Monday, April 22, 2013

Herbed Huffkins

Kentish Huffkins originate in Kent county, UK, as you might imagine, and are lovely little bread rolls, sometimes seen with little depressions in the middle. They remind me somewhat of biscuit-like dinner rolls and you can slice them in half and use them for sandwiches or hamburgers because of the shape. I first read about them in Jane Grigson's British Cookery book, and I've been a big fan of them since.

Today I've decided to change the traditional recipe a bit and add in some herbs and cheese. 

Now the traditional recipe goes something like this:
1 1/2 lbs. flour
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 oz butter
2 oz lard
1 pint warm water

Mix the dry ingredients (including the yeast), then distribute the fat into it with a large fork or pastry cutter until it is all well mixed in and looks fine and crumbly. Add the pint of warm water and mix until you have a soft sticky dough, but there's no need to knead. Let dough rise for thirty minutes, then roll the dough out on a floured board to about 1 1/2 inches thick, and use a large biscuit cutter to make the rolls. Actually, you don't even have to use the rolling pin, this dough is so soft, you can just kind of flour it and spread it out flat with your hands! IF you use a 4 inch biscuit cutter, you'll get about 10 huffkins.

Let the rolls rise another thirty minutes, then poke a dent in the center of each one and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees. 

Now to make the herbed version, change out the lard for more butter (so four ounces, or one stick, of butter,) plus add 1 teaspoon each of the following dried herbs and spices to the dry ingredients: thyme, dill, summer savory, extra salt and black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom. If you don't care for dill or don't have it, substitute dried mint or parsley.

After you poke the depressions in your rolls, and right before you pop them in the oven, place a cube of good quality sharp cheddar into each depression. 
Before Baking

A last note about rising times: I am in an old house in California with no air conditioning (yet) so it's quite warm and things are rising very quickly. If your house is cold, you may want to put your  oven on it's lowest setting and let them rise in the oven with the door cracked, or just let them rise a bit longer than the thirty minutes.

They are good for breakfast with butter and scrambled eggs. Also, the dill makes it good with salmon, I had one with some lox, mashed avocado with garlic salt, sliced onion, olive oil and lemon juice and it was really good.