I took a week off. I wish I could say it was because I was gearing up for something mind-blowing this week, but it wasn’t. I just lacked the organisation needed to fit bread making into a busy schedule, even though I’d already ear-marked these as my next target, and even though these are decidedly quick and straight forward for a bread.
Crumpets were a suggestion from a friend and this particular recipe comes care of Jamie Oliver’s website. I was inspired by my friend’s results and declaration that they were easy, but after my own attempt I will acknowledge that her crumpets appear to be a lot more successful than mine. Hers are taller (and presumably fluffier) and their colouring is both lighter and more varied…they are straight up crumpet-ier.
Mine, on the other hand, look a lot like pikelets.
I blame egg rings for my failure. Crumpets, apparently, are made on the stove top using 10cm egg rings to keep them to a standard shape. The recipe calls for four 10cm egg rings, which is not a thing I own. Maitland told me that they are available from the supermarket, but I know lots about supermarkets and couldn’t recall ever seeing egg rings there and so decided he was probably wrong. We went instead to Big W and ended up getting two strange silicone ones. These were wrong for the recipe both in terms of number (two instead of four) and material (silicone instead of metal). Further, and perhaps most concerning, these egg rings have an internal lip. I’m sure this feature is cutting edge for egg frying, but I don’t think it is an asset to crumpeteering.
In fact I know it is not an asset because I repeatedly poured my crumpet batter into the rings while they had the lip at the bottom and them discovered that removing the ring was kind of difficult and led to some mangling of the crumpet shape on the way. I eventually figured out that this problem could be avoided if you put the ring the other way around in the pan (lip on top), so that removal is easier. Because I had only two rings and this recipe makes twelve crumpets I did get six opportunities to finesse this process. I improved somewhat but not, it must be said, substantially.
Naturally, straight after Big W we went to the supermarket where I spotted the exact egg rings called for in the recipe. Not only did I have to apologise to Maitland for doubting him on this point, I also couldn’t justify buying them in front of him because of the aforementioned silicone sillinesses I’d literally just bought. My life is full of regrets.
Despite all of this and despite mine appearing a little more tanned than is perhaps ideal, I can vouch for the deliciousness of the recipe. I cannot vouch for the other recipe included in the Jamie Oliver version, which instructs you on making your own butter. Maybe I’ll save that one up for next year’s dairy blog.
As repeatedly mentioned this is care of Jamie Oliver’s website
7g packet dried yeast
1tsp caster sugar
100ml tepid water
300g strong white flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt (I forgot this)
Vegetable oil for greasing
Pour milk into a bowl and heat gently (microwave or stovetop) until lukewarm. Add yeast, sugar and water and leave to sit for 15 minutes or until frothy.
Meanwhile combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Once yeast is frothy pour mixture into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Using a whisk, stir together from the centre out. After a minute or so you will have the consistency of double cream.
Cover mixture with a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm to prove for 45 minutes, or until little bubbles form on the surface.
Grease four (or however many you have) 10cm egg rings with vegetable oil and place into a large frying pan or iron skillet that has also been lightly greased with vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium-high.
Once hot, dollop ¼C measures (4 tbsp) of the batter into each ring. Cook for 5 minutes, or until little bubbles appear on the surface. Then remove the ring carefully, using tongs, and flip the crumpet over. Cook for a further minute on the other side.
Make sure to regrease the pan and the rings between batches. Continue until all the batter is used and you have twelve crumpets.
I found that, as with pancakes, the cooking time decreased with successive batches due to the heat in the pan.
Serve crumpets warm with your choice of toppings – butter and honey is obviously a classic. If eating them later on then freshen them up with a quick spin in the toaster before serving.