Ahhh… crumpets, a traditional British treat. If you’ve tried store-bought crumpets in the UK, and eaten them cold, you would have experienced an unusual taste/texture sensation. They are rubbery and yeasty, and in essence pretty vile. If this is the only way you’ve tried crumpets, you would wonder why the factories make them, and why people eat them. However, something magical happens to the rubbery disc once it is toasted and slathered with butter and/or jam (jelly). The rubbery inedible disc is transformed into a piece of heaven.
I felt a little nostalgic this week, and really felt like some hot buttered crumpets, so I scoured the internet for some recipes. The recipes were more or less the same, however, the end results were not always correct. Crumpets are supposed to have HOLES, that’s the whole point of crumpets. The holes act as a sponge, and are made as a mode of transportation of butter and/or jam (jelly) into your mouth.
Of course you can buy crumpets in America, included the ones that are imported, but they are just not the same. There is also a highly popular crumpet shop in Seattle, which Seattleites seem to love. The one big problem is that their crumpets are not like real, British crumpets, ones that are laden with holes and channels! Stop the imposting!!!
Making crumpets isn’t a quick task, it takes about 2 hours from start to finish, but the results are worth it.
From this experiment, I had created a range of different types of crumpets. (i) the thin crumpet with holes; (ii) the thick crumpet, without holes; (iii), the thick crumpet with holes and (iv) the just right crumpet. Because of this experimentation, the amount yielded from this recipe is a guestimate.
To make the perfect crumpet depends on three very important factors:
- The frying pan (skillet) and muffin/egg rings have to be well oiled and at the right temperature. I had the gas ring (burner) set on medium heat. Too hot and the bottoms will burn; too cold and you end up with something similar to an English breakfast muffin, with no holes at the top whatsoever.
- The amount of batter you use in each ring. I found 3-4 tablespoons to be about right. Too little and you end up with a holey, but flat crumpet. Too much batter, and there will be a few holes, but the inside will be slightly stodgy.
- The thickness of the batter. I believe this recipe has given the correct amounts of ingredients. However, if you have your pan set up at the right temperature, and you use the 3-4 tablespoons batter and you don’t get bubbles, add a little water to the batter to thin it.
Don’t despair if your crumpets don’t turn out right, they still taste good, thick, thin, with or without holes!
PERFECT HOLEY CRUMPETS
- 375 g (2 ½ c) white strong/bread* flour
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
- 450 ml (1 ¾ c and 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water
- 250 ml (1 c and 2 teaspoons) lukewarm milk/milk alternative
* If you cannot find any strong/bread flour, simply mix in 1 tablespoon wheat gluten to every 150 g (1 c) white plain (all-purpose) flour
1. Beat all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth.
2. Cover bowl loosely with a damp towel and let sit in a warm area for about 60-75 minutes or until the surface is nice and bubbly.
3. Grease muffin/egg rings and frying pan well. Place the rings into the pan and preheat on medium for a few minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir the batter for 1 minute.
5. Fill each ring with 3-4 tablespoons of batter. As the crumpets cook, bubbles will rise to the surface, burst and hold their shape – creating the holes. This will take about 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crumpet and the heat of the pan.
6. Once the surface of the crumpet is relatively dry, remove the rings and flip them over. Cook for an additional 1 minute.
7. You can enjoy the crumpets immediately slathered in butter and/or jam (jelly), or transfer them to a wire rack whilst cooking the remaining crumpets. The cooled crumpets can then be toasted and enjoyed with the topping of your choice. They can also be frozen for later enjoyment.