As always with our Knead the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Fast Breads to give away this week. Enter the contest here.
Tea and crumpets. That phrase is absolutely everything I knew about crumpets before I tried this recipe from Fast Breads. Crumpets are sort of like thin English muffins. Since they're so thin, you don't cut them in half; you simply slather them with butter and eat them as they are. They reminded me of a cross between an English muffin and a pancake.
I love the crunchy hills and tender valleys of an English muffin, but this was an entirely different experience since it's not cut and/or toasted. Instead of serving them with butter as suggested, I preferred mine with jam.
And I don't know if it's traditional, but I found that popping them in the toaster to re-warm them wasn't a bad idea.
What Worked: Another great use for my cast iron pizza pan. And it's always fun to try making something I've never eaten before.
What Didn't: Just like pancakes, the first batch didn't cook as well as the second. Not the recipe's fault, I just wasn't sure exactly about the temperature. Next time I'll know what to aim for, but if you're cooking these for the first time I suggest making one sacrifice crumpet before committing to a whole griddle full.
Suggested Tweaks: I'd cut back on the salt just a tad next time, particularly if I was going to serve it with salted butter.
Adapted from Fast Breads by Elinor Klivans. Copyright © 2010. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved
About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.
- Yield:Makes 10 crumpets
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 15 minutes
- 1 cup milk, any fat content
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp corn or canola oil
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unbleached bread flour
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one 1/4-oz packet)
- Flavorless nonstick cooking spray
- 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp water mixed just before cooking
- Butter for serving
In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water, and oil over medium heat to about 130ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, and using a large spoon, stir together both flours, the sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in the hot milk mixture, then stir vigorously for about 2 minutes to form a smooth, thick batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter sit for 45 minutes. The batter will rise and become bubbly.
When the batter has risen, arrange 5 metal rings each 3- to 4-in diameter and about 11/2 in high on a griddle. Spray the inside of each ring and the griddle with flavorless nonstick cooking spray. Heat the griddle over low heat.
Use the large spoon to stir down the batter. Gently stir in the dissolved baking soda, mixing well. Drop about 1/4 cup of the batter into each hot ring; it will spread evenly. Cook the crumpets over low heat until the bottom is browned and a firm skin has formed on top, about 10 minutes. Bubbles will form on the tops as the crumpets cook, and the tops should feel firmly baked and not sticky when touched lightly with a finger. Use tongs to lift off the rings and set them aside. If the crumpets stick to the rings (they won’t if the rings are well greased), jiggle the rings gently with the tongs and the crumpets should release. Turn the crumpets over and cook just until the second sides are firmly set, a minute or less. The insides of the crumpets will be soft. Transfer to a plate and serve, or keep warm in a low oven (250ºF) while the second batch cooks. Before you cook the second batch, gently stir down the batter (it will bubble up and rise while the first batch cooks) and spray the rings and griddle again.
Serve the crumpets hot with butter.
The crumpets can be covered and stored at room temperature for to 2 days. To serve, lightly toast the crumpets, buttered or not, just to warm them, or place them in a single layer on a baking sheet/tray, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and reheat in a preheated 225ºF 1/4 oven just until warm, about 10 minutes.