Lockdown Life Skills – Practically Perfect Crumpets

We are now in week 10 of lock down in Sydney, we’re hitting massive vaccination targets but we don’t seem to be any closer to the end of this thing. I feel like I’ve gone through most of the seven stages of grief over these ten weeks – denial, anger, depression, bargaining and finally to some kind of grudging acceptance. I haven’t quite got to the hope part yet but perhaps this will come in week 18 – if we make it that far.

I’ve been struggling with motivation to get anything of substance done. I made plans to spring clean my house early but it was like – Meh -nobody’s coming over anyway. The first few weeks of lockdown, there was the Euros and Master Chef, which were followed by the Olympics which gave me a much needed distraction from house cleaning . Now I feel like the only thing keeping me sane is Australian Survivor and the English Premier League. Reality TV and spectator sports, such is life in lock down. But, no matter how bad it gets, there are always crumpets and perfecting the practically perfect crumpet is quite distracting.

I tried making crumpets a few years and went to great trouble to source the proper crumpet rings but the final result was quite underwhelming and I gave up. I was inspired to give them another go when British crumpet manufacturers Warburtons posted their famous crumpet recipe online. My first attempt was a bit patchy but I just ate the substandard ones hot from the pan and they were pretty delicious. There’s nothing like an endless lockdown to motivate you, so I tried again. The trickiest thing about making crumpets is getting the heat right to cook them. Too low and the bubbles won’t form, too high and you’ll have crumpets with burnt bottoms. I followed the basic Warburtons recipe and I’ve added my own technical flourishes which are missing from the original recipe and results in a superior product. This recipe makes about 6 crumpets but I usually double it because the crumpets keep well in the fridge for up to five days. You can also freeze them, something I haven’t needed to do because even with a double batch they are all eaten after a few days.

Warburtons Crumpets

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried yeast
  • 200mls of warm water
  • 2 extra tablespoons warm water
  • Butter (melted) for greasing pan and *crumpet rings (If you haven’t got crumpet rings use large scone cutter)

  1. Add flour, salt and warm water to a medium bowl and whisk for about 2-5 minutes or until arm aches and batter is smooth and silky. (The whisking is important to develop the gluten)
  2. Mix sugar, yeast and baking powder with two tablespoons of warm water and add mixture to flour mix. Whisk for about 30 seconds until yeast mix is well incorporated.
  3. Place glad wrap or wax seal over bowl and place in a warm spot for about 30 minutes until mixture is nice and frothy.
  4. Heat a large non stick skillet to medium/ medium high heat. Grease crumpet rings and skillet with butter. (Butter should sizzle a little on pan) Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each ring about 1 cm thick.
  5. Allow crumpets to cook for about 90 seconds on medium/ medium high heat. Bubbles should start to form around the edges. Turn the heat down to low medium and let them cook for another couple of minutes. They should bubble further into the centre. Once the bottoms are nice and brown flip the crumpet over and let the top brown and crumpet cook completely. This is the trickiest part of making crumpets, you need to have the pan hot enough so the batter bubbles but not too hot so the bottom of the crumpet burns before it is cooked. It is a bit of trial and error.
  6. Serve immediately or toast later with lashings of butter and honey or jam.

*Crumpet rings are about 9cm X 2.5cm You can make do with any heat proof ring

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