Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sourdough English crumpets

"Would you like a crumpet?"

It almost sounds like a line from a BBC miniseries, or it may remind you (at least it did for me) of Mrs. Judson's famous cheese crumpets in The Great Mouse Detective! I was absolutely delighted to find that making crumpet batter is easier to put together than pancake batter when one has excess sourdough starter to play with! (And don't worry, you can make them even without starter! See below recipe for the link.)

What do they taste like? They're like a cross between a pancake and a nice chewy, pillowy, yeasty flatbread. Definitely more of the savory category by themselves but were superb with sweet toppings too! We've enjoyed them with a fried egg on top, or with lovely marmalade, and of course Michael had to spread one with Nutella.

It was a novel and exciting way to change up our weekend brunch routine, and the best thing is they're so easy to make and easily stockpiled in the freezer for weekday breakfast toasting that I'll never have to worry about what to do with my excess starter! Crumpets for the win!

I just used a relatively large round cookie cutter. You can also use tuna cans with tops and bottoms cleanly removed, or just free-form it.

Sourdough Crumpets (adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini, originally from King Arthur Flour; non-sourdough version here) Makes about 5-6 crumpets.

1 cup (270 grams) 100% hydration sourdough starter (can be from fridge or room temp, doesn't need to be fed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

vegetable oil or butter for greasing pan and rings

Pour/spoon your starter into a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

(NOTE: If you have less than 1 cup of starter, you can supplement the volume with equal weight water and flour, or 2:1 ratio volume of flour to water, up to 1 cup, and let the starter/flour/water mixture ferment 30-60 minutes at room temperature before adding the rest of the ingredients. If you have more than 1 cup starter to use, it is still best to make the crumpets in 1-cup batches, otherwise the baking soda bubbles will fizzle out by the time you get to the end of your batter and you'll have flat crumpets.)

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and grease lightly with vegetable oil or butter. Wipe off excess grease with a paper towel. Also lightly grease crumpet rings or re-purposed tuna cans if using. Place crumpet rings on skillet to preheat.

When everything's preheated, whisk the baking soda into the batter. If your baking soda is clumpy like mine was, use a strainer/sifter when adding so you don't get a bitter pocket of baking soda! You should see the batter foam up as you whisk.

Using a measuring cup or ice cream scoop to ladle 1/4 cup batter into the skillet, in the ring if using. Poke the batter until it reaches the edges of the ring. (If the batter leaks out from under the ring significantly, you can add a little flour to the batter to thicken it up, or increase the flame under the frying pan for the first couple minutes.) Cook for a few minutes or until the bubbles that rise up become set and the crumpet starts to shrink back from the ring. Use tongs to extricate the ring from around the crumpet; this may take some poking to loosen completely. Flip and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes. 

Repeat as necessary, cleaning and re-greasing the rings in between. Since I only had one ring to use, I tag-teamed the cooking--once I removed the ring from Crumpet 1 and flipped it, I immediately set up the ring on the other side of the skillet to start cooking Crumpet 2.

Apparently the best and correct thing to do is to eat them toasted, so this is considered the pre-cooking. If you want to eat immediately, you can cook them longer on the stove so they get good color, or just pop them in your toaster to finish them off. If you want to freeze them, let them cool completely and then freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before bagging to prevent clumping, or alternatively just throw them in a freezer bag and let them clump.


I've submitted this post to Yeastspotting! See this and more great yeast-based recipes from all over the world (I'm in the 1-6-2012 post)!

Cooked with ring on left, no ring on right.

1 comment:

  1. Crumpets always surprise me. I know they're kind of pancakey, but I always think they're sconey, despite having eaten them before.

    I like your crumpet-ring technique! Very efficient.