Croydon’s Coughlan Bakery on how to bake creatively under lockdown

Pic: Coughlan’s Bakery on Facebook

Amidst lockdown, the posts of homemade sourdough loaves and creative banana bread recipes have overtaken social media. From foam instant coffee replacing espresso to mashed potato banana bread replacing flour, people are coming up with different ways to compensate for the ingredients running out on supermarket shelves.

But there isn’t an already-available alternative recipe for everything, so Croydon’s most popular bakers have explained what they’ve been doing as ingredients such as flour and eggs temporarily disappeared off supermarket shelves.

As third-generation bakers, the Coughlan’s know a thing or two about baking and cooking.

They run one of the most popular bakeries around Croydon, baking from Jack Coughlan’s original recipes from 1937.

Sean Coughlan has taken it upon himself to find creative ways to stay in touch with fellow bakers through Instagram and over the course of the pandemic, the family has been sharing their favourite baking and cooking recipes through their Instagram page, allowing anyone to recreate the locally famous treats. 

Coughlan’s talked to Eastlondonlines about how tips for fellow bakers, experts and novices alike under lockdown.

What’s missing? Flour

Replace using oats! 

In most sweet dishes flour can be replaced with rolled oats or finely milled oats, as it has a flour-like consistency. Coughlan says he loves oats as a substitute when baking cookies. The recipe creates for a great chunky cookie.

Coughlan’s favourite chocolate chip cookies FLOURLESS EDITION

  • 250g oats
  • 200g margarine, softened
  • 200g chocolate chips 
  • 125g brown sugar, 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbps bicarbonate soda
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. 

In a large bowl, sift both sugars into softened margarine. In a separate bowl thoroughly mix all dry ingredients into oats. Mix the oats into the wet ingredients and add chocolate chips. Roll dough and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Cut dough into balls and lay on a baking sheet. 

Bake for 10 minutes. 

What’s missing? Pasta

Make your own using as little as two ingredients: flour and water.

Making homemade pasta isn’t that difficult, according to Coughlan who has used his Instagram as a way to share some of his favourite recipes including homemade pasta.

Pic: @oughlansbakery on Instagram

Coughlan said: “A tip for making great homemade pasta is drying it on household hangers before boiling/for storage.”

Coughlan’s homemade beetroot pasta

  • 3 cups of flour 
  • ¾ cup of beetroot juice 
  • Glug of oil
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of salt 

On a flat surface, sift flour, add turmeric and a pinch of salt. Create a well in the middle and slowly start adding the wet mixture, softly massaging the flour until the dough sticks together in a ball. 

Take the pin and softly roll the dough out into a thin sheet. If you don’t have a pasta cutter, you can use a knife to thinly slice 1cm thick pieces of pasta or cut dough into 2cmx2cm squares to roll into smaller pasta shapes. Boil in water for 2-3 minutes. 

Serve with your favourite pasta sauce, heated up chopped tomatoes and diced onion or leftover roasted veggies. 

What’s missing? Milk

By now, the message is clear, the only staple ingredient you really need in your house are oats! To replace milk, you may use oats to make homemade oat milk.

Coughlan’s homemade oat milk

  • 3 cups of water 
  • 1 cup oats 
  • Pinch of salt 

In a large jug, soak the oats for 30 minutes. Drain oats and rinse them. Add oats, a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water to the blender, you may also add vanilla extract/dates/chocolate spread for flavour. Blend until smooth and strain the milk through a cheesecloth/napkin. 

Refrigerate for 5 days. 

What’s missing? Eggs

Egg replacement can be tricky and if you’re vegan, this is definitely a problem you come across a lot when baking. However, as lockdown continues and supermarkets are seeing a shortage of eggs and milk, Coughlan recommends using homemade oat milk  as a substitute. 

According to Coughlan, you shouldn’t sieve the oatmilk. The chunkiness of the liquid, and the absorbing qualities of oats create a great substitute for most egg recipes. 

Depending on what you’re cooking it’s also possible to use: mashed bananas (pancakes), applesauce (cupcakes), yogurt (brownies), a mixture of water/oil/baking soda (gluten-free alternative) and, white vinegar + water (other). 

Keep up with the Coughlans on their Instagram.

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