Sourdough Crumpets

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Sourdough Crumpets

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Published prior to 2008

Do you have a long-neglected starter you'd like to resurrect? If you're fortunate enough to have some starter already, you may find in September that you haven't gotten around to using it for more weeks than you'd care to account for. Since it's been sitting there alone, unloved and unfed for so long, it may be looking pretty bleak with a lot of ominous dark liquid on the surface. If you're like me, you probably hoped you'd get around to using it to prevent it from getting to this sorry state, or you certainly would have made a conscious effort to freeze or dry it. But, not to worry. Your starter is probably just fine, though a bit groggy.

The absolutely easiest and fastest (it'll make a mix look like slow motion) thing to do with a groggy starter to see if it's suffering simply from neglect is to make crumpets. Crumpets sound like something you have in England in the afternoon with tea, which they are. But because they are actually a very simple and basic kind of pancake, they're a perfect thing to make with a sourdough starter for breakfast.

Take your starter out of the refrigerator, wrestle the top off your jar and stir all that evil looking liquid back into the starter until it's smooth. For each two people that you'll be feeding, pour 1 cup of starter into a ceramic or glass mixing bowl. Pour the remainder of the starter into another mixing bowl so you can give its container a good washing. Feed the starter in the second bowl equal parts of flour and water, cover it with plastic wrap and watch for tiny tell-tale bubbles to appear on the surface. When you see them, let the starter revive for at least 12 hours before you put it back in the fridge.

To the cup of starter you have in your other bowl, sprinkle over the surface 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Whisk these in thoroughly and watch what happens. Voom! Chemistry at work producing millions of carbon dioxide bubbles to leaven these pancakes.

If you have crumpet rings (about 1 inch high and 4 inches in diameter -- clean tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed will work fine, or you can order some proper rings from us), grease them lightly and place them on a lightly greased spider or skillet. Fill the rings with about 1/4 inch of batter and cook it over low heat until the tops are set and full of holes. Remove the rings and flip the crumpets over for a minute or two.

After they've finished cooking in the skillet, stockpile them and then pop them in the toaster to brown and crisp. Serve them with butter and whatever jam you've put up this season. You can also cool them, bag them, and freeze them to bring out and toast later.

If you don't have rings or cans, you can dispense with the ring idea altogether and cook the batter over slightly higher heat just the way you would pancakes. The texture will be chewier than traditional pancakes and, surprisingly enough, the flavor will not be not overly sour since the baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the starter. The beauty of these pancakes is that they contain no eggs or fat, so you don't have to feel guilty about eating them with a touch of butter and maple syrup.

Taking the pancake idea one step further, the flavor of these crumpets or pancakes, while quite delicious with butter, syrup or jam, is equally good with savory additions. Try adding a half cup each of grated zucchini, cheese, apple, chives or onion, or a combination of your own, and serve them with lunch or dinner.

Tip: Need some sourdough starter to get started? See our step-by-step directions for creating your own sourdough starter from scratch. Or, if you’re looking for a head-start, check out our classic fresh sourdough starter, a simpler path to fresh, ready-to-use sourdough starter.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 9, September 1991 issue.


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  • star rating 04/15/2015
  • khnielsen from KAF Community
  • I didn't have the rings, so I used my cookie scooper. It worked GREAT! Beautiful round crumpets. They were just a wee bit smaller than I wanted so I just added a little more into the center and it spread out to an almost perfect circle. Regarding the salt issue I've read about in the reviews; did anyone consider that using a salted butter on top of the salt added to the recipe might cause the over-saltiness? I experienced no issue with the baking soda taste. I think that all sourdough starters are NOT created equal; mine is a little runny so I didn't need to add any water. I would heartily suggest trying the crumpets with and without salted butter and investing in a medium size cookie scooper. It made the process so fast, easy, and attractive.

    "Not all sourdough starters are created equal," we could not have said it better ourselves! Some people have thick, goopy starters while others are more liquidy and runny. This variation is the cause of the large range of flour and water that may need to be adjusted in a recipe. It sounds like you've got the right idea! Happy sourdough baking! Kye@KAF

  • star rating 03/02/2015
  • Elona from Oklahoma City, OK
  • Made these, they turned out beautifully light with a great holey texture. The problem was they were too salty for my taste. Wondering if the salt could be omitted successfully? I will try this recipe again and greatly reduce or omit the salt to see if it will work for me as I hate throwing out excess starter.
    Elona, the salt does play a critical role in this recipe as it slows down the fermenting action of the wild yeast and also interacts with the baking soda. However, you can give it a whirl using 1/4 teaspoon of salt instead and see what happens. The crumpets may not rise as much and the sourdough might not get as bubbly and vigorous as before, but the taste might be just what you are looking for. This is a great way to use up any unfed starter you have without throwing it away--what's to lose?! Happy sourdough baking! --Kye@KAF
  • star rating 02/24/2015
  • chacha from Jakarta
  • I guess the amount of baking soda should be reduced, too bitter for my palate. Somehow the saltiness and the sweetness clash each other, next time I'll reduce the salt and add a bit more sugar. However, I do really love the fragrance, reminds me of my homeland's "pukis"
  • star rating 01/28/2015
  • Lauren from Philadelphia
  • This was a total fail. I've been working very successfully with sourdough for 12 years... I make great breads, pancakes, waffles. But with this attempt at crumpets, not only did the batter stick like cement to the greased rings and griddle, but it was dense, chewy and tasted (as another reviewer mentioned) like baking soda. And there were none of the characteristic holes. I didn't have a long-ignored starter, so I took the discard from my (fairly firm) active starter and fed it with enough water and flour to make a pancake batter-consistency starter. I let that sit for 36 hours until it was starting to separate. Then I mixed in the salt, soda and sugar--with a little additional water to bring it back to pancake batter consistency again. Is it possible that the recipe only works with neglected (i.e. starving) starter? Maybe the famished state of the starter reacts to the sugar and baking soda in a way that a more active starter doesn't?
    This frustration sounds like the perfect opportunity to call our Baker's Hotline so we can problem solve together. We're at 855-371-2253 from 8 Am to 9 PM weekdays and from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekends. Irene@KAF
  • star rating 01/12/2015
  • Bob from Glendale, CA
  • My family loves these! So easy and such a great use of extra starter.
  • star rating 01/04/2015
  • Karen from Bay Area, CA
  • Mine came out tasting gummy, the same sensation I had when I once (stupidly) made a pancake recipe that didn't have eggs in it. Some had very crumpety looking holes, others had lots of tiny bubbles that never turned to holes. I'm going to try your traditional crumpet recipe to see if I have better luck.
    I'm sorry this recipe did not meet your expectations. For help troubleshooting this or any recipe, please give our Baker's Hotline a call at 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 05/04/2014
  • Tina from Greenwood, IN
  • Thanks for this recipe. Great way to use up discarded sourdough starter! I made them this morning. I have 100% einkorn starter at 100% hydration. I did have to add a bit of water to get it to pancake batter consistency. Hubby ate seconds (after a big breakfast of eggs, bacon and the crumpets). Plus have more to freeze for breakfast later this week! This is a keeper!
  • star rating 04/12/2014
  • Lynn from Alabama
  • These were great! I made them with fresh starter, and didn't have even a hint of baking soda taste. They didn't have as many holes as I would have liked, so either they needed more water or an older starter, but they were better than any crumpets I have bought. Hi Lynn- I'm glad you enjoyed these homemade crumpets so much. I think you are right on track with making your dough a little wetter to give you some extra holes in there too. Let us know how it work when you give it a try! Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF
  • star rating 03/29/2014
  • trav45 from Beijing, China
  • Fab, fab, fab! And super easy! Whoever said they taste like baking soda must have read the recipe wrong. Nice little holes (though sometimes you need to help that along a bit) and (more importantly!) that spongy, crumpet texture! I live in China and have made these for a couple British friends. Not only were they in raptures, they said they were exactly what a crumpet should be.
  • star rating 01/12/2014
  • Chantelle from Denmark
  • Crumpets are sooo easy and tasty! Who knew?! I actually think I like them better than pancakes. I'm currently in the process of making sourdough starter. 'Henry' is very bubbly these days. I ended up making a double batch since I had wisely saved my discard starter from the previous night. I used a bit less salt in the second batch. I tried the tuna can, and it worked ok (kind of hard to get out to flip) but they were equally good (and much easier to flip) free-from, more like thick pancakes in size/shape.
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