Have you been wanting to make English crumpets for your next breakfast or tea party? Look no further than this easy and delicious recipe; the hardest part is waiting for the batter to rise.
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English crumpets most likely originated in Wales. These English cakes are baked on griddles and 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.
The signature nooks and crannies of this English bread come from the fermenting yeast in the crumpet batter which 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.
The ingredients to make English crumpets are simple and you might already have most on hand. Let's talk about some of the key ingredients.
- Flour: We use a combination of all-purpose flour and bread flour.
- Fat: We used butter for the dough and olive oil for cooking.
- Liquid: We use a combination of water and milk.
- Leavener: Yeast helps the dough rise while the baking soda promotes the fermentation of the yeast giving them their distinct holes.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for our English crumpets.
- 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.
3. 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!
4. 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.
5. Cover the batter and let it stand for about 20 minutes, until it has risen and has a bubbly surface.
6. 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 they 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.
7. Place the cooked English crumpets on a wire rack, and cover with a tea towel to keep them warm. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining crumpet batter.
8. Serve our English crumpets with lots of salted butter and any other toppings you'd like. Honey, marmalade, raspberry jam, chutney, cheese, or ham are all tasty ideas.
They are certainly similar but do have some differences. English crumpets are made from thick batter and are traditionally cooked only on one side. They are cooked in rings to hold their shape. On the other hand, English muffins are made from firmer dough and are always cooked on both sides. They also aren't cooked in rings.
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.
English crumpets are typically eaten whole rather than sliced. But if you want to toast them, we recommend slicing them in half and toasting them under a broiler.
Traditionally they are eaten hot with butter, clotted cream, and jam. Of course, many different flavor combinations can be eaten with them.
Freeze: Seal them tightly in a zip-top freezer bag, pressing out the extra air and freezing for up to 1 month. There's no need to defrost before toasting.
- 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 English 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.
- 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.
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Making the English 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 English 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 English 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.
Our English crumpets post was originally published on May 18, 2018.