Not a last minute decision for a rushed breakfast on the way to work, but for a leisurely weekend breakfast, they are hard to beat.

They are a significant improvement, I reckon, on the pale yellow rubbery numbers that go as "Golden Crumpets" in the supermarket, but having said that, there is a school of thought that regards supermarket hot cross buns, the ones you can buy from New Year on, as the "real" ones.

Certainly there is no tradition of home-baking crumpets in this country, and Golden Crumpets might well, for at least the last couple of generations, hold themselves out, like Coca Cola, as the real thing. Anyhow, try these. A steal from an internet recipe, granted, but I have experimented with several recipes before modifying this one slightly to suit my style.

(BTW, you will need, if you haven't already got them, about 4-6 egg rings. These are not easy to come by - Briscoes is a dead loss, and so is the Warehouse and so are the hardware giants. I found mine in Farmers, about $7 a pair. If you are of a parsimonious turn, I have seen them made from empty salmon or tuna cans with top and bottom removed.)

You will need

1/2 cup warm water

2 teaspoons sugar

4 rounded teaspoons yeast

2 cups warm milk

1 teaspoon salt

2.5 cups high grade white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Mix the first five ingredients together in a large bowl, and stir until the yeast is dissolved. If you're patient, you can go and do something useful for ten minutes while the yeast begins to froth. If you're not, just carry on immediately. It will take a little longer at the other end

Add the flour, and blend until the batter is smooth and slightly stretchy. Cover the bowl and leave for about an hour in a warmish room until the batter has about doubled in bulk.

Add the baking soda and blend until smooth and stretchy and closer to original volume.

You will now need a heavy based frypan or a blacktop - barbecues are good. Oil the surface and oil the egg rings as well, and place on the blacktop to heat up. The operative word is gentle heat, the equivalent of about 2-3 on a 12 point scale. You need the crumpets to cook right through from the bottom without burning the bottom. Place enough of the batter in each egg ring to fill it a third to half way.

As the batter heats up the surface of the crumpet will begin to develop holes, and eventually, the entire upper surface of the crumpet will lose its moist top. This takes 5-8 minutes depending on how thick the crumpets are. (If holes do not appear, or only a few, your starting batter may be a little too thick. Add a little milk and mix well in before you start the next batch.)

At this point, remove the rings and turn the crumpets over for a minute or so to lightly brown the other side. Repeat until batter is gone. This mix will give you about 18 x 75mm crumpets. They toast up fine the following day, with a good mix of crisp exterior and spongy, butter-filled interior.







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