Salty · sweet

Crumpets…and no they’re not English muffins! (vegan)

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These heavenly holes are no ordinary holes. To clarify, I’m not referring to attractive women (slang term previously used in the UK), but to the bread. However, it is a bread like no other. As we know, bread contains ‘holes’ or pockets of air that form during the cooking process- some holes are bigger than others (and yes that was a reference to ‘The Smiths’).

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Those produced within crumpets are much more airy, giving the crumpet a generously springy texture. The holes allow more liquid to penetrate its depths (all the way down in fact), so expect a puddle of butter and jam on your plate each time you lift it for a bite.

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I have never made a crumpet in my life. In fact, I’ve only ever consumed shop-bought ones. Their texture is just so insanely bubbly that I didn’t even comprehend the possibility of creating them in the heart of my own kitchen. What I didn’t expect was to griddle them, like pancakes, which was a tad tricky since I don’t own ‘crumpet rings’- yes, these are a thing (wtf?!). Fortunately I have a cookie cutter, which appeared to do the job, but you can make them freestyle- they’ll just look a lot worse, but shouldn’t taste so different.

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Nothing beats the smell of freshly toasted crumpets in the morning- hmm, well maybe coffee…and anything ‘bready’ in the oven…ok never mind! But my point is that these smell great. Actually, I don’t even think they emit a strong fragrant smell, but their taste is so uniquely powerful they leave a lasting impression!

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If you’ve not had a crumpet before, each bite is like eating into a delicious, springy sponge full of buttery bubbles.

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A crumpet MUST be toasted or at least heated before being generously spread with fat and the likes of jam and marmite. These holey rounds are so good that they’re not restricted to just breakfast. In fact, they have been used as scone substitutes for afternoon tea, topped with indulgent quantities of clotted cream and preserves. Basically, they can be consumed in any way you so please.

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PS- shop-bought crumpets will contain many more holes than home-made ones, but the taste is not compromised in the least.

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Serving size:

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 15g fast action yeast
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 500ml soya/almond milk warmed
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Rapeseed oil to cook

Method:

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (except the bicarbonate of soda).
  2. Pour in half of the milk and beat with a wooden spoon until a smooth, stretchy, lump-free batter results.
  3. Cover and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  4. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the remaining milk and beat into the dough and continue to mix until a batter with a double cream texture is achieved. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly oil a frying pan and add crumpet rings (or some makeshift ones), pouring 1-2 tbsp batter in each.
  6. Fry for 5 minutes when bubbles should start popping up on the surface and it looks more set.
  7. Flip over and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  8. Serve or leave aside for later.

If serving later, remember to lightly toast and shove on top of them whatever you wish. Hummus or guacamole are pretty good on them actually.

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