Friday, 28 September 2012

Homemade Crumpets

Because Antoinette gave me a Herman sourdough starter recently I've been casting around for things to use the ever growing monster on. The Herman website features cake, cake, cake and cake. I wanted to make bread, so I have started modifying the starter to be a bit less sweet. Once it is a mature starter with plenty of yeasty beasties you can reduce the amount of sugar and just rely on adding flour periodically to feed them (and liquid in the form of milk or water to keep it at batter consistency). It may smell nasty, but it works a treat. You can also keep it in the fridge to send it to sleep for a few days if you are away, or fed up with weekly baking to keep it in manageable quantities (or have run out of friends to pass it on to). The more mature your sourdough the better the flavour it gives to your baked goods and the better it modifies the gluten without any effort on your part (ie it's great for no-knead breads).

Crumpet forming the characteristic bubbles
 Crumpets are one of those things, like golden syrup and powdered mustard, that you cannot buy in France. Fortunately they are not an essential anglophone staple, but they are nice to have from time to time. So I consulted my bread baking bible, Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley, and checked out how you make crumpets.

One cooking and one ready to eat.
 He says crumpets are a ciabatta dough with extra water added to turn the mixture into a batter. The preparations must be done over several days, but I have discovered that the batter keeps well in the fridge, so you can make a couple of crumpets fresh for breakfast several days in a row. This is better than cooking the whole batch at once if you are not going to eat them immediately. Homemade crumpets do not keep well. You can toast day old crumpets to refresh them, but it is very definitely a compromise.

Ingredients:
A sachet of yeast
350 ml water
350 g flour
200 g sourdough starter
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Method:
  1. Dissolve the yeast in 150 ml water.
  2. Add 150 g flour and mix well.
  3. Leave to rise for a day or two (it will bubble madly and expand hugely, then collapse - this is fine and what it is supposed to do).
  4. Combine the sponge dough you have created with the sourdough starter and all the rest of the ingredients in a mixer using the cake beater. The water should be warm (about 34C).
  5. Mix on the slowest speed for 15 minutes.
  6. If the mixture is clearly not pourable add some more water. It should be thicker than pancake batter, and only just pourable.
  7. Leave it to develop bubbles for a couple of hours (or overnight in the fridge).
  8. Heat a griddle on the lowest possible flame and brush it and a 10 cm metal ring with oil.
  9. Place the ring on the griddle and pour in about 1/2 a cup of batter.
  10. Cook until the top has dried right across and has no liquid batter centre - this will take ages. It should have formed the characteristic bubbles which leave holes in the top.
  11. Remove the ring and flip the crumpet for 30 seconds on its top. If you think it is burning on the bottom, if necessary, turn the crumpet early.
  12. Smear with butter and honey and enjoy for breakfast.
Susan

14 comments:

Andres said...

Oh, you have soooo slowed down... conceptually at best. But the pressure is off - you don't 'have' to post anymore.

Tim said...

Yummy crumpets! And with Lyles Golden Syrup [which is available from the Intermarche in Descartes]... and the Mustard Shop in Norwich [part of Colemans] does mail order... so you can get the real superfine [which is slightly greyer... but much hotter... than the Colemans mustard in the tin.]

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Yes We have come across Lyles Golden Syrup in several big supermarkets, it is twice the price it is in the UK though.

Nadege said...

What is golden syrup? corn syrup? Maple?

chm said...

In the old days you were able to buy Lyles Golden Syrup at Smith’s on rue de Rivoli in Paris across the street from the ‘Jeu de Paume’. I haven’t been there for ages so I don’t know if they still have it or if Smith still exist, for that matter.

chm said...

Nadège, as I suspected, golden syrup is some sort of refined molasses, either from sugarcane or beet.

Sheila said...

I've been nurturing a sour dough
starter all summer, strictly
organic flour and water left
out on the kitchen counter.
Now kept in the frig and fed
weekly. Still waiting for the
weather to cool off enough so
I can turn on the oven though.
I'm craving some sourdough bread.

The Beaver said...

@ Nadège

You have the whole explanation here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_syrup

ladyjustine said...

How I love crumpets. Is there anything more appropriate for long evenings?! I think I will have to make some myself. I use a Hairy Bikers' recipe - and they were worth the time it took to make them.

GaynorB said...

I keep meaning to try out more of the savoury and less sweet recipes on the Herman website. This looks a delicious starting point!

Ken Broadhurst said...

In the U.S., crumpets are known as English muffins. You can buy them in supermarkets everywhere. I'm sure that there are many recipes on the internet.

Jean said...

Ah, crumpets, golden syrup, lots of butter, sheer heaven on an autumn afternoon for tea !!

I finally gave up on my Herman starter - I gave the last of it away a while ago, then read somewhere you can keep it in the freezer, which I find hard to believe.

Susan said...

Jean: You should be able to freeze a sourdough starter like Herman for a few months, but not forever.

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