Just the word sounds like Merrie Olde England, doesn't it? So... jolly, with a splash of class. And a soupçon of serious respect, as is only proper for this classic grilled bread: the first crumpet recipe appeared 240 years ago, in 1769.
So, what's the difference between an English muffin and a crumpet?
Pretty simple. The crumpet is a moister, denser, flatter English muffin, one whose holes extend all the way from center to top surface.
It's these holes that make the crumpet so delightfully decadent: spread a pat of soft butter on a hot crumpet, and it disappears. Spread jam, and it disappears, all save a telltale swipe of color.
Hey, where did it all go?
Right into the center, where it melds with the crumpet's interior to make one seriously “juicy” little bun.
See what I mean by the holes? Imagine popping these in the toaster, and spreading with butter. Maybe a dollop of apricot jam. Be still, my heart!
It took me awhile to come up with this recipe. The flour/liquid ratio, and the mix of leavening (yeast and baking powder) have to be right on for the holes to appear.
Here are some of my attempts along the way. Aren't you glad we make all these mistakes so you don't have to?
Finally, though, with the help of my long-time friend and mentor, test kitchen director Sue Gray, we worked out the details (in which the devil, in this case, definitely lives).
And here's the recipe: plenty of details, no devils! Enjoy.
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 look like this: 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. This is what you'll probably scoop out initially.
Dump a bit out, to make the quantity look about like this – that's the perfect amount.
Pour the batter into the greased rings. You can see, off to the right, I've made some test crumpets. 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.
Ah, here we are, all lined up like little soldiers.
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.
This crumpet isn't ready to turn yet. It's got just a few open bubbles, and still looks very wet on top. I haven't even removed its ring yet, so it's got a ways to go.
This one is ready. See the dry edges, and more bubbles?
Cook for another 5 minutes or so, to completely cook the inside, and to brown the top a bit.
REAL crumpets don't have brown tops; they're cooked on one side only. But I like the look of a lightly browned crumpet, so what the heck. Trust me, the Crumpet Patrol won't yank your license if you give them a bit of color.
...then jam. Apricot, my favorite.
There's no need to do so, but you can split the crumpets if you like, and toast the halves separately. Look at all those lovely holes!
On the left, a store-bought crumpet. On the right, homemade. I'll put my homemade crumpets up against the supermarket variety any day.
On the left, a crumpet made without an English muffin ring. On the right, with the ring. Still plenty delicious, just not as gorgeous.
One more shot - butter melting into the holes. This is what it's all about, baby!
Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Crumpets.
Buy vs. Bake
Buy: Sharrock's crumpets, 27¢/ounce
Bake at home: Crumpets, 4¢/ounce