Classic Crumpets

published Aug 9, 2021
Crumpets

Crumpets are about as British (and delicious!) as it gets.

Makes10 to 12 crumpets

Prep10 minutes

Cook30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Two toasted crumpets with melted butter on a plate.
Credit: Tara Holland
Crumpets

Crumpets are about as British as it gets. (I would dare to say as British as Buckingham Palace or fish ‘n’ chips.) And they’ve been a favorite of mine and part of my diet since I was growing up in the United Kingdom.

It is said that the crumpet, in some form or other, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, and trust me: If you haven’t yet tried one toasted and slathered with butter, you’ll see why it’s earned that longevity!

Traditionally, crumpets were served with afternoon tea, but quickly turned into a quick and easy on-the-go breakfast in many households. In the U.K, they’re available in every supermarket and about as common there as a bagel is to New York City. You do see them occasionally in the U.S., usually in British or Irish grocery shops, and also at Trader Joe’s.

There are many variations of recipes. Some call for 100 percent milk and no water, or vice versa; others use either only bread flour or just all-purpose. For this recipe, I did a mix of milk and water (the water evaporates to create a crisp base when cooking) and a combination of flours. Bread flour creates a slight chew, and all-purpose flour brings some lightness. Baking soda helps to create bubbles (an essential crumpet feature), fast-tracked by the addition of apple cider vinegar.

I spent two days perfecting this recipe, conferring with my friend and fellow ex-pat Brit and culinary grad, Biba Clark, showing her my 12 (!) attempts on FaceTime and I feel this dump method (with the help of my apple cider vinegar trick) is the easiest and best way to go for home cooks.

What to Spread on Top of a Crumpet

Some purists might say just a generous pat of unsalted or (I say!) salted butter is all you need, but others like to to add a little something more, like honey, jelly (strawberry jam gets my vote), or even orange marmalade. My ultimate favorite: Salted butter with a thin spread of Marmite (don’t knock the British spread until you’ve tried it on a toasted buttered crumpet!). Finally, another delicious suggestion is to toast the crumpet on both sides, sprinkle the top generously with shredded Cheddar cheese and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, then melt under a hot broiler until golden and bubbly. This makes an awesome and satisfying late-night snack when returning slightly tipsy from the pub.

Credit: Tara Holland
Crumpets

Don’t Confuse Crumpets with English Muffins

Ironically English muffins only really became a big thing in the U.K., thanks to the McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches. Some might say they are more American than English. The main difference between the two is the texture. Although English muffins are known for nooks and crannies that allow butter to melt and ooze into the cracks, crumpets have a distinct holey interior and a lighter, more spongy texture. Also, English muffins are made from yeasted dough and crumpets are made from a yeasted batter, which explains the difference in textures.

What You Can Use If You Don’t Have Any Crumpet Rings

Crumpet or pancake rings are relatively cheap and readily available to buy online or in cookware shops. Nonstick rings are much easier to work with. However, if you are in a bind, you could use the following, as long as they are around 3 inches wide and 1 inch tall:

  • Unfluted metal or silicone pastry cutters
  • Empty and very clean pet food or tuna cans with the bottom removed using a can opener. This only works if the base of the can does not have a ridge and you can use a can opener on the bottom edge.
  • Plating rings

Crumpets

Crumpets are about as British (and delicious!) as it gets.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes 10 to 12 crumpets

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    bread flour

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    dry active yeast

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole milk

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    canola or vegetable oil

  • 10 to 12 tablespoons

    butter, for serving

  • Topping options: Jam, honey or Marmite

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Heat 1 1/4 cups whole milk and 3/4 cup of the water in a small saucepan over medium heat until tepid to the touch (around 110ºF), about 1 1/2 minutes. Keep a close eye — overheating the mixture can kill the yeast.

  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the warmed milk and water mixture. Whisk, starting from the edge of the well, until a batter has formed to a consistency that is slightly thicker than heavy cream. Add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons water, and whisk to combine.

  4. Run a clean damp dishcloth under hot running water, then wring it out. Cover the bowl with the wet towel and let sit in a warm place until the mixture has risen significantly (at least doubled in size) and has a bubbly, foamy surface, about 1 hour.

  5. Give the mixture a quick stir with a large spoon. Place 1 tablespoon canola oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush dipped in the oil, lightly grease a griddle or large nonstick skillet, then wipe off any excess with a paper towel. Place the griddle over medium heat. Liberally grease 4 English muffin, pancake, or all-purpose baking rings if they are metal and not nonstick (the rings should be 3 to 3 1/2-inches diameter and about 1-inch tall). Place the rings on the griddle to heat for about 1 minute.

  6. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into each ring. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook slowly until bubbles form and pop around the edge to create small holes. After 6 to 7 minutes, the center bubbles should pop and the crumpets will pull away easily from the ring (the surface will still be a little tacky). Using tongs, carefully remove the rings. Using a spatula, flip the crumpets and until lightly golden in spots, about 1 minute more.

  7. Transfer to a cooling rack. Once rings are cool enough to handle, repeat the process for 2 more batches, greasing the rings before each batch.

  8. When ready to serve, toast the crumpets in a toaster or toaster oven until crisp and a deeper golden-brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can toast the crumpets under a broiler for about 2 minutes per side.) Spread with 1 tablespoon of butter and a topping of your choice, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Cooking tips: If using metal rings, when removing with tongs, transfer to a bowl of iced water to cool rings quickly in between batches, remembering to dry and re-grease before the next batch. You do not need to grease nonstick rings.

Storage: Crumpets are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can be toasted from frozen with the frozen function on a toaster.