 220C or the AGA roasting oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

Cool your huffers on a wire tray and then slice in half horizontally and fill. My favourite fillings in the pub are BLT (bacon lettuce tomato) or BTC (bacon tomato melted cheese). Enjoy.

updated recipe here

3 thoughts on “Baking huffers

  1. Jo Norman says:

    They look just like the ‘real’ thing bet Jack is very pleased with his huffer. Don’t think I’ll show Oscar this post as he’ll want me to try and make some!

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