Butter’s best friend: crumpets

Crumpet.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dump a bit out, to make the quantity look about like this – that’s the perfect amount.

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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.

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Ah, here we are, all lined up like little soldiers.

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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.

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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.

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This one is ready. See the dry edges, and more bubbles?

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Ready, set…

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Turn!

Cook for another 5 minutes or so, to completely cook the inside, and to brown the top a bit.

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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.

First butter…

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…then jam. Apricot, my favorite.

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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!


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On the left, a store-bought crumpet. On the right, homemade. I’ll put my homemade crumpets up against the supermarket variety any day.

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On the left, a crumpet made without an English muffin ring. On the right, with the ring. Still plenty delicious, just not as  gorgeous.

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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

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Judy Gardner

    I thought I followed the recipe to the T. However, the batter/dough was very stretchy. I couldn’t actually pour the batter. I beat in my stand mixer for 2 minutes. Should I cut down on this.

    I actually ended up with some pretty decent English muffins, but really wanted the crumpets.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Judy, that’s an excellent question! It sounds like your batter may have had a bit too much flour in it. Were you measuring your ingredients using cups, by any chance? We ask just because we’ve found that it’s very common for folks who measure their flour by volume to get too much flour in each cup, resulting in a batter that is thick and has trouble rising or forming bubbles. If you have access to a kitchen scale that measures in grams, that’s your best option for getting really accurate measurements. If that’s not an option, we recommend visiting our How to measure flour guide, which has a video as well as step-by-step instructions for getting the best measurements out of your measuring cups. Hopefully, that should help you get those beautiful crumpets you’ve been dreaming of. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Dorothy! This isn’t something we’ve tested but you’re welcome to try! They may not brown as much since it’ll be harder to have a really hot, evenly heated surface for the crumpets to cook on, so it could take some experimentation. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Amy

    I have tried this recipe several times and they are always doughy in the middle. I’ve tried other recipes too (most call for baking soda! I wonder why ya’ll went with powder?) I wish I could have an expert crumpet baker over my shoulder to tell me what I’m doing wrong! I’ve tried low heat, high heat, leaving them on longer, leaving them on less — I cannot get a freaking non-doughy crumpet. I’m in Denver, would the altitude affect the recipe in this manner? Sigh.

    I’m doomed to store-bought.

    Sad Amy.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Let’s see if we can make a happy Amy! This recipe calls for baking powder because there’s nothing acidic in the recipe. (Our sourdough version for crumpets does, however, call for baking soda because the starter is acidic.) As for the doughy center, it’s probably due in-part to your elevation. We have a full High-Altitude Baking Guide on our website to help with the adjustments you might want to make. Try making a thinner batter; this will cook faster on your griddle. You can also consider finishing your crumpets in the oven if you find that they’re getting too brown but still need more time to cook. A last ditch effort? Put your crumpets in the toaster! Really, this helps re-warm crumpets after they’ve cooled and can even help fix a doughy center. Kye@KAF

  3. Steve

    Just made my 4th batch still coming out amazing but I do have a question although I know they freeze very well how long will they keep in the refrigerator?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Crumpets can be somewhat addicting, it’s true! The crumpets will keep in an airtight container or zip lock bag for 2-3 days at room temperature, or for 3-5 in the fridge. Any longer than that, you should freeze them. You can take them out individually as you’d like to enjoy them and put them right into the toaster, frozen. They’ll warm right up and be almost as good as when they came right out of the oven. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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