The engineer-turned-baker shares his recipe for baked Nifflers, a sweetbread version of the little critters – who have long snouts and love hunting for treasure – from JK Rowling’s enchanted world.
150ml semi-skimmed milk
1 ½ tbsp honey
10g melted butter
A little lemon zest
½ tsp dried yeast
260g very strong white bread flour
½ tsp fine salt
1 medium egg (for egg wash)
Vegetable oil (for greasing)
1. Heat the milk and honey together in a small bowl until warm to the touch. Melt the butter and add these liquid ingredients to a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer along with the lemon zest and dried yeast.
2. Mix together on a slow speed with the dough hook attachment, then gradually add the salt and flour. The dough is meant to be stiff and should easily pull away from the edges of the bowl once the flour has been added. Increase to a medium speed and leave to mix for five-seven minutes until the dough is springy and passes the “window pane test”.
3. Tip on to a lightly oiled surface and form into a ball. Lightly oil the mixing bowl and put the dough back, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place or proving drawer for one hour or until doubled in size.
4. Once the first prove is done, tip your dough out on to a lightly oiled work surface and punch it a few times to knock out excess air. Lightly knead a few times, then split the dough into two equal portions. These will be our two Nifflers.
5. For each Niffler: Cut a piece off the dough just smaller than a golf ball to form the head. Cut off four small marble-sized pieces that will be the claws on the hands and feet. Form the remaining dough into an oval around the size of the palm of your hand. Make a cut using kitchen scissors in the middle of the thin side around 5cm long.
6. Spread the two legs apart. Squeeze the four claw pieces into a flattened small oval and cut four gaps at the end of each to form sharp claws. Press these on to the base body at the end of either leg and in hand positions. Roll the head into a ball then flatten one end into a tube to resemble a Niffler’s head. Poke two holes for eyes using a long skewer.
7. For each Niffler: On a lined baking tray, set an oiled 1 litre Pyrex bowl round side up. Prop the body of the Niffler by the oiled bowl in a sitting position. Set the head alongside as we’ll attach it later on. Cover with lightly oiled cling film for 25 minutes.
8. Brush lightly with some beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes until deep brown and it sounds hollow when knocked. Use a cocktail stick to connect the head to the body.
The finished masterpieces… JK Rowling would be proud