- 14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
- 450g plain flour
- 550ml warm water
- 2 tsp fine salt
- cooking oil spray
- jam and butter to serve
As a child I wondered at the crumpet. How was it that the baker managed to get such even holes across its surface? Why was it that the crumpet had such unique texture – not quite doughy, not quite chewy? How on earth do you bake something on one side only?
As it happens, the crumpet is remarkably straightforward once its secrets are unveiled. When I made my first batch I was thrilled, and little saddened. The enchantment was somewhat dimmed. A part of me regretted my new-found knowledge, because as with any lust, a bit of mystery usually helps.
You see, crumpets are simply a bread that failed to thrive. Made with just four ingredients, you’ll need a little extra yeast and a little less flour, beating together a wet and slightly sticky batter that is poured into ring moulds over a moderate griddle or a non-stick frying pan.
The real trick in cooking crumpets is to get the heat nice and low. They need to dry out as much as to cook, as it is this process that allows the bubbles in the batter to rise to the top and become captured just as they break the surface, leaving behind those extraordinary holes.
Once they’re set, flip them over and toast them in the pan, or refrigerate them to be popped in the toaster later.
Combine the yeast with 1 Tbsp each of the flour and water, then set aside for 10 minutes, until very foamy.
Place the yeast mixture, the remaining flour and water, and the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth. Cover with cling film and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
Arrange egg rings in a non-stick frying pan and sprinkle generously with cooking oil spray. Fill with batter and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, until set. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Toast to serve with jam and butter.