Cooler weather and crumpets go hand-in-hand. Have made the Gary Rhodes version before, but was attracted to the idea of using an additional raising agent in the recipe for Perfect Crumpets. Settled on an adaption of the Australian Gourmet Traveller batch by substituting left over sourdough for commercial yeast, water for milk, and holding back the butter until the last mix.
Tip 500g bread flour and 2 teaspoons sugar into a large bowl, scoop a well in the centre. Measure 800ml spring water and pour into your container where there’s about 20g of left over starter. Stir to dissolve the leaven and any little smears or swipes clinging to the inside of the container, then empty into the flour well in the large bowl. Mix to a smooth batter. Cover and refrigerate for 36 hours. Check the batter after 24 hours, give the mixture a vigourous stir if water has separated and risen to the top.
Remove batter from fridge about 2 hours before you plan to cook the crumpets so that the batter can reach room temperature.
Melt 40g of butter and leave to cool about 45 minutes before you plan to cook the crumpets.
About 30 minutes before you plan to cook the crumpets, dissolve 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in 50ml warm water. Stir into the batter with the cooled, melted butter, then leave to stand for a final 30 minutes.
Warm a frying pan and buttered, ten centimetre crumpet rings over medium-low heat. Add about a quarter of a teaspoon of butter to each ring, wait for the butter to foam, then as the sizzling subsides, half-fill each ring with batter. Cook until small holes form on top of the crumpet, and the mixture sets in the middle. If the pan is too hot, the crumpet bottoms will burn while the centres will still be raw. If the pan is too cool, all the bubbles will escape before the batter sets and you’ll be left with flattened pancakes. If you are unsure or impatient, you can flip the crumpets and toast both sides in the pan. However, patience will be rewarded with a crisp base, soft top, and well-risen crumpets. Serve with butter and jam or vegemite.