These Lemon, olive and walnut muffins are so good. The lemon is tangy, the olives salty and the walnuts give their taste and a different texture. They are easy to make and quick, the longest job is taking the thyme leaves off the stalks.
These Lemon, olive and walnut muffins are in effect a yeastless or yeastfree bread, similar to soda bread, but much lighter. When you make bread with yeast, the yeast grows in the bread dough and gives off carbon dioxide. This gas is trapped in the dough and expands with heat, during the cooking process. “The heat then sets the structure of the batter (or dough) and the carbon dioxide is replaced by air” Leith Techniques Bible 2015:139.
These muffins are in effect a yeastless or yeastfree bread, similar to soda bread, but much lighter. When you make bread with yeast, the yeast grows in the bread dough and gives off carbon dioxide. This gas is trapped in the dough and expands with heat, during the cooking process. “The heat then sets the structure of the batter (or dough) and the carbon dioxide is replaced by air” Leith Techniques Bible 2015:139.
Yeast needs warmth, moisture and food to grow and produce carbon dioxide. Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda will also produce carbon dioxide creating a similar structure in the batter or dough, but they are less fussy about the conditions they need to start work. In this recipe they do the job of yeast. Baking powder starts working just by mixing it with a liquid, bicarbonate of soda needs an acid, in this case lemon juice, to start producing carbon dioxide. They start working immediately and that’s why the flour and raising agents are mixed in right at the last moment, so that the baking powder and/or bicarbonate of soda working in the oven, not sat in the mixing bowl on the side. If you have found this information useful, you can find similar information in Leith Techniques Bible 2015.
Lemon, olive and walnut muffins
These muffins are best eaten about 30 minutes after they have been cooked. They will keep well in an air tight container for a few days, but they are even better if you are able to heat them a little. Pop them in a preheated oven at 180°C/160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 for 8 minutes to warm them up.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffin
- 100g/3½oz mature cheddar
- 100g/3½oz olives
- 100g/3½oz walnuts
- 85ml/3 fl oz lemon juice – juice from one large lemon
- Rind from two lemons
- 1 tbsp milk
- 100ml/3½ fl oz olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 eggs
- 250g/9oz plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
- Cut the cheddar into small cubes and place in a large bowl.
- Half the olives. Roughly chop or break up the walnuts with your hands and add the olives and walnuts to the cheese.
- Add the lemon juice and rind, milk, oil, salt, pepper and thyme to the cheese and stir well to combine.
- Break the eggs into another bowl and whisk well, stir into the cheese mixture.
- In a third bowl mix the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together. Sift this mixture on top of the cheese mixture. Using a metal spoon with as few stirs as possible, combine the flour with the rest of the mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and put into the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- The muffins are done when they are lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.
- Let cool in the tin for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Carbohydrates: 16g