It’s Harry-Potter-Food-Monday! Though this time the baked treat I’m sharing is not exactly Harry Potter themed: I’m making the Fantastic Beasts Niffler Bread 😀
If you have seen or read Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, you know that at the end (SPOILERS AHEAD) Jacob Kowalski opens a bakery full of whimsical looking bread. That scene is probably my favorite from the entire movie! I love how Jacob decided to add a magical twist on his creations. And he and his customers look so happy! It’s my new dream to recreate every treat from that bakery.
But for now, I’ll settle for just one. The most charming creature and also the easiest one to bake, haha.
“…the pastries and breads on the counter, all molded into fanciful little shapes – we recognize the Demiguise, Niffler, and Erumpent among them. Jacob, serving, is very happy, his shop full to bursting with customers.”
Ingredients: (to make 4 Nifflers)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoon active yeast
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Now, before you read my recipe, I must warn you that this Niffler baking experiment wasn’t exactly a success. They do end up looking really cute, but the texture was just okay. I’m still not sure if it was the recipe or if I messed it up. For now, I would recommend using your own bread recipe and come back to this post for the niffler instructions 🙂
I started by mixing the yeast with warm water and then added the oil, honey, salt and sugar. This was my first time making this kind of bread, so I just read a bunch of recipes on the internet and tried to adjust them to what I wanted. In hindsight that was a big mistake, considering my lack of baking experience 😛
But anyway, the only way to get good at something is practicing and sometimes (most of the time, really) failing. After mixing the previous ingredients, I added 1 and a half eggs – the remaining half is for later. And slowly, cup by cup, added the flour. I kneaded it until it looked smooth and pretty like in this picture. Then I let the dough rest for two hours.
Here’s my second mistake: I used expired yeast (Remember the Looney Tunes? When someone makes a dumb mistake and their head turns into a donkey? That was me when I read the expiration date two hours after using the product).
Also, it was really cold and raining that day, so I probably killed the expired yeast without giving it a chance to bulk. When I checked the dough two hours later, it was almost the same size as when I left it! I looked for advice and read that I could add more flour and leave the dough in a warm place for 1 hour. So I preheated the oven, added like half a cup of flour, kneaded again, TURNED OFF THE OVEN, and let the dough inside it for an extra hour. And ta-da! It kind of bulked! It didn’t double in size as it was supposed to do, but it was good enough to make my niffler.
For the body of the niffler I made a ball of dough and then flattened it with my palms. Then used a knife to make two cuts on the sides. With a smaller ball of dough I kinda molded a niffler head (it’s just a ball with a snout). And added a bit of flour here and there when the dough got sticky.
Then to the fun part! I used a bunch of aluminum foil to create a niffler baby chair. I’ve seen this trick in baking competitions so I figured I would try it myself (who knew that you could actually learn something from the Food Network et al.!) There was a lot of experimenting, but I liked the baby chair set up because it kept my niffler in place.
At first I wasn’t sure about adding the front part of the “chair”, but I didn’t want to risk his arms touching the rest of the body, so I left it. Half-mistake number three: this part of the chair helped keeping the arms in place, but I should have removed it after about 15 minutes. By leaving it there, I didn’t allow the niffler’s belly to brown properly.
Before putting it in the oven, I added some raisin eyes and brushed it with the beaten half egg I had saved. Then into the oven for 45 minutes! (At 375 degrees F – 190 degrees C). I also read somewhere that if you noticed your bread was browning too much in some places, you could cover it with small pieces of aluminum foil to keep an even surface. So I kept checking the little niffler and covered his snout and legs when they got more brown than the rest of the body. Oh, and while checking his feet I got the idea of making little vertical cuts with a knife to simulate claws!
And here are the results! They ended up so cute! The smell was amazing and I was dying to eat them.
I made a second niffler but I think his aluminum chair was too reclined because he looks like he’s melting (he’s the one on the left side of the picture). I still love him. For this one I removed the aluminum foil parts during the last 15 minutes of baking, and I think that gave him a beautiful brown color.
After making two of these I had a bunch of dough left so I added some chocolate chips, made small cylinder shapes with the dough, and braided it. I baked these pieces just as the nifflers and they also looked and smelled amazing, though they weren’t as delicious as I imagined.
I’m not sure if the problem was the yeast, but the bread was kind of hard. It was still good, though! My boyfriend and I already ate it all, but we agree that the consistency made it feel like it was two-or-three-day-old bread. (But bread is bread and we will love it no matter what.)
I really liked how these turned out and I’m definitely baking nifflers again! Though next time I’ll check the expiration dates before mixing all the ingredients 😉
What do you guys think? I hope you enjoyed my baking adventure! (And please, learn from my mistakes! Haha). Let me know if you decide to make your own niffler bread, I would love to hear your results. Or you can tag me on Instagram!
Cross your fingers so my Harry Potter treat next Monday comes out better than this one!
Other Wizarding World recipes: