There is no better vehicle for melted butter than the cratered surface of a crumpet. Like the English muffin, crumpets are a popular British treat. Both breakfast breads share many similarities—its distinctive round shape, yeasted bread profile, open crumb that nicely captures oozy jam—but there are marked differences between the two. English muffins are made from rolled, firm dough that is cut into rounds, while crumpets are made of a loose batter cooked over a griddle, like a thick pancake.
Fresh off the pan, crumpets have a delightfully warm lightness that is a cross between freshly-baked bread and pancake. There is no better recipe to try out than the one from Modernist Bread, the encyclopaedic 2,642-page celebration of the art and science of bread. The 5-volume book set launched in November 2017, following the astounding success of the Modernist Cuisine book set.
One of the best things about Modernist Bread recipes is how precise it is. There are plenty of footnotes to explain about the finer details of the process from hand kneading to bulk fermentation. They even calculate the total time, active and inactive, that you’ll spend. For this particular recipe, 1.5 hours of fermentation is required. We were pleased with how the crumpets turned out: bready aroma, with a slightly mochi-like texture and a craggy surface that allowed melted butter to soak through. What else can we say? The crumpets were crumptious.
Serves: 4-6 | Level: Easy | Total time: 2.5 hours
460g bread flour
3g cream of tartar
510g warm water, 100°F (38°C)
5g instant dry yeast
10g fine salt
3g baking soda
- Sift the dry mix of bread flour, sugar and cream of tartar together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Once fully dissolved, whisk the yeast mixture into the dry mix to form a smooth batter. Cover well with plastic wrap.
- Allow the mixture to ferment for 1h (batter will rise, then fall). Whisk in the fine salt, then rest, covered, for 20min.
- Combine the milk and baking soda in a bowl, stirring to dissolve, then gently stir into the batter
- Place a well-oiled 9½/3¾cm in tart ring on a buttered 325°F (165°C) griddle or non-stick pan. Ladle 50g of batter into the ring (about two-thirds full to allow for some expansion).
- Cook for 10-12min, flip over, and cook for 2-3min on the other side.
- Transfer the finished crumpet to a wire rack to cool.
- Always make a test crumpet before you cook the rest of the batter. If you haven’t made crumpets before, make smaller batches to practice.
- A loose batter is preferred over a thick batter. The latter will produce what are called blind crumpets, meaning crumpets without holes.
- If the crumpet doesn’t start to form holes soon after the batter is poured into the ring, thin the batter by adding more lukewarm water (15g at a time). If the batter gets too thin, however, it will run out from under the ring mould. Add more sifted bread flour to thicken the batter if this occurs.
- Classic crumpets are not flipped over when they are cooked in a pan, but we recommend flipping to evenly cook both sides.
- Cooking may take longer than 12-15min, depending on your griddle and the tart ring you are using. Before turning the crumpets over, make sure that the batter has gone from raw to cooked (the colour of the batter changes from a creamy light-yellow paste to a white, set gel)
This recipe was adapted from the book Modernist Bread – an extensive collection of recipes and techniques on all things bread-related.