You'll find traditional crumpets in most British homes, usually alongside a cup of tea, but they aren't so common outside of the U.K. These treats are similar to English muffins but with more of the chewy texture of a pancake. Like most traditional foods, crumpets are made from simple ingredients and can be made at home. Serve them warm, slathered with butter, jam or honey.
To make crumpet batter, you'll need bread flour, which the Brits call "strong flour." This type of flour contains more gluten, which makes the resulting crumpets chewy. Mix it with all-purpose flour for softer crumpets. You'll also need yeast, milk, water, salt and sugar; warm your liquids slightly to activate the yeast. Most importantly, you need to add a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. Baking soda works best because it creates the most bubbles in the yeast-based batter, which you want in your final product. It's those nooks and crannies that make the crumpets so delicious.
Mix the yeast, flour, water, milk, salt and sugar for at least two minutes to form the batter. After combining the ingredients, wait at least 90 minutes for the batter to expand and bubble up before you add the leavening agents. Cover the batter with a damp towel during this time so it doesn't dry out. Once you stir in the leavening agents, dissolved in warm water, allow the batter to rest for another 30 minutes until it develops plenty of air bubbles. The resulting mixture should have the consistency of thick pancake batter.
Crumpets are similar to English muffins because they are cooked on a griddle or in a fry pan, but their texture is a denser. Because the batter for crumpets is runny, it won't keep its shape naturally on the griddle. Use English muffin rings or empty metal cans, with the top and bottom removed, so the crumpet batter forms perfectly rounded crumpets. Grease the rings with butter before use so you can easily remove the crumpets as they cook. Add a dab of butter or oil to the grill to keep the crumpets from sticking to it while they cook.
Don't pour the batter so thick the crumpets won't cook through. Add 1/2 inch of batter to each ring once the griddle is hot. Cook the crumpets for seven to 10 minutes over medium-low heat or around 325 degrees Fahrenheit on an electric griddle. You'll know that they are ready to flip when the tops of the crumpets are bubbly and dry. Cook the other side for three to five minutes. Gently remove the rings, handling them with tongs, before flipping the crumpets.
Some people only cook crumpets on one side without flipping them. You can also toast them with the uncooked side up to get the crumpet crispy before serving. Crumpets are best served hot off the griddle but you can also freeze them for up to one month. Serve them hot with butter, jam, honey or clotted cream.