Although I've heard of English crumpets for many years, I've never tried them until recently. I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy they were to make--just dump and stir, mostly! The hardest part is waiting for the batter to rise. It's nice to have easy baking recipes to make now and then, isn't it?
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What is a crumpet?
A crumpet is a thick, yeasted pancake cooked in metal rings inside of a skillet. They have a spongy, doughy texture and distinctive holes on top, which is perfect for letting melted butter soak into the crumpet.
What's the difference between an English muffin and a crumpet?
- rumpets are made from a thick batter and are traditionally cooked only on one side. They are cooked in rings to hold their shape.
- English muffins are made from a firmer dough and are always cooked on both sides. They also aren't cooked in rings.
- Pikelets are a type of pancake usually made without yeast. They are much thinner and are cooked without rings.
Where did they come from?
They most likely originated in Wales. Cakes baked on griddles, such as Welsh cakes, were popular because they didn't require an oven. The griddle was a flat piece of iron set over top of a fire, acting much like a skillet on a modern stovetop.
Why do crumpets have holes?
The fermenting yeast in the crumpet batter produces little bubbles of gas. When the batter hits the hot pan, the heat encourages the bubbles to rise to the top of the crumpet, creating the holes.
Are crumpets really bad for you?
They actually are good for you, in moderation of course. They're low fat and low carb, plus they contain a lot of fiber and protein to keep you full.
Are they vegan?
They can easily be made vegan. Just substitute water for the milk and use olive oil instead of butter to grease the crumpet rings.
How do you toast them?
- The best way is to toast them under the broiler (this is called grilling in the UK).
- Preheat the broiler or grill to high heat.
- Slice them in half lengthwise and spread them on a baking tray.
- Place the tray about 2 inches below the broiler or grill.
- Cook until desired doneness, about 5-10 minutes.
Can crumpets be frozen?
- Yes, you can freeze them.
- Seal them tightly in a zip-top freezer bag, pressing out the extra air.
- Freeze for up to 1 month.
- There's no need to defrost before toasting.
Are you inspired to make crumpets soon? It's like making extra-special, extra-delicious pancakes. Don't worry, your family will love them!
How to Make
Gather the ingredients. You'll need all-purpose flour, bread flour, butter, salt, yeast, sugar, baking soda, water, milk, and olive oil.
Mix together the two flours and the yeast in a bowl.
Warm up the milk to 115 F, then stir the sugar in it to dissolve. Pour all the milk mixture into the flour mix and stir vigorously for 3-5 minutes, until a smooth, stretchy batter has formed.
Let the dough prove until it increases in size and starts to fall back on itself. This will take at least 1 to 1 ½ hours. You can really see the strings of gluten in the dough in the photo below!
Warm the water to 115 F and stir in the salt and baking soda until dissolved.
Gradually stir in the water to slacken the batter.
Cover the batter and let it stand for about 20 minutes, until it has risen and has a bubbly surface.
Meanwhile, butter the crumpet rings and pull out a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Brush the cast iron with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the crumpet rings and fill them with 3-4 tablespoons of batter (about halfway full). Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the crumpets are full of holes on top, about 7-8 minutes.
Remove the rings with tongs and flip them over to cook the other side. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
Place the cooked crumpets on a wire rack, and cover with a tea towel to keep them warm. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining crumpet batter.
Serve with lots of salted butter and any other toppings you'd like. Honey, marmalade, raspberry jam, chutney, cheese, or ham are all tasty ideas.
- Stir the batter vigorously for 3-5 minutes until the batter is smooth and stretchy. The energetic stirring will build up the gluten in the dough, resulting in wonderfully chewy and holey crumpets.
- Tired arm from stirring? Pour the batter into a stand mixer and let it do the hard work for you.
- Let the batter rise until it's starting to fall back. This will take some time, but it means that the batter will have a much better flavor.
- Be careful not to fill the crumpet rings more than ⅔ full, since the extra batter will spill over the edges of the crumpet ring as it cooks.
- Keep the skillet on medium to medium-low. Too high of heat will burn them before they're cooked through.
- Place the cooked ones on a wire rack to keep them a little crispy. Cover with a tea towel to retain some of the warmth.
- Lodge 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet: we love the heat retention and large size of this skillet.
- Set of 4 Tin Crumpet Rings: these rings make perfectly round crumpets.
- Natural Bristle Pastry Brushes: these well-made brushes don't lose their bristles easily.
- Silicone Tipped Tongs: these tongs are perfect for moving the hot crumpet rings.
- King Arthur Bread Flour: this is my favorite bread flour! It makes beautiful bread for a reasonable price.
Other Teatime Treats
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Learn how to make these easy English crumpets for afternoon tea, breakfast, or brunch. Enjoy a relaxing cup of tea and homemade crumpets with either sweet or savory toppings. You can even use crumpets instead of English muffins in a breakfast sandwich!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (225g)
- 2 cups bread flour (225g)
- 4 ½ teaspoons fast-action yeast (14g)
- 2 cups whole milk (500 ml)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup water (150 ml)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Butter, for greasing
- Olive oil, for greasing
Making the Crumpet Batter (10 minutes + 1 hour proving)
- Pour the two flours into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast.
- Warm the milk to 115 F, then stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Add the milk to the flour and beat vigorously with a spoon until the mixture is quite stretchy and smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it prove in a warm place until the dough has fully risen and started to fall back. This will take at least 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Finishing the Crumpet Batter (5 minutes + 20 minutes proving)
- Once the crumpet batter has proved, warm the water to 115 F, then dissolve the salt and baking soda in the water.
- Gradually mix all the water into the crumpet batter, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Bubbles should form on the surface of the batter.
- While the batter is resting, lightly butter four 3 ½-inch (9 cm) crumpet rings and pull out a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Cooking the Crumpets (30 minutes: 9 minutes per batch)
- Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat heat for a minute or two, then turn down the heat to medium low. Lightly brush the skillet with olive oil.
- Place a crumpet ring in one corner of the skillet and spread 3-4 tablespoons of batter inside the ring, filling it about halfway. If the batter runs out from under the ring, add a little more flour to the batter, but if the batter doesn't form holes after a couple minutes of cooking, add a little more water to the batter. Once the batter is a good consistency, repeat with the other three crumpet rings.
- Cook the crumpets until the edges are set and holes have formed in the top (about 7-8 minutes), then gently remove the crumpet ring with a pair of tongs. The underside of the crumpet should be a rich golden brown.
- Flip over the crumpets and cook briefly on the other side until it's a nice golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Place the cooked crumpets on a cooling rack and cover with a tea towel to keep them warm.
- Lightly grease the pan again, then continue to cook the crumpets in batches of four until all the batter is gone. Serve the crumpets immediately with butter and jam, or allow to cool and toast later.
- Make sure the milk and water aren't hotter than 115 F, as temperatures hotter than this can kill the yeast.
- Don't want to stir the batter by hand? Use a stand mixer to do the hard work.
- Be careful not to overfill the crumpet rings, since the batter will overflow the rings, creating an unattractive crumpet.
- Keep heat on medium to medium-low, or the crumpets will burn before they are cooked through.
- Put cooked crumpets on a wire rack to keep them from getting soggy.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: crumpets, easy crumpet recipe, how to make crumpets
This post was originally published on May 18, 2018.