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Crumpets and Muffins

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ananda's picture
ananda

Crumpets and Muffins

A while ago Debra Wink asked for information on English Muffins.

I attach details below, mostly from a Practical Class with my Foundation Degree students from last academic year.

The attached video is from very early days, and was prepared entirely by the students.   You can hear me advising other students in the background; that's how I know I wasn't directly involved.

Recipe specifications are attached [many thanks to my baking mentor and tutor during my time studying for my bakery qualifications for letting me have a commercial recipe specification to use], and I will dig out some photos and attach manufacturing instructions below.

Here goes:

 

CRUMPETS

 

Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grammes]

Strong Flour

100

500

Salt

2

10

Yeast

6

30

Water

110

550

TOTAL

218

1090

Bicarbonate of Soda

0.3

1.5

Cold Water

28

140

TOTAL

246.3

1231.5

 

Yields 20

Set plate to Mk4. and pre-heat.   The temperature of the hot-plate should be just below 200*C

 

Method:

 

  • Sieve together the flour and salt.
  • Dissolve the yeast in tempered water [30°C]
  • Combine these 2 in a mixer and beat on first speed for 2 minutes to form a batter
  • Beat on second speed for 6 minutes
  • Cover the batter and keep warm for 1 hour bulk fermentation
  • Dissolve the bicarb in the cold water and mix this solution well through the batter.
  • Use immediately, piping the mix into lightly-greased hoops, ready-placed onto the prepared griddle surface.   Hot-plate should be clean and un-greased

 

English Muffins

 

Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grammes]

1. Sponge

 

 

Strong Flour

50

750

Water

30

450

Yeast

0.5

7.5

TOTAL

80.5

1207.5

2. Final Dough

 

 

Sponge

80.5

1207.5

Strong Flour

50

750

Salt

2

30

Milk Powder

8

120

Yeast

8

120

Butter

10

150

Water

30

450

TOTAL

188.5

2827.5

makes 40 muffins @ 65g

This is based on Rose Levy Barenbaum's recipe if I'm not mistaken; one of my Foundation Degree students was very keen to learn how to make these, so we did the developmental work together, and he had a go at making them; quite successfully I believe.

We made the sponge on an overnight basis.   This would mean the sponge would be cool, so final dough water would need to be tempered accordingly to achieve a DDT of around 30*C.   I would refer you to Walter T. Banfield's text "Manna; A Comprehensive Treatise on Bread Manufacture." London: Maclaren. 1947, which states one essential to success as warming the flour.   Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery has some useful comments made over the years on English muffins too.

It is strange how we ended up basing our recipe on the work of a modern day American author, rather than on the works discussed above.   I am pretty sure it is because we wanted to use a pre-ferment to make these, and all the recipes I came across used bulk fermentation.   From my own studying time 6 years ago, working for my bakery quals, we definitely made these with a ferment.   Given that my FdA students were working on complex fermentation methods, I specifically asked for English Muffins made using an Overnight sponge.   this is what we came up with.

The dough should be soft, although hydration in the formula does not look alarmingly high.   But, given you have plate-work, be wary of the dough being too soft; if this is the case, you will end up with crumpets, as shown in the first recipe.   These are made from a batter which is piped onto the griddle: see video.

It is just a case of combining the sponge with all other ingredients and mixing to form a soft, warmish, and well-developed dough.   I am aware American flours generally have a higher level of hydration, but please note the flour I used in this formula is strong, and one of the best commercial specs available over here.   It is milled from 100% Strong Canadian Wheat.

Debra Wink indicated wanting to experiment with Wholegrain.   I am sure this would work well, although I have only ever come across these goods made with all-white flour.   The essence of the product is to have a soft and chewy "breadcake" like texture, where the dough rises substantially on the plate thanks to conduction.   That is why we wanted to use a pre-ferment rather than a bulk-fermented straight dough.   So, wholegrain flour: yes with the following provisos:   the wholemeal would need to be strong, and finely milled.   A brown flour, say of 85% extract would be excellent.   Do not go above 50% brown flour in the flour "grist".   The water content will need to be adjusted upwards to take account of extra absorption from the bran.   Obviously, the formula can be adapted to use milk rather than the water/milk powder combination.

The dough should have a resting time of upto 30 minutes, then scale and divide, and mould each piece round.   Dust the bench with rice cones, flatten slightly and rest the dough pieces on the rice dust, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour.   Cook in batches on the griddle; they should take about 10 minutes, being flipped over half way through cooking.   The gritty rice cones on the outside of the muffin are a wonderful contrast to the soft and chewy centre.   The dough should rise slowly on the griddle as the muffin cooks; that was why we sought to use a pre-ferment in the formula.

 

Here's the video:

 

Best wishes

Andy

 

Comments

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I'm English through and through, for seventy years.


Don't  get  me going about this!


 

ananda's picture
ananda

There is nothing contraversial in my original post: I really hope I have not caused offence, and am at a loss to see how Mary.


Better get my apology in anyway,so;


Sorry!


Andy

korish's picture
korish

I wonder If I could bake them In my Wood fire oven where I bake my breads.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Korish,


Thanks for your question.   My answer is as follows:


The only decent craft bakers in our region do a breakfast muffin to serve in their wonderful cafe.   They bake their muffins in rings on trays, and they flip them halfway through baking.   They use Italian deck ovens.   The finished product is not quite like a griddled muffin, but they are very good.   This region in the North of England is famed for its "Stottie Cake", and really a muffin baked this way is like a minature version of the stottie!


Best wishes


Andy

korish's picture
korish

Thanks for the info it sounds interesting.

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

Ananda,  wonderful looking crumpets and muffins.  I will save and try your recipe in the future.  Presently I am in phase 1 of the South Beach Diet so I can't eat bread or the like for 2 weeks.  


 


Bix

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

Ananda,  wonderful looking crumpets and muffins.  I will save and try your recipe in the future.  Presently I am in phase 1 of the South Beach Diet so I can't eat bread or the like for 2 weeks.  


 


Bix

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

"It is strange how we ended up basing our recipe on the work of a modern day American author, rather than on the works discussed above."


It's not strange at all, 'English Muffins' are only known in America, not in Britain.


And Stotties are nothing like American 'English Muffins'!


 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Mary,


I refer to English muffins, because there is a need to distinguish them from American Muffins [ie small cakes]


You may not like it, and I certainly don't[!], but amongst probably most people in the UK today, more would be familiar with the overgown and bursting out sweet and flavoured small cake, than would be with the griddled fermented dough I was discussing.   So, I disagree; there is a need to discriminate, and make the disassociation.   In UK today, most people would think of a muffin as the one I would know as American; it is fanciful to think any other way.   If I have misinterpreted your comment and you mean something else, I apologise.   Are you suggesting that there is no such thing as an "English " type muffin?   I think not.


So you don't think that the cake-like soft texture of a stottie has something in common with the interior of a muffin?   The fact that the 2 are both produced directly on a heat source and flipped halfway through?   Ok, we'll have to differ on that then!


If you have a different idea of what a muffin is to the one I posted, perhaps you might like to share that?   This may enable dialogue to move forward in a more positive direction.


Thanks


Andy

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi Andy


After reading your comment many times, I finally understand what you meant.  Also, I found something HERE at Wikipedia that gave me some historical background.  I find history fascinating.  How something gets pushed out of its original (and rightful) name and is called something else, and the only way we recognize it today is by that other name.  


I find your muffins and crumpets formulas very interesting.  Here in Australia we buy crumpets and English muffins in supermarkets.  I often wondered what gave them that special textures.  Now I know why.  Thank you very much. 


Every now and then I enjoy a spiced raisin English muffin; toasted with butter, it is very yummy.  With your formula above, I can now try and make my own raisin English muffins.  I have a feeling that the formula would make a good bread too (baked, not griddled, with much lower yeast).


And the crumpets!  How interesting is the overall 138% hydration.  It goes to show that, with a different cooking method, you can do anything with any flour and water consistency.  


Thank you for your post.


Shiao-Ping

ananda's picture
ananda

Thank you very much for this Shiao-Ping.


I seem to have innocently incurred the wrath of one of my fellow-countryman [woman].


In the end time moves on; and I am posting on an American website, and want to be understood by people on that site.   I wasn't really sure how to reply to Mary's comment an apologise if it took many readings to understand it.


I'm not sure I fully understand it myself!!


Have you seen my response regards sourdoughs?  Please have a look at my updated blog


Thanks and best wishes


Andy

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

And thank you so very much for your thoughtful response.   I am still digesting it.  Thank you for taking the time to write.


I don't know in the UK if you have ever had "Singapore noodles."  It is a dish made with thin noodles and curry powder and a bit of chilly, very popular in South East Asian countries except Singapore up until a few years ago.  People in Singapore didn't know what Singapore noodles were.  The dish has been so popular that it has to find its way into Singapore!  Many expats in Singapore love that dish, but if you ask a local, especially the older generation, they think that dish is a fake.  Similar thing exists for a dish called "Hong Kong noodles." 


Well, name aside, I happen to think the idea of your crumpets and muffins recipes is lovely.  


Regards,


Shiao-Ping

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Shiao-Ping,


This makes me think of all the curry houses so dominant in the UK.   Some produce totally fabulous food too.


Most are Bangladeshi, and make dishes such as Malayan, Dhansak, Ceylon, Bengali, Bhuna etc etc.   Each dish has a certain spice combination as its base.   The ones that have taken off in the UK are Vindaloo [ridiculously hot], and Tikka Masala [very mild and creamy].   I don't think either of these dishes would have been recognised on the South and East Asian continent; my best guess is that they have been, or, will be exported there and become as common  in downtown Mumbai, as they are on the streets of Bradford in my original home county of West Yorkshire.


Sadly it can mean the death of the traditional and original food item;   I don't condone this, sometimes the replacement item is a travesty when placed at the side of the original.   I think Debra would agree that this is certainly the case when comparing what her countrymen would know as American and English Muffins; it is certainly my belief.


Thanks


Andy 

ananda's picture
ananda

One other interesting thing about crumpets, apart from hydration levels, Shiao-Ping:


Note the base is prepared using a ferment; then just prior to depositing we add chemical raising agent in solution.


An aerating system which uses both yeast and chemical raising agent is not at all common.


Thanks


Andy

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Andy,


Thanks so much for posting these formulas. And, you're absolutely right---what we know here as a 'muffin,' looks like a cupcake. And nowadays, many really are cupcakes, they're so sweet and cake-like. But I can still remember a time when muffins were much lighter on the sugar, just barely sweet, or even savory little quick breads served with the dinner meal. As Americans have gotten increasingly addicted to sugar, the (American) muffin has become much sweeter and morphed into more of a breakfast treat, alongside doughnuts, coffeecake, and Danish pastry.


Our English muffin much more closely resembles your crumpets than our muffins, and yet it is neither, needing its own name. Since the term wasn't meant to be derogatory or down-putting, I'm not sure why it should raise anyone's ire. If, in other parts of the world, folks know them as simply 'muffin' and American muffin, that's fine with me. What's important, is that we're all talking about the same thing :-)


I look forward to trying these soon. I may have more questions later, but for now I just have one. It looks like you ferment half the flour overnight, but then the bulk ferment after mixing the final dough is just a 30-minute 'rest.' Did I understand that right?


Thanks again!
-dw

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Debra,


Yes, I feel short secondary fermentation is best.   That is why we worked with the formula which used overnight sponge.   When I did them in College as a Bakery student 6 years ago, my lecturer used a ferment and dough process, somewhat like the one I describe for the Chollah and Hot Cross Buns in my earlier blogs.


I wanted to see if my students could come up with a ripened dough that would respond well to the griddle.   I haven't looked at the link yet, but I'm sure someone has posted on sourdough muffins on TFL.   Personally, I think the reason I go with a short secondary fermentation is so as to catch the dough when yeast activity is vigorous, and dough condition is still good and strong.   That way the dough will rise quickly and evenly when placed on the hotplate.   That being the case, I am not at all sure about the raison d'etre of sourdough muffins.   Dan Leader liked the idea of sourdough croissants.   Much as I am a massive advocate of long and complex fermentation, sometimes, I want to use the benefits of modern biology and make best use of baker's yeast.   I don't want to be in total denial!!


Note that the yeast level in the final dough is still high at 8% [all my recipes are for fresh yeast, by the way!!], and this is right.   The function of the overnight sponge is to introduce a rapid ripening effect which will soften the gluten and give the dough extensibility necessary to cope with rapid upward movement of the muffins due to high yeast and conducted heat.   I didn't think this can be achieved from the mini ferment, which just aids yeast activity in enriched doughs.


Have you seen the discussion I have been having with Shiao-Ping and Hansjoakim regarding pH level, acid concetration and buffering agents.  I'm not the greatest chemist in the world [massive understatement], but I'm working hard to get there.   The posts are here on my blog, and in Shiao-Ping's wonderful blog on the Rubaud miche


Best wishes


Andy

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

And thank you for pointing out the yeast amount is for fresh (I thought that looked incredibly high). I don't care much for sourness in my whole grain breads, so baker's yeast suits me just fine :-)  I appreciate knowing the reasoning behind the choices, too. Will start planning for a bake day.


Thanks again!
Debbie

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Well...I don't care where they come from..I absolutely LOVE crumpets...smothered with melting butter and a dollop of strawberry jam :)


I will most certainly be trying to make these. After watching the youtube video I now understand how they get the holes on the top..and I also discovered I need to buy egg/pancake/crumpet rings WITH the little handles since it looks like you'd burn off all your fingerprints without...


Thanks for the recipe Andy - it's going on my 'todo' stack :)

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I just happened to make some Crumpets earlier this week.  I make mine and store them in the refrigerator and unlike another post I read - we toast ours to reheat and they are not at all tough. 


My English Mother In Law gave me her recipe for Crumpets which is about a million years old, I'm guessing.  We have made them for years.  It is, far and away, the easiest crumpet recipe I've ever used.  It is perhaps this simplicity which makes them so appealing.  There is certainly alot less beating of the dough in my recipe, but as long as you get the same result.. any good recipe will do. 


Often times, I'll mix them up the night before (less the milk and soda) and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator, then let them come to temperature for about an hour on the counter before adding the milk (lukewarm) and the soda.  I sometimes need to add water, however.. as the dough tends to thicken overnight.  However, the flavor is better if left to rest overnight.


INGREDIENTS:
2 Cups or 250 grams of bread flour
1 2/3 Cups or 230 grams of All Purpose Unbleached flour
3/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water, divided
1 packet active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsps.
2 tsp or 10 g of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 Cup lukewarm milk (just warm enough to take off the chill)

Mix both flours and cream of tartar into a medum sized bowl.  Stir to combine.  Run the flour and cream of tartar through a sifter into a large mixing bowl.   (If you don't have a sifter use a wire mesh strainer, but by all means, do sift!)

In a large measuring cup, measure 1 cup lukewarm water and add 1 packet active dry yeast.  Mix well and let foam for 5 minutes.  Pour this into the flour mixture and add remaining 1 1/4 cups warm water.   Using a wooden spoon, mix vigorously until smooth and creamy - about two minutes.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and find a slight warm and draft free spot to let the dough rise.  It should rise about an hour and start to collapse into itself.  If not, just go ahead and continue, but watching the dough.. it will be bubbling and making alot of noise!

Add the salt and mix vigorously once again.  Re-cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.  Mix the milk with the baking soda and add milk mixture to dough.  Mix gently at this point.  Your dough should be very wet and drippy.. wetter than a pancake dough.  If not.. add a tablespoon of water if needed.  Just don't make it so wet that it escapes from the rings.  If that happens - sprinkle a TBS of flour over the dough to correct it.

Start heating your electric griddle to about 350 degrees, or if you're using a cast iron skillet.. about medium heat on the stove.  Spray the inside of your rings with Pam and make sure they are nice and lubricated.  Lightly give your griddle a spray of Pam.. these should not be greasy.. but a little does alot of good!  Add your rings to your heated griddle and using a 1/3 measuring cup.. measure out the dough.

It should begin to bubble as soon as it hits the heat of the griddle.  Let these cook for 8 minutes.  Don't move or touch them.  They should start pulling away from the ring and you'll see them begin to dry out on the top.. much like a pancake on the griddle.  The crumpet color on the cooked side should be a golden amber color.  If they cook too fast or you turn them too soon.. the interior can be doughy.

Using a pair of tongs, pinch the top of one of the rings to remove it.  Then, using a spatula, flip them without sliding them across the griddle.  Let them cook on this side for about 2-3 minutes or until starting to turn golden. 




 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

I realized after reading that Andy first posted this in January but it hove into view again due to BellesAZ's detailed crumpet posting. Thanks to both for the recipes!


Just following up also on Shiao-Ping's posting on the development of muffins and their American variants, I came across this 'timeline' of the entry of different foods to America.


Interestingly it also gives some of the prehistory of muffins and crumpets in England and some early published recipes. Seems like most of what we think of as 'English' griddled tea breads originated in Wales and Scotland, so maybe they should be 'British'?


I was interested by Hannah Glasse's (1747) recipe for muffins and Elizabeth Raffald's (1769) recipe for crumpets, because of the way in which (pre C19 use of bicarb.), they treat the yeast. Glasse calls for Malt Ale yeast to be soaked in water overnight. Is this because she is using cake yeast available to brewers and wants to activate it? Raffald's recipe, on the other hand, clearly calls for the use of barm, which in effect makes her crumpets another type of barm bread. 


Dash - looks like from Andy's and the timeline's recommendations that I should look up the subject in Elizabeth David. Still a bit vexed with her for implying that the English only got olive oil on their salads when missing their ears (!), when the use of olive oil to dress salads is clearly referenced in the C19 by Mrs. Beeton and in the C17 by John Evelyn in his brilliant Acetaria A Discourse of Sallets (1699). Evelyn even recommends olive oil from Lucca! Ah well, if she's good on breads...


Kind regards, Daisy_A

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Daisy,


Yes, that is an interesting commentary from Elizabeth David.  The Romans controlled "Brittania" beginning in AD 43 and did so until the end of the Fifth Century.  Surely, there are multiple influences still leftover by the Romans because of this long occupation - including Olive Oil!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi BellesAZ,


Good point! I didn't think of that but should have done, coming from near Hadrian's Wall!


Kind regards,  Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi BellasAZ and Daisy_A,


This is your immediate reference point, and I had a good read this morning; very enlightening too!   Elizabeth David English Bread and Yeast Cookery [Penguin Edition pp. 341 - 361]


I'm not going to re-open the debate you are having on olive oil; that would only add further complication.   So' I'll stick to traditional English [although that should read British to me] baking/bread and yeast cookery!   Hope you are both ok with that?


 French "moufflet" = soft bread


Welsh "crempog" = pancake, or, fritter


David concludes there are conflicting recipes, instructions and notes, going back over the last century and a half...she was writing in the late 1970s, but begins by looking at domestic cooks' recipes going back to 1747!


In this group she includes Oatcakes!   Probably not the ones many of you are familiar with.   We used to make "Staffordshire Oatcakes", using an overnight ferment, when I worked with the Red Herring in Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1980s.   We used them as a substitute for pancakes, as the recipe was vegan, and we were committed to meeting these dietary needs.   They were very lovely too!   We filled them with a variety of savoury fillings for a main course meal served with a selection of salads.   These are grouped with Pikelets, as well as Crumpets and Muffins.


Look at her reference to Garrett in 1899, listing 28 different recipes for Muffins, and paying particular homage to North America, for surpassing traditional British expertise in producing muffins!


Reference is also given to Yorkshire and Lancashire bakers emphasizing the dough-like quality of muffins.   There is also an excellent 1954 description from Dorothy Hartley of crumpets from the Midlands, which resembles, exactly, those we find in the UK today.


BUT, there is conflict within the commercial baker camp!   2 sources suggest muffins are made from a stiffer dough with no rings in the late 19th Century.   The estimable John Kirkland, however, differs, and claims muffins and pikelets were full of holes and cooked on the griddle in rings, whereas crumpets did not use rings!!!!   He goes on to define a muffin as "very light fermented cakes made of soft dough, containing only flour, water, yeast and salt."   Crumpets use the same ingredients, but a softer flour is preferred; they are characterised as "round white cakes, holey on the top".


Robert Wells in 1929 is dismissive of the practice of adopting the "teacake formula", and moulding and pinning the muffin pieces.   This is a practice which I am familiar with in bakeries today!!


Bennion in 1967 stated use of strong flour for muffins and an "ordinary high-grade patent home-milled flour" for crumpets.


Elizabeth David's 1973 formula heavily references Walter T. Banfield's 1937 Treatise: "Manna", wich remains on my recommended booklist to this day!  She gives full recipe and instructions.


One of these is to adopt the technique of warming the flour: why, you may ask?   Well, it will obviously speed up the ferment, of course.   Additionally, heat treated flours are popular as the proteins begin to de-nature...so it is advantageous when used in cake manufacture.   Also, the starch molecules will open up, heading towards some gelatinisation.   This means the flour will take up more water; essential when you consider her formula has a hydration rate of 93.3%!!!


For crumpets, David cites Banfield, again, as well as Kirkland's "Modern Baker and Confectioner" from 1927, stating the muffin dough is let down with water, containing a little bicarbonate of soda dissolved within.


She then goes on to discuss pikelets, and other griddle [or girdle] cakes.   Hot plate goods have as much of a tradition in Scotland and Ireland, so to view these as English and Welsh is plainly not right.


Also, I always thought the distinction between muffins and crumpets was clearcut.   Kirkland was a noted baker, so I'm reluctant to contradict him.   However, Banfield has always been my trusted source for muffins.   The recipe I list above is one we worked on to produce using an overnight sponge, by adapting a recipe from Rose Levy Barenbaum.   Sufficient justification is offered above, I hope.


Thanks very much for your contributions


All good wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Yes 'British' is good with me. Have made a similar argument above but need to now acknowledge Ireland also!


Many thanks for posting such a comprehensive account.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Thanks for the info and your research, input and opinion on what is a crumpet or a muffin.. :)


All I know is rings or no rings... definitiions or not.. my Mother In Law, who I dare not contradict, calls her recipe above a Crumpet.  As I've learned over the years, she's never wrong.


In any case, they are delicious, soothing and comforting and at the end of the day they are just another repository to hold butter & jam and that can't be all that bad!

lululu's picture
lululu

Hi Andy


I'm rather puzzled by your crumpet recipe. 30 g yeast for 500 g flour? Isn't that way too much? BellesAZ's recipe, in comparison, uses 2.25 tsp (7 g) for 460 g flour. You can't both be right?


Thanks!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lulu,


I use fresh yeast.


Hope that makes sense


BW


Andy

EvaB's picture
EvaB

anything like what you can buy these days, they were light, crispy and tasted liek waffles or at least her waffles.


Muffins, 400F 20-25 minutes


1 3/4 cu flour


1/4 cup sugar


2 1/2 tsp baking powder


3/4 tsp salt


Sift together into a bowl


Separate 2 or 3 eggs (they are lighter with three, but can be done with 2 if you are short of funds like we were late in the month.)


beat the whites until almost stiff or even stiff


then beat the yolks lightly, adding 3/4 cup of milk to the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of melted butter which is optional but if you bake in papers need to add.


Make a well in the sifted dry ingredients, add the egg yolk mixture adding an extra third of a cup of milk if not using the butter. Fold in the egg whites, fill muffin cups about 2/3rds full, this made 11 muffins in my mothers cast iron pan, so should make 12 in a regular (on the smaller size not the huge size tins) tin.


Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes.


For blueberry muffins, she wrote 3/4 cup of blueberries and an extra 2 tablespoons of sugar, adding the berries when you fold in the egg whites. We used wild blue berries which were actually a huckleberry or bilberry and smaller than the huge commercial ones. So if using the larger berries I would use half a cup, and actually adjust the sugar, the wild berries are quite tart comparatively.


These came out light and crispy on the outsides, and full of those beloved nooks and crannies for butter. We never sliced a muffin, or a biscuit with a knife, always opening them with a fork, and slicing was frowned upon when people who didn't know better did it. It makes the insides of a hot muffin or biscuit gummy!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Andy, I gave your Crumpets a try for Sunday morning's breakfast.
We enjoyed these so much, while they were still warm, with butter and jam.
Thanks for posting the formula and method! Here's a couple of pictures:
 

With thanks from breadsong


 

ananda's picture
ananda

These look lovely Breadsong.


I was planning to demonstrate these to my Level One group on Friday!


Best wishes


Andy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Your students will be in for a real treat!  :^)
from breadsong

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Andy, I've made Rose Levy Beranbaum's crumpets in the past - just because I was curious about her formula vs my family's formula.  One of the things I noticed differently between hers and yours - was that she mixes the baking soda into her batter and allows it to rise  until nearly doubled.  You add your baking soda in just before the bake without allowing it to rise.  I wondered why you chose that method over the one she recommends in the Bread Bible?  Does this give you more noticeable results?  I find that mixing in BiCarb at the very end, the Crumpets turn out a bit better, however in Rose's formula, her crumpets taste slightly less sharp - a bit more mellow, assuming that her bi carb has mellowed a bit on the rise. 


If you make your formula at home, do you notice any difference in holes between grilling the first batch and the second batch?  Your recipe makes 20 crumpets and most of us don't have 20 rings or a grill big enough to cook 20 at one time.  I find that if my batter sits too long, I don't get the hole structure.  Assuming the bi carb becomes less active as it sits longer.


I'm wondering if I am misinterpreting your post.. you said you based the formulas loosely off her recipe, but I'm thinking you are referring specifically to the English Muffins and not the crumpets now that I've re-read that.


Thank you!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi BellesAZ,


Firstly, yes, my reference to Rose Levy Barenbaum in the original post is only in the context of the Muffins; these being leavened with yeast only.


With regard to Crumpets, I really cannot see the point of adding the soda at the same time as the yeast.   The 2 react at completely different rates.   The main purpose of a chemical leavener is to give extra rise in the oven.   So, my method generates carbon dioxide through the yeast reaction in the ferment, then further gas generation in the oven from the Bicarbonate of Soda.   Additionally, use of Bicarbonate of Soda will soften the gluten and weaken the structure of the batter.   So potential for gas retention is reduced.   I am aware that formulae which mix chemical leavening with yeast fermentation are not common.   This is why!   I worked through the process for Crumpets when I was at College, and I'm confident the process in my formula is the best means to a successful product.


Regarding smaller scale production, I never make these at home, as I don't have anything resembling a griddle.   But I deliberately publish both formula and recipe to allow any readers to make whatever quantities they prefer.   It is a batter, afterall; why not just make 10 at a time, or, even 5?   The comment that your standing batter suffers illustrates best of all why it is wrong to add the soda solution early rather than late.


Many thanks for posting these interesting questions


All good wishes


Andy

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Thank you for your reply.  In my family recipe, my soda goes in at the very last moment as well.  Yours does too but I noticed that Rose L.B's goes in after the first rise and just before the second *near* rise.. about 30 minutes prior to baking.  I've only made her crumpet formula once and I wasn't as happy with the hole structure, but the taste was nice. 


In your formula, you add water along with the bi carb, in mine I use milk.  I don't know if it makes alot of difference, but I get beautiful results with the milk.  My batter is still bubbling away when I add the bi carb.. it's fun to watch and I get consistent hole structure without the need to tap or knock the rings during baking.  I just let them do their thing.  I've posted pictures above with the recipe.  I thought your method was interesting though.


At home, my recipe makes about a dozen crumpets.  I have six rings, so I must cook the first batch, then the second after my batter sits for a bit.  It doesn't really negatively effect the crumpets, but the first batch always seems to turn out the best. 


It's just me and my hubby at home.. so baking anymore than 12 crumpets is not the best idea.  They do refrigerate well if they are bagged after cooling and of course, we just toast them and it's like they are fresh again.  They also freeze nicely, but I have limited space in my freezer.


THanks for sharing and taking the time to answer.

ponyo's picture
ponyo

When making muffins at home in a cast iron frying pan (as opposed to a griddle over the fire or a hot plate), I am struggling to get them baked through so they reach a core temperature of 93-96C (200-205F). The only way was to put a lid on the pan, and the result was very good. From what I gather, many people have this problem and finish their muffins for 5 minutes in the ovens, which somewhat defies the purpose of muffins being something that can be made without an oven.

Anyway, I sent a PM to Andy what his trick was and he kindly replied to calibrate the hot plate to 190C, no more than 200C.

Thanks, Andy, that gives at least a point of reference. Of course, with household equipment, that's not easy to verify without an infrared thermometer or something like that ...

I was wondering if anyone else has  had the same experience and whether there are other things that have to be taken into account.

Cheers, ponyo