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Albert The Tall's Dorset Knobs

Traditional Dorsetshire biscuit, size of a golf ball, high temperature start, then long low bake to crisp. Used by nurdlers (Google it!). Apparently made by bakers with the sweepings of the bakery floor at the end of the shift and left in the oven until the next shift when they were eaten - complete with sawdust and rodent droppings (optional!).

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This yer recipe has bin 'anded down fur genrations, the knobs do be 'andy biscuits, specially fur them nurdling folk, 'tis said in days of yore 'twas traditional to serve 'em knobs 'afore a Nurdling Tourney, swilled down with ale or mead, so as to give the lads somethin to run on.
They be jus' the job for a snack any time o' day or nite. Our grandpa was wont to dunk 'is in tea to soften 'em up a bit, on account of his havin' so few teeth.

In the same manner as our Cornwall cousins an' thar pasties, these victuals were good and tough for taking to work or war, as thems would last an age. If baked three times, rather than twice – known as triscuits instead o' biscuits - twas said he could knock a man out at ten paces if hurled with enough vigour.

In living memory a parlour game were known whereby contestants did scoff at a large bowl of knobs, the winner being him who did eat the most 'afore choking on them pesky crumbs.

'Tis said traditional Dorsetshire bakers did make these knobs at the end of the day, by sweeping up all the spilled flour and other droppings and making a dough with a touch of sugar and butter, then leaving them in the cooling oven 'till morning time, when they would do fur breakfast.

Moores bakers do make these commercially and you do get a very pretty tin fur yur money, but they do be all the same size and hardness, not suitable for some occassions.

{These amounts may be doubled up if a larger batch is needed}

6 oz strong plain flour
6 oz plain flour
1 oz caster sugar
1 oz butter
6 fl oz water (skin hot)


Mix together flours and sugar, rub in butter.
If using real live yeast mix it in water and leave to bubble, then tip into bowl.
If using new fangled dried yeast then put that in flour bowl and then be adding the water afterwards.
Knead soft dough til tis smooth as a baby's behind.
Turn out and roll out into coils, as thick as yer biggest digit, or yer good mans, chop they up into about inch lumps, depending on how large they are to be eaten.
Round up into balls and put he round on a greased and floured baking tray, let they be fur three quarters of an hour. Then put they in an hot oven (450 F, 230 C, Gas Mark 8) for quarter of an hour or less, half ways through that time swap the trays round top to bottom of oven and watch out they don't turn too brown or even set alight {Great Uncle Alfred were famous for that}.
Turn out and pull apart thems whats got too close and turn they bottom side up.
Turn down heat til its hardly worth the fuel and leave for a couple of hours til baked through nice and crunchy like.
Hide away in a tin when cold.
Best served on special occasions with Blue Vinney Cheese.

Albert The Tall
Upwey, Dorsetshire.

Added by: billcrumbleholme

Tags: Biscuits

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Hi, How much dried yeast for the recipe, Thanks

Mrs Fiona Smith 24 September 2020

RE: Yeast

Greetings. I've tried various amounts of dried yeast. With the easy type about a teaspoon seems enough. It depends on how long you leave it to rise and at what temperature. These days I usually bake a cake in the main oven and leave the knobs to rise in the top oven for about an hour. If they do not rise enough they get very hard to eat! If they rise too much they then collapse and get an air pocket just under the top crust. Be careful not to overcook them to start with, too brown means too tough! The long cool bake has to crisp them up, to avoid a slightly soggy middle, but without making them too hard! All those variables mean you may have to experiment a bit and tweak it until it works well.... Good luck! Albert The Tall

billcrumbleholme 24 September 2020

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