From Too Many Chefs - www.toomanychefs.com

August 4, 2004
The Blare of the Crumpets

Somerset Maugham once said "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day." And one of my favorite English breakfast foods is the crumpet.

The perfect crumpet, even more so than the perfect english muffin, captures the tension between crisp and tender. The outside crunches as your teeth bite into it and are cushioned immediately by a spongy soft crumb that loves to absorb butter and jam. Oof.

After our foray to the Crumpet Shop near the Pike Street Market in Seattle a few weeks ago, I knew I had to learn to make my own.

I'd never made crumpets from scratch before, and to the best of my knowledge, I'd never known anyone who made crumpets from scratch before. When I want to learn a new recipe and have no teacher, I turn to the Internet, where everything is true and the advice is always good. (Ummm...)

Google turned up a few crumpet recipes, which I compared and contrasted. The one that looked the most promising was this one from History.uk.com.

I went to Sur La Table and picked up a set of no-stick crumpet rings (though they thought they were egg rings) for about $7, the next morning, I began the recipe.

The first try I started to measure our the flour until I realized just how much flour a pound and a half is. Good grief! I was trying to feed my wife and myself, not the Royal Fusilliers. I decided to halve the recipe.

The first batch of crumpets turned out poorly. The outsides were nice and crispy but the insides were still batter. And they didn't have that nice soft bubbly crumb where the batter had set. Basically, they looked like they didn't have enough oomph!

So a few days later, I adjusted the recipe and gave it a second try. This time, the crumpets were just the way I like them. The key was doubling the amount of yeast in the original recipe (or actually, keeping the amount of yeast the same while halving the rest of the recipe).

Here now is my adaptation of the crumpet recipe from history.uk.com:

Crumpets

3/4 pound All-Purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups of milk - use butermilk if you like buttermilk crumpets
1 tablespoon dried yeast
pinch of sugar

Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl.

Heat the milk to lukewarm - between 80 and 100 degrees Farenheit

Pour 1/2 cup of milk into a glass or bowl, stir in the yeast and sprinkle the sugar on top to feed the little yeasty beasties. After about 5-10 minutes, you should have a foamy head on the milk. reheat the rest of the milk to 80-100 Farenheit if it has dropped in temperature.

Form a well in the center of the bowl of flour and salt. Fill the well with the 1/2 cup of milk and yeast. Add the rest of the milk. Stir to combine, trying to fold air into the mix while combining the ingredients. Continue to stir until a thick batter forms.

Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.

After the rise, the contents of the bowl should look like a big puffy uncooked loaf of bread. Here's where the diet goes out the window - Grease the (preferably non-stick) skillet you will use with butter. Grease the rings as well, and place them on the skillet. Over medium heat, melt the butter and heat the rings until they are the same temperature as the skillet (about three or four minutes).

Raise the heat just a little. Heat control is very important with this dish. You have to find a medium between burning the outside of the crumpet while the inside is still batter, and leaving the heat so low that the butter leaves the crumpet greasy. All stovetops and pans are different - you'll have to experiment a bit.

Pour enough batter into the rings (I use about half a cup per crumpet) so the ring isn't overflowing, but so the bottom is covered. The batter will be sticky and tricky to work with, so be careful when adding it to the rings. Do not move the crumpet for five to seven minutes until the surface looks pretty dry and bubbles have formed holes throughout the top of the crumpet.

Carefully remove the ring, flip the crumpet, and cook the other side for two to three minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

When you're done with the batch, you can eat them right away with butter and jam, use them as a base for an openfaced egg sandwich, or let them cool and toast them the next day for breakfast.

I haven't tried the alternate method of cooking described in the original recipe - using a baking sheet to do a big batch of crumpets all at once - but if I acquire more rings, I may give it a go.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at August 4, 2004 1:57 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Wow, very impressive Barrett! Did you get the right consistency, with bubbles all the way through? I never had any idea how one could reproduce the unique texture of crumpets - maybe we'll give this a try while my stepdaughter is in Paris this weekend!

Posted by Meg in Paris on August 5, 2004 at 5:13 AM

Once I learned to keep my damn hands off the crumpet and let it sit for the full five-seven minutes, the bubbles were much more prominent. Of course I burned the first one I tried that with.

They still didn't go all the way through, but from reading up on it, I think the solution to that is to use a high-gluten or "strong" flour instead of AP flour.

They're a lot easier than I thought they'd be. I don't know why I was ever fooled into thinking they were some big production.

Posted by Barrett on August 5, 2004 at 8:36 AM

My son, who is majoring in culinary arts, taught me to make crumpets and they're wonderful. I use a large griddle to bake mine on top of stove.
I want to try making crumpets with buttermilk, as I love the taste.
I double the recipe and make enough for myself to eat one every morning for a few weeks. I wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. It's a real luxury I truly enjoy.

Anyone who hasn't tried them is really missing out.

Posted by Marti Bee on January 4, 2006 at 11:13 PM

hey,
I had my 1st crumpet in New Zealand and fell in love. I wish they were more common in the states
I just ate my last crumpet I brought back from the same crumpet shop in Seattle. Now I have to try and make my own!
thanks for the info and wish me luck!
mary in boulder

Posted by mary on July 16, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I have just returned from Australia (my homeland) for the first time since moving to the States 10 years ago. There, I introduced my large family of nine to crumpets for the first time and they fell in love with them. On returning to Michigan the kids naturally asked me to buy some crumpets. Well finding the Holy Grail would be easier than finding anything that resembled a crumpet in Michigan.

So for the past few days I have been experimenting on my children and husband with homemade crumpets.

The first batch were horrible hockey pucks. Yesterday's were a vast improvment but I'm going to try your recipe next.

A tip for those who need crumpet rings. Williams Sonoma sell egg rings that are 1 inch high and make reasonably respectable crumpet rings. Failing that, collect 6 small tuna cans, take the bottom off and wash very well and you have for yourself a new set of crumpet rings!

Posted by Barb on August 31, 2007 at 8:28 AM

Every time I am in Seattle I go to the Crumpet Shop in Pike Place Market and order the ham and English Cheddar with a slice of tomato. It is so so good. I can't wait to try to make crumpets at home. Try them with the cheese, wonderful for breakfast!

Posted by Nina on January 9, 2008 at 8:39 PM

Believe it or not - Trader Joe's has crumpets. Not the best, but in a pinch, they'll do. As to making them - you can use cleaned tuna cans for rings - spray with cooking spray - I use an electric griddle - don't make them too thick - you want them to look like pancakes on top (dry, with holes) before you turn them. They must be toasted. You cannot use them straight from the griddle.

Posted by Olivia on March 10, 2008 at 11:31 PM

Also - Julia Child has a recipe in Julia Child and Company for home made english muffins - a tremendous improvement over bought. Don't even need rings for those. A great Xmas gift is a basket of English muffins and some homemade jam or marmalade.

Posted by olivia on March 10, 2008 at 11:33 PM

We bought some packaged Crumpets from a wonderful grocery chain store called Woodmans. These stores are located in the upper Illinois/Wisconsin region. They sell both white and wheat versions. Since I don't travel up there too often, I may try making this home made recipe soon.

Posted by Denise on October 26, 2008 at 10:48 PM

If you live in the Denver area, you can buy crumpets at the NEW Sunflower market. I lived in England for many years and these taste pretty close, they are made in Canada and shipped here to the USA. I got a new Bread book with a recipe inside, cant wait to try once I find the Crumpet rings. Its an authentic British recipe but makes 20, so hopefull half a recipe will work.

Posted by Rosemary on November 18, 2008 at 11:47 AM

I just recently started making my own crumpets. I was born in the UK and I really missed the taste and texture of a good crumpet. I have adjusted the recipe I started with a little. I now use 50/50 AP flour and Bread flour, I add a 1/4 tsp of cream of tartare and 1/2 tsp baking soda, otherwise my recipe is very similar. I agree completely with the comments on regulating the heat properly, it really is the secret. Also I have found that a thinner batter works better than a thicker one, just so it doesn't flow out under the rings. I found the perfect crumpet rings at TJ Maxx, they were sold as Egg/Pancake rings and came two to a pack for $2.99, they even had a little handle to lift them off with.

Posted by Mike on December 22, 2008 at 2:53 PM

I fell in love with crumpets while going to school in Australia. We would cover them with a thick Tasmanian leatherwood honey!! Hopefully I will be able to reproduce this at my restaurant in Royal Oak.

Posted by Greg Reyner on December 23, 2008 at 7:05 PM

Looks great. Trying it tomorrow. I've made english muffins before and they turned out surprisingly well and rather simple.

As for adding the batter to the pan, try a small spring handled ice-cream scoop. I used a couple of cleaned tuna cans open on both ends for the english muffins - worked like a charm, going to try again for these.

Posted by Emme on October 7, 2009 at 12:45 AM

If in the Boston area you can get the real deal at some Stop and Shop's.
I have had the most luck in Quincy and Weymouth.
I agree you must toast these to have them at their finest.
Butter is essential then a topping such as a jam and heavy whipped cream or just honey. Either way they are just delicious!!!!!

Posted by Tony on December 8, 2009 at 12:11 PM

you have done all the heavy lifting!!! i have tried several crumpet recipes, but they are all too dry somehow, and don't rise enough. your recipe is nice and wet and tosses in enough yeast to float a battleship. i'll try this - i'm sure it will be totally jam-worthy...

Posted by tobyma on December 10, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Re. Flour.

Hi to all. My personal experience with any baking using yeast (as opposed to baking powder) is that you should always use STRONG flour for the dough to raise properly.

I'm in a crumpets mood today and may very well try your recipe (although I don't have crumpets rings).

Emmie in Ghana

Posted by Emmie on January 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM

I'm curious as to the inner texture of your crumpets. I've tried making a few other recipes (and permutations thereof) and mine ALWAYS wind up too moist in the middle, underccoked and raw. This is despite cooking for 8 minutes on one side, flipping over, then toasting. I tossed out my last batch.

I've read that to "get" the holes the batter needs to be wet enough and that if it's too dry or sticky that you won't get the holes. I've tried regular recipes, adding in more liquid, using less liquid. All the permutations. I even tried the baking method (didn't work). I'm using AP flour, instant yeast, and baking powder (my recipes have called for both).

I can't seem to win with my attempts (and I'm normally quite a good cook if I don't say so myself).

I'm hoping to figure out what I'm doing wrong before I recycle my crumpet rings once and for all.

Posted by Linda on February 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Thank you thank you. This is great. I had success the first time by following your instructions carefully. Now the compliments will spread like the butter among my friends. My only comment on the recipe was that I needed more flour than you say, like over 1 cup of flour, but the only way to understand this is like any other recipe; you have to know what the consistency needs to be. Just like with popovers where the texture is nearly the same as a crepe batter, this texture is thicker than that after it sits but I figured this out the first time. Lucky I guess.

Posted by Eric on September 24, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Have you ever tried sourdough crumpets? I tried out the King Arthur Flour recipe when I was tired of throwing out all that starter after I fed my sourdough starter.
The crumb is fabulous and the outside crispy. I also put leftover ones in the toaster to crisp them up before serving...not as good as fresh, but pretty darn terriffic!

Posted by Kim on January 3, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Looks good, but I didn't see baking soda on the ingredients list. Does it make a difference?

Posted by Liz on August 1, 2011 at 11:57 PM

Interesting I only see comments. Is there something wrong with your blog or is it mine browsers problem?

Posted by David Caretti on May 1, 2012 at 8:09 AM

David, if you came to the site through a Google search, you might have ended up on the page that only shows comments. The whole post is here: http://www.toomanychefs.com/archives/001118.php

Hope that helps!

Barrett, eight years after your original post I now have a crumpet-loving five year old and have promised him we could try making them on this cold May Sunday!

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