Saturday, January 16, 2010
Of all the things I ate in Australia, two stuck with me.
One was flat white coffee.
The other was crumpets.
I had heard of them before. You know, like "tea and crumpets."
But I had no idea what they were. And I had never seen them until we were in the bread section of Woolworths, an Australian grocery store chain.
When I got back to our rental home, I opened up the pack, popped one in the toaster oven, and when it was toasted, added a little butter.
One bite and I was hooked.
A cross between an English muffin and a pancake, crumpets are a little moist, a little dense, and a little springy. They have a nice crunch from the toasted edges and some of the toothiness you expect from an English muffin. Because they are sprinkled with holes that tunnel all the way to the bottom of the crumpet, butter, jam, or anything else you slather them with travel down the crevices and infuse their flavor throughout the crumpet.
In other words, crumpets are completely satisfying.
I found a crumpet recipe on the King Arthur flour blog. This is a great reference with lots of instructional pictures.
In my first try, they looked like crumpets, with nice bubbly holes and light browned, but they were a little a gummy inside. I thought maybe I didn't cook them long enough, but after doubling the time, they were still gummy.
Ah. I forgot to put the baking powder in.
Darn distracting Bridezilla marathon.
I tried again, this time with the baking powder, and I got good results. I should warn you that it takes a few tries to make sure the crumpets cook through the whole way. A medium to medium-low heat and cooking the crumpets for 10 minutes on one side and then a few minutes on the other side should do the trick.
Now I know I can always get my crumpet fix.
be sure to go to the recipe on the King Arthur Flour blog to see all the tutorial pics
This batter comes together in a snap. Put the following in the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
The mixture will be a thick batter, perhaps a bit thicker than pancake batter, but certainly not anything you could knead or shape.
Cover the bowl, and let the batter rise till it’s expanded and bubbly, about 1 hour.
Towards the end of the rising time, heat a lightly greased griddle or frying pan to about 325°F, cooler than you’d cook pancakes. Get out your English muffin rings, grease them well, and place them in the pan or on the griddle.
Can you make these without rings? Sure. You can collect used, washed tuna cans, from which you’ve cut both top and bottom lids. Or, if you love English muffins and crumpets, you can bite the bullet and invest in real English muffin rings, which certainly make your job easier.
Speaking of making your job easier… A level muffin scoop holds 1/4 cup. You want to scoop out a scant 1/4 cup – about 1 3/4 ounces, or 50g.
Pour the batter into the greased rings. It’s always a good idea, when making English muffins or crumpets, to do a couple of test ones first, to see if the griddle temperature is right.
After about 4 or 5 minutes, lift the rings off the muffins. They’ll be set enough to hold their shape. If necessary, wipe the rings clean, and re-grease.
Don't turn the muffin over until it's dry on the edges and virtually dry on top with lots of bubbles. This may take another 4-5 or minutes, or 10 minutes total from the time you put them on the griddle.
Turn and cook for another few minutes or until the top is lightly browned.