Make these crumpets the day before eating, or make and freeze ahead, as crumpets need a few hours to settle after cooking for the texture to firm. The number of holes you get on top depends on getting the water/flour ratio just right, so you may need to vary the water by a few teaspoons each time you make it to nail this recipe perfectly. You'll need a set of muffin or crumpet rings and a heat diffuser.
350ml warm water
7g sachet fast-action yeast
10g (2 rounded tsp) baking powder
2g (½ tsp) bicarbonate of soda
2g (½ tsp) salt
10ml cider vinegar, optional, for flavour
250g white bread flour
butter, oil and flour for cooking
1. Pour the water into a mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Then whisk in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat in the flour until very smooth.
2. Cover the bowl and leave for about 2 hours, until the mixture has risen and looks bubbly. Don't disturb it, and don't stir it as it rises, as you want to keep all the aeration in it.
3. Butter the insides of your muffin rings, dip them in flour, then drop them onto a dry dinner plate to bang-off any excess: you want the inside of each ring coated in butter and lightly dusted with flour.
4. Sit a large, heavy-based frying pan on a heat diffuser pad over a low heat and oil the base well. When it's sizzling reduce the heat, put the rings in and spoon enough of the crumpet mixture in to fill each ring by a third.
5. With the heat very low, wait until the mixture rises, the surface fills with air holes and dries out; this should take about 10 minutes. Then flip the rings over with a spatula, lightly brown the top then release the crumpets carefully with a knife. Leave the crumpets to cool while you wash and recoat the rings and cook the rest of the batter.
Serve with butter and my grapefruit and cardamom marmalade.