I lurrrve crumpets. Crumpets are something of a recurring leitmotif for us here at the Lab - more often than not smothered in butter and treacle, accompanied by a big glass of chocolate soymilk, in bed on a Saturday morning with a hilariously trashy movie or two (see below). Usually we just buy crumpets at the supermarket, as they're quite fiddly and take a long time to prepare, and I have other things to do (see again, trashy movies). But sometimes - like today - I just get the urge to nest, and then I make crumpets.
I took this recipe from The Foppish Baker years ago and have modified it to my own tastes. This quantity makes around a dozen crumpets. Yum.
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
Dissolve the sugar in the water and whisk in the yeast, and give it 5 minutes or so to foam up. Sift together the flour and tartaric acid, and mix in the yeast mix. It'll be really thick. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it somewhere warm to rise for an hour.
Mix in the salt and beat it hard (teeheehee) for a minute or two, cover it up and let it rest for another half an hour.
Dissolve the sodium bicarbonate in the milk and mix that in too, and you're ready to go.
OK, the next bit is a wee bit tricky but after some trial and error this is the best way I've found to do it. Heat up a heavy cast-iron frying pan with some peanut oil 'til it's really hot, then wipe out all the oil with paper towel and turn the heat right down. You'll have to repeat this process after every few crumpets - it's fiddly, but worth it. Use an egg ring and pour in around 1/4 cup of the mix. It should start to bubble up almost straight away and then the bubbles pop, giving it that amazing crumpet texture. If you don't get bubbles the mixture's too thick; add lukewarm water a tiny bit at a time.
When it looks like they're drying out on top (it's hard to explain, but you'll totally see what I mean) they're cooked, let them cool on a paper towel or a rack. When they're cold they're ready to be toasted like "normal"crumpets, but they'll taste SO much better. Honestly, they're amazing. I recommend treacle or golden syrup, or super crunchy peanut butter, and off course lashings of butter. Mmmm, tasty tasty cholesterol!
So, I made a batch today, and we'll have them freshly toasted for breakfast tomorrow. Can't wait....