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Kentish Huffkins

These are oval, flat loaves, with a deep indentation in the centre and a soft crust. The recipe is traditional to Kent, and is softer, with a more open texture than ordinary bread. Eat them sliced and buttered at tea time.

ingredients

makes 12
15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast or 7.5 ml (1 1/2 tsp) dried and a pinch of sugar
about 225 ml (8 fl oz) warm fresh milk and water mixed
450 g (1 lb) plain flour
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
50 g (2 oz) butter, diced

method

1. Blend the fresh yeast with the milk and water. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the milk and water with the sugar and leave for 15 minutes, until frothy.

2. Put the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeast liquid. Beat well together to form a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

3. Turn on to a floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

4. Divide the dough in 12, then roll into oval cakes about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Place on 2 greased baking sheets, cover and leave for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Before baking make a deep thumb mark in the centre. Bake at 220°C (425°F) mark 7 for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown. Wrap in a warm tea-towel and leave to cool. (This will keep the crust soft.)

Another Kentish Huffkin recipe
Makes 10 - 12

25 g (1 oz) fresh yeast (or half quantity of dried)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
225 ml (8 fl oz) warm water
100 g (4 oz) lard or shortening
2 tsp salt
225 ml (8 fl oz) scalded milk
500 g (1 lb) plain flour
beaten egg

1. Cream the yeast with a little of the sugar and a little of the water, and leave it to become frothy. Cream the fat, the salt, and the rest of the sugar in a bowl and add the hot milk and water. Stir it in until the fat has melted and the mixture has become lukewarm.

2. Add the yeast mixture. Gradually incorporate the flour with your hands until you have a soft dough. Knead it a little, then leave it to rise in a covered bowl in a warm place for about an hour.

3. When the dough has doubled in size, knock it down again, then roll or pat it out on a floured board to about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick.

4. Cut out rounds about 6.5 cm ( 3 1/2 inches) across and pull them into oval shapes (or, if you have one, use an oval cutter 11.5 cm (4 1/2 inches long). Make a dent in the centre with your thumb.

5. Put them on a greased baking-sheet and leave them to prove while the oven heats up to 220°C (425°F) gas 7. Glaze them with the beaten egg.

6. Bake the huffkins for 15 - 20 minutes until they are golden. Wrap them in a cloth when you take them out of the oven to keep the crusts soft. Eat them with butter and jam.

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