Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 4 – Breads + Easy Chocolate Muffins

Boy oh boy…..time just got away from me over the past few weeks. Work, as always, has been busy, then there has been college and preparation for each lesson, not to mention the MAMMOTH assignment that I needed to finish asap so as I could restart some weekend commercial kitchen experience. To top off an already crazy time, a bevy of builders have practically demolished the back part of our house to start the long overdue repairs due to a huge Angophora (tree) falling on our house last year. Phew…that’s a long way to say…this post is late. 

Week 4 Lesson Plan

This was Bread Week and as you see from the lesson plan, we made some fruit buns, bread rolls, a baguette, a standard white cob, some lavosh wafers and mini chocolate muffins. First we made the dough for the white bread which we used for the rolls, baguette and the cob. Whereas I have worked with yeasted breads before, my preference is to use a sourdough starter (mine is hibernating in the fridge at the moment as I’ve been too busy to bake). Having said that, this method is less time consuming as once the dough is made it only needs to rest for 15 minutes before its portioned out and shaped. Once shaped they only need 35 – 40 minutes of proving time before baking. 

Chef decided that with the fruit dough we would make 6 fruit buns and 2 hot cross buns. As the mixture had no spices added I don’t think it was really suitable for hot cross buns. I make a few batches every Easter and I think the addition of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves is essential for a good hot cross bun……what about you? It’s amazing what a bit of glazing does to the finished product.

As there was a function on, the college also caters for various functions, chef changed the plan from making 12 standard size muffins to making mini muffins. These took about 10 mins to whip up, including greasing the muffin tray, and only 12 minutes to bake. If making the mini muffins, simply adjust the temperature up to 190C (the smaller the item the higher the heat). These freeze well and will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container. Where as the recipe we made called for the addition of nuts, I prefer them without (recipe below). 

Chocolate & Nut Muffins

I didn’t think the lavosh was a great success. Chef made the dough for the whole class and we rolled our portion using a pasta machine. It was late in the class and there was just so much going on that people lost focus and some were overcooked. The lavosh dough is simply bakers flour, egg, butter, salt, sugar, milk and sesame and/or poppy seeds. I can see these working well if more attention is provided. 


Only one more lesson in Cakes, Pastries and Breads, in which we will make 12 Danish pastries and Tiramisu, including the sponge fingers. Hope to see you then.

Bon Appetit

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins

A quick and easy recipe for chocoholics or for someone who likes the occasional chocolatey treat. These no fuss muffins tick all the boxes!

  • 300 gm Plain flour
  • 13 gm Baking powder
  • 5 gm Baking soda
  • 20 gm Cocoa powder
  • 114 gm Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200 gm Castor Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 250 ml Milk, (buttermilk or full cream)
  • 15 ml Vanilla extract
  • 275 gm Chocolate chips (dark)
  • 40 gm Nuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 190C and spray muffin tin and paper liners with non-stick cooking spray

  2. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and gently fold until JUST combined – don’t over-mix.

  3. Divide the batter into 12 muffins cups and bake @ 190C for 5 mins. Reduce the temperature to 180C and continue to bake for another 12-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  4. Be careful not to over-bake. Turn out on to wire rack to cool for 5-10 mins and enjoy warm or cool.

  5. Note: Muffins taste best the day of baking but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

About kathryninthekitchen

I find joy in all aspects of food and cooking; reading about it, enjoying the offerings of great restaurants and cafe’s, sourcing beautiful produce & transforming it into delicious meals to share with the people I care about. I quite easily lose track of time when I am engaged in my favourite pastime. I have always dreamt of one day training as a cook and 2018 is the year that journey begins. I am excited I have the opportunity to follow my passion and grateful for the support of my family and friends. I hope you enjoy my journey with me as well as other food related detours.
This entry was posted in Commercial Cookery, Cooking at Home, Culinary School, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 4 – Breads + Easy Chocolate Muffins

  1. Terri Biskupek says:

    totally agree with you about hot x buns. spice is everything.

  2. Ron says:

    Now, bread making has been a passion of mine for some time and yes like you I prefer a sourdough. I also have a rye sourdough starter snoozing in the frig as well. She’ll be coming out for a feed this weekend. Great success with your home repair and I can’t wait to see the Danish episode.

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Thanks Ron. I think once you are in the sourdough ‘groove’ you’re a goner… every thing else pales compared to a beautiful home baked sourdough bread. I need to feed ‘Grace’ too…I may have to rive her as I have really put her to sleep for a while. The house is coming along – we now have a roof, but all the inside walls have gone, as has the floor and the windows – just the frames installed. Once they finish that room its on to the kitchen, dining and lounge….will be a while yet but when finished (hopefully before Winter) we will have our home back. Hope all is well with you and spring is in your air.

  3. I always learn something from you, this time that the smaller the item the higher the heat. I agree with you about hot cross buns, I like spice in them as well.

  4. chef mimi says:

    Thank you for this recipe! The lavosh seem beautiful to me, although obviously I can’t taste them. You’ve already become a culinary perfectionist!

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Hi Mimi….thanks but I am as far from any perfection as could be. Sorry for the delayed response, I have been very busy for 2 weeks looking after my mum who has been staying. I am only now catching up on my beloved blogs, including yours. 😊

  5. cookingontheweekends says:

    I must say, of all the things I miss since discovering my son has Celiac Disease, and therefore can’t eat gluten — is making yeast breads like some of these. I used to love it and would let the dough rise in the sun. I still use gluten in many recipes not for him, but the idea of sprinkling the flour everywhere makes me nervous.
    Okay, enough of that, and on to those delicious muffins. I might have missed it, but what kind of nuts did you use?
    Sounds like you have a lot going on, so I hope you’re having a lovely, relaxing weekend!

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Hi Valentina….it has been a crazy 2 weeks here as I’ve had my mother staying and so lots and lots of visits with local family. I am only just now catching up on my emails and favourite blogs before being back at work tomorrow.
      The muffins had unsalted semi crushed peanuts…but I think crushed walnuts or macadamia nuts would be nicer. I think it was a matter of using what was available in the dry stores at school.
      I hope you and your family had a happy Easter… with your warmer weather it must be nice to move to lighter dishes. Looking forward to Spring in your Kitchen!

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