Have you tried Kentish huffkins?
These soft white rolls are a traditional tea bread, originally made for the cherry pickers in Kent. They have a delightful dimple in the middle that used to be filled with cherries and topped with cream.
They are perfect for making your favourite sandwiches, served with dinner, dipping in soup or anything else you fancy.
These little morsels originate from Kent in the south east of England.
Kentish huffkins are said to be designed for the cherry pickers to eat. The idea is that the hole, or dimple, on the top would hold a cherry from a dollop of jam and then the whole thing would be topped with whipped cream. It sounds heavenly!
The bread itself isn't particularly sweet, so it can be served to accompany all sorts of meals from soups and meals or just as a sandwich roll.
They can also be toasted, as the name huffkin means tea cake, which in England is a type of slightly sweet bread bun that is toasted and buttered.
- Yeast - use instant dried yeast for the easiest results or dried yeast otherwise.
- Sugar - standard granulated sugar
- Milk - semi skimmed or full fat milk for extra richness.
- Flour - plain or all purpose flour. This flour has less gluten than bread flour, which means that the bread is softer and lighter.
- Salt - cooking salt.
- Butter - unsalted butter. Traditionally these were made with lard, so use that if you prefer. Vegetable shortening could also be used.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Bowl and wooden spoon
- Food mixer with dough hook attachment - optional
If you are using dried yeast then add it to the warm milk and water with a pinch of sugar.
Leave it for 15 minutes until it becomes frothy on the top.
To use instant yeast just mix the milk and water together at this stage.
Place the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast (if using), in a bowl and stir well.
Rub the butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the milk.
Use a wooden spoon to stir from the centre, gradually drawing down the milk as it falls from the sides.
Keep mixing until the dough starts to come together.
💭 Top tip
- The sides of the bowl will become clean when the dough is properly mixed.
Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth. This will take about 10 minutes
💭 Top tip
- If you have a Kitchenaid mixer then put the flour mix in the bowl and fit the dough hook attachment. Use speed 2 for about 2 minutes to mix and knead the dough until the sides of the bowl are clean. There is no need to knead the dough further.
Use a teaspoon of oil to grease the mixing bowl used for the dough and replace the dough.
Cover with a cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
Using floured hands, divide the dough into 12, or less if you prefer, and use your hands to form into ovals. It's easier to roll into a ball first and then flatten.
Place the dough on baking sheets with a few centimetres between them and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes to an hour until they have doubled in size again.
⏲️ Baking time
Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / 200 FAN / Gas 7.
Before putting them in the oven make a deep thumb print in the middle until you can feel the baking tray.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Wrap the Kentish huffkins in a clean tea towel and leave them to cool.
This stops them from developing a hard crust.
Delicious as a snack with butter!
🥗 Side dishes
Delicious with soups:
- London Particular Soup
- Celery and Leek Soup
- Slow Cooker Oxtail Soup
- Broccoli and Stilton Soup
- Mushroom Soup (gluten and cream free)
- Milk - use any combination of whole milk, semi skimmed milk and water or just use milk if you prefer.
- Flour - use white bread flour if you prefer.
- Savoury - add 100g or 4 oz of grated cheddar before adding the milk mixture.
- Herbs and spices - try adding 2 teaspoons of paprika or a the same of dried herbs, such as thyme or parsley.
- Air tight tin / container - these will keep for about 3 days if you want to eat them as bread rolls. They are great toasted for up to 7 days.
- Freezer - wrap well and freeze for up to 6 months.
Active dry yeast consists of dehydrated yeast granules and some of the yeast particles are dead due to the drying process.
The yeast needs to be proofed, which basically means, woken up and checked that it is alive , before you can proceed with the recipe.
This is done by placing it in warm liquid, with a little sugar to feed it. It should begin to go frothy in a few minutes if it is alive and ready to use.
If this doesn't happen the start again with new yeast.
The process used to make instant yeast doesn't kill any of the particles and it is also a much finer powder.
This means that it can be mixed with the dry ingredients and will dissolve as soon as the liquid comes into contact with it.
This type of yeast is mostly used in bread machines.
In order to prove the dough and make it rise you need to use a warm liquid and then leave the dough to rise in a warm place. Sometimes, that is easier said than done!
The aim here isn't to cheat and proof the dough quickly, because often the dough needs to take it's time to do the job properly.
The ideal temperature to get dough to rise is about 24 C or 75 F, so most homes won't be this warm in the kitchen unless all the cooking appliances are on.
You can put the bowl in the sink and pour in enough warm water to cover most of the bowl, place the bowl in the airing cupboard or use the oven.
Some ovens have a light which gives off enough heat to help the dough rise. Alternatively heat the oven to its lowest setting then turn off and leave the dough in the oven to rise with the residual heat.
More baking recipes
- Wooden spoon
- large mixing bowl
- food mixer with dough hook - optional
- 7 g instant yeast or 10 g active dried yeast
- 125 ml milk warm
- 100 ml water warm
- pinch sugar if using active dried yeast
- 450 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 50 g butter cold and diced
- If you are using dried yeast then add it to the warm milk and water with a pinch of sugar.
- Leave it for 15 minutes until it becomes frothy on the top.
- To use instant yeast just mix the milk and water together.
- Place the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast (if using), in a bowl and stir well.
- Rub the butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the milk mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir from the centre, gradually drawing down the milk as it falls from the sides. Keep mixing until the dough starts to come together.
- Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth for about 10 minutes
- Use a teaspoon of oil to grease the mixing bowl used for the dough and replace the dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
- Using floured hands, divide the dough into 12. Roll each piece into a ball first and then flatten.
- Place the dough on baking sheets with a few centimetres between them and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / 200 FAN / Gas 7.
- Just before baking, make a deep thumb print in the middle until you can feel the baking tray.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Wrap the bread in a clean tea towel and leave them to cool.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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