Milk, muffins and messing about

I’m having a short holiday right now between jobs, which means I’ve got a lot of time on my hands.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a lot is getting done as we all know that it is so easy to spend a few hours doing very little and then wonder where the day has gone.  I’m filling my days with X-tend Barre and Pilates classes, reading and using up a litre of milk.  Well, the last one needs a little explanation…

Nobody in our house drinks milk or eats cereal.  Personally, I can’t stand the stuff, never have done.  I guess I am slightly lactose intolerant: can’t drink milk or cream and have to watch ice-cream (which I do eat from time to time as it is so good).  I always know I am getting sick, even with just a common cold, if I can’t look at a piece of cheese.  My husband gave up milk years ago, and it isn’t something that my step-son should really have in any quantity.  So, when we buy milk because we are having visitors who might want it in coffee, there is always the dilemma of what to do with the rest of it.

When faced with a litre of milk this week, I decided to go on a muffin baking spree.  Now, the recipe I use for a basic muffin, calls for buttermilk (see previous post on this here).  I could have mixed the milk with some yoghurt, but of course, just wanted to get ahead with using up the milk.  Replacing milk with buttermilk in a batter increases the acidity of the batter slightly, and makes the finished product much lighter.

The first batch of muffins worked beautifully.  I made chocolate chip ones, using really small dark chocolate chips, which sort of melted to make a chocolate ripple.  They were moist, soft and bursting with flavour, probably the chocolate had a lot to do with it.

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The second batch, citrus poppy seed, made with the grated rind of an orange and a lemon and a good two tablespoons of poppy seed, were more cake like in texture due to the use of milk instead of buttermilk.  I have to say that they were much better on day 2, served with a large dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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For basic muffins you will need 375g self-raising flour, 90g butter, chopped, 220g caster sugar (for the citrus ones, I used golden caster sugar), 310ml buttermilk (or a milk natural yoghurt combination, about 1 part milk to 3 parts yoghurt.  Of course if you have milk to use up you can do what I did but expect a denser texture), 1 lightly beaten egg.  Sift the flour into a large bowl, rub in butter, stir in sugar, buttermilk and egg.  The good thing about muffins is that the mixture should be kind of lumpy, you don’t need a perfect smooth batter.  Spoon the mixture into a greased 12 hole muffin pan and bake at 200C for 15 minutes if a fan assisted oven and 20 minutes if not.

For chocolate chips, add loads with the sugar.

For citrus poppy seed, add the grated rind of an orange and a lemon and 2 large tablespoons of poppy seed at the sugar stage.

Actually, looking through my muffin recipes, I see some call for 2 eggs and milk and others for vegetable oil instead of butter.  I’ve actually done all three variations at one time or another and feel I should do the other two recipes soon to compare.  Any bloggers out there have a favourite basic recipe?

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