Dinner With The Omnivore

Archive for the ‘yeast baking’ Category

Innuendo. Fnar, etc.

At the risk of being accused of innuendo, I have to admit to being fond of a nice bit of hot crumpet. Well, who isn’t. (Apart from JC, apparently, though he confesses to a weakness for buttered muffins. And that’s all the double entendre I can muster for the moment.)

But while you can buy (frankly rather nasty and overpriced) muffins in the supermarket here, crumpets are off. I had thoughts of buying a load whilst on our annual Blighty outing last week, but for some reason I didn’t bother. We did come home with a big box of Rice Krispies and a year’s supply of  Golden Syrup, but completely failed to get decent loose-leaf tea for the parents, a result of going to a distinctly low-rent branch of  Tesco rather than shopping in Lewes as usual. This also meant we ended up with some rather average cheeses, as we didn’t get round to going to the cheese shop either, and on top of that we forgot to stop off at Middle Farm for scrumpy, so we ended up with a case of Dry Blackthorn, which turns out to be rubbish. I’m sure it used to taste of something back in the day, but maybe I’m imagining that. Clearly we need to raise our game on the shopping front.

On the plus side, I did manage to acquire a couple of crumpet rings, the better to promote self-sufficiency on the baked goods front.

What do you mean, cooking? Get lost.

Delia maintains that crumpet-making is an ideal activity for a cold snowy day, a ridiculous assertion if I ever heard one. What the bloody hell would I be doing in the house on a cold snowy day? Mind you, Delia is a self-confessed footy fan and clearly wots not of skiing, so presumably that explains it. Strange woman.

Crumpets

You will need: 276ml milk; 55ml water; teaspoon caster sugar; tablespoon dried yeast; 225g strong flour; teaspoon salt; butter

Heat the milk and water until hand-hot, add the yeast and sugar and leave in the warm for 10-15 minutes until it goes frothy. Add to the flour and salt to make a smooth batter, then cover with a teatowel and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes, by which tim the batter will be light and frothy. Grease the crumpet rings and put them in a frying pan over a medium heat. Put a tablespoon of batterinto each ring and cook for 4-5 minutes until bubbles appear and burst, leaving those little holes you get on crumpets. Then lift out the rings, turn the crumpets over and cook for another minute.

Unfortunately I fell at the first hurdle here – when she says hand-hot, the Goddess means lukewarm, not hot. Hot will kill the yeast, resulting in a definite absence of froth. But the addition of an extra yeast sachet to the now rather cooler milk mixture sorted that out, and froth was duly forthcoming.

The next bit went quite well, and the batter came out of its warm place looking more than adequately risen and smelling reassuringly yeasty.

Unfortunately though, things proceeded to go somewhat Pete Tong in the final stages. First of all the bubbles which are supposed to lead to that all-important holey butter-trap effect were conspicuous by their absence. Then the dough mixture stuck like glue to the crumpet rings, resulting in a wrestling match with knife, oven gloves and red-hot rings.

I abandoned this whole ring strategy for subsequent batches, which wasn’t too bad as the dough was thick enough not to spread all over the place, but once again the entire thing with the bubbles just wasn’t happening.

So the upshot of the afternoon’s activity has been a load of  alleged crumpets which look more like scotch pancakes only more rubbery. They don’t taste bad, and are quite nice when smothered in butter and forest fruit jam (though let’s face it, what isn’t?), but they’re not what they should be. So it’s back to Tesco for crumpet again, much to my disappointment. Maybe I’ll try hot cross buns instead.

That's more like it. Pass the jam, someone.

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