Saturday 3 November 2012

Essex Huffer Recipe

I recently wanted to create a lunch with an Essex huffer, which is a wedge-shaped bap eaten with a filling of choice.  Although the huffer has become a local bread in this part of Essex, I can't find any recipes for it in any old or new Essex cook books and there is little information online.  However, there is a traditional bread from Kent called a huffkin, and although huffkins are smaller rolls, it seems to me that there is a very close similarity between the two breads.  So I've looked to the huffkin for ideas for my recipe.  My huffers are slightly smaller than the huge baps on the pub lunch menu, but they'll be larger than a traditional huffkin.

Essex Huffer with Scottish Cheddar and Old English Chutney with Cider

Recipe for an Essex Huffer (This makes 8 Huffers)

1lb 10oz (750g) of strong bread flour. 
7 fl oz (200 ml) scalded milk (milk boiled and then cooled until it is tepid)
10 fl oz (275 ml) tepid water
2 1/2 oz (75g) butter
1/2 oz (15g) fresh yeast*
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar.

A little extra flour for a floury surface to knead the dough.
A little extra butter for greasing.

You will need:

Two baking trays.
A bowl to mix the dough in and a bowl to mix the fresh yeast.


1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.

2. Rub in the butter.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the fresh yeast with a little of the tepid water to create a loose paste, then add the rest of the water.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the tepid milk.

5. Then pour in the yeast and tepid water mixture.

6. Leave the mixture for 10-15 minutes under a piece of muslin (or tea towel).

7. Mix into a dough, adding a little more flour if the mixture feels too wet, or water if the mixture feels too dry.

8.  Turn the dough out onto a floury surface and knead for 10 minutes.

9. Wash out the floury bowl and grease with butter.

10. Put the dough into the bowl, cover with the muslin (or tea towel) and leave for an hour in a warm room.

11. Turn the dough out onto a floury surface and cut in half.

12.  Roll out each half into a circle and then cut into four pieces each 2cm thick.

13. Put four pieces on one, greased baking tray and four on the other.

14. Leave under tea towels for 30 minutes.

15. Pre-heat the oven to 220c, 200 fan or gas 7.

16. Place the baking sheets with dough in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

* I always use fresh yeast in my breadmaking. This can be available in supermarkets and bakeries that bake bread on site.  If you would prefer to use dry yeast instead for this recipe, then I believe 15 g fresh yeast converts to 4 g of dry, quick yeast.


  1. Hi Wendy

    I stumbled across your blog this morning why looking for bread bakers in essex.

    I to am a fellow smallholder near Maldon, we have sheep, pigs, dexters, bee's, a huge array of poultry and our latest addition a goat.

    I help to run East Essex Smallholders Group and this weekend we are off to inspire people at the Blackwater Wild Food Festival for Essex Wildlife Trust, a really lovely event.

    We will be making sausages, jam, chutney, smoking bacon, selling home grown pumpkins and making bird feeders with children.

    However this morning i stumbled across a problem, one of members was meant to be making bread, with flour kindly donated by Marriages in Chelmsford. But she has an accident and is in plaster so can't attend.

    I find myself trawling the internet hoping to find someone who enjoys baking in Essex who might like to join us.

    Can i interested you? We are a lovely bunch of like minded people, and you seem to be on the same wave length as so many of us. I'm so sorry for the short notice!



    1. Hello Danni. It's good to hear from you. I am sorry to hear about your 'baker's' accident, but unfortunately I won't be able to make your event this weekend. It does sound as though it will be fun.
      I'm looking forward to finding out more about your group!

  2. Thank you for the Recipe, I've a customer who has moved to Scotland misses The Huffer. I shall let you know how I get on. I mainly make sourdough, so I may try both.


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