Last weekend, I celebrated my birthday with family around. That included baking muffins for my young nephews. I think they were expecting sweet muffins or sweet anything. When I told them about the Welsh “savory” muffins that I was baking, they both contorted their faces, trying to imagine what a “savory” muffin tasted like and really had no context for the word, “Welsh”. I tried to explain, “the hint of sharp cheddar gives the muffins a really wonderful surprising edge.” I don’t know if they knew what I meant, but they were both anxious to try them. The older one, took a bite and then said, “I prefer sweet muffins.” The younger one, took a bite and then said, “mmm….I like it.” Most adults devour these, but not all kids may like them.
The muffin has a subtle complexity from the sharp cheddar and Worcestershire sauce and could be mistaken for a new type of biscuit (except the muffin doesn’t contain lard or butter). They muffins taste great with breakfast, brunch, coffee, tea, soup, etc and take about 10 minutes to mix and 20 minutes to bake! This recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe. I replaced the self-rising flour (all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt) with a mix of whole wheat flour and rye flour. The whole wheat flour gives the muffins a bit more fiber. Although, based on some literature that I recently came across, I think the flours will have to be replaced by whole grains that are not pulverized to a powder to retain the benefits of the whole grain.
- 1.5 cups self rising flour (or replace with 3/4 cup rye flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
- 1/3 cup rye flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt (or replace with lower fat Greek yogurt)
- 1/2 cup whole milk (or replace with any almond milk, if you use whole wheat flour add 1/4 cup more milk)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, mustard powder and cheese in a large bowl with a fork. In a large measuring cup, beat together the remaining ingredients. Pour into dry ingredients, mixing lightly with your fork. Remember that good muffins are made from lumpy batter. My substitutions are reference in parentheses in the list above. Regular Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it and since I was trying to keep this as vegetarian as possible, I used a vegan Worcestershire sauce (that doesn’t have anchovies in it). I also added a 1/4 tsp salt since I didn’t use the self-rising flour. If your cheddar is very salty, you probably don’t need to add additional salt. The cheddar that I used was not that salty.
Lightly oil and flour a 12-muffin pan. Spoon equally into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, then quickly take out of the oven and sprinkle a little cheese and Worcestershire sauce on each muffin. Put the muffins back in the oven for another 5 minutes, and then put them on a baking sheet to cool. The muffins pull back from the baking pan a bit, so it’s pretty easy to loosen them out of the baking pan. If you don’t want to deal with that, then simply use cupcake liners.
The muffins taste best while they are still warm but not hot. Makes 12 muffins. They are incredible fresh and a day later! I would also say ‘days later’ but I don’t think they’ll last that long! Enjoy!