FEBRUARY BAKE: CRUMPETS

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After a long debate about whether crumpets actually qualify as a ‘bake’, it was decided that if they’re good enough for the Bake-Off, they’re certainly good enough for the February Bake.  Besides, on a crisp not-quite-spring day, there’s nothing better than tucking into a warm crumpet oozing with melting butter, accompanied by a large pot of tea. After two distinctly continental bakes, it was also about time to showcase a quintessential British treat.

After scouring the internet and various trusted recipe books, I found an array of subtly differing recipes. To use plain or strong white flour? Bicarb or no bicarb? To narrow the choice, I discounted any recipes displaying pictures of hole-less crumpets (without the holes, how else can you consume a such an abominable quantity of butter?) and sifted through the rest.  After a couple of batches, I (and my housemates) were more than happy with the recipe below!

TOP TIPS

(learnt the hard way)

-Do not be tempted by cheap crumpet rings online. After a particularly traumatic crumpet-y experience involving some definitely-not-non-stick crumpet rings, I headed straight to Lakeland and purchased some new crumpet rings (http://www.lakeland.co.uk/18428/4-Crumpet-Rings) which, I’m sure it goes without saying, were an absolute dream to use.  I’m not even sure why I strayed from Lakeland in the first place.  Moral of the story: Lakeland always saves the day.

 

The definitely-not-non-stick crumpet rings...

The definitely-not-non-stick crumpet rings…

 

-Do not forget that metal gets hot.  Just because your beautiful brand new crumpet rings are from Lakeland, it doesn’t mean they won’t burn your fingers. After struggling with a tea towel/oven gloves, a friend suggested toaster tongs.  Ironically, so does Lakeland if you buy crumpet rings online.  Moral of the story: tong-related utensils can save (blood) sweat and tears during the crumpet making process.

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 7g yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 275 ml warm milk
  • 275 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Vegetable oil, to grease

Sift the flour into a large bowl, and add the sugar, salt and yeast (add the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl, as the salt will slow the yeast). Slowly incorporate the milk and water, mixing well with a wooden spoon until you have a mixture the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour.

Add the bicarbonate of soda, mixing well.  Cover, and leave for a further 20 minutes.

Heat a heavy based frying pan on a medium heat and brush, using a pastry brush, with oil.  Brush your rings too and place them in the pan.  Fill the rings about half way up with batter.  Cook the crumpets for about 8 minutes until the top looks set – the crumpets should shrink away from the sides.  Take the crumpet rings off (toaster tongs!) and flip the crumpets over and cook for a further minute or two to let the top turn golden.  Re-coat the rings with oil between crumpets.

 

You may need to experiment with the heat of your hob – too hot and the middle won’t cook, but too cold and you won’t get any bubbles (which mean less butter…)

 

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Devour straight away slathered in butter, or jam.  Alternatively these tasty treats are delicious the next day toasted, or you can freeze them!

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