A bit of Crumpet?
Arrghh! I wanted to call this post V8 crumpets! The reason why is not that it includes vegetables, but that it took 8 attempts to get the recipe right for several reasons.
This cold weather just has me craving comfort food and crumpets & honey is one of them. I figured that while I am on my winter carb binge, I might as well go the whole hog and make crumpets but I had to make it difficult didn’t I!
My challenges were that the recipe had to be:
- YEAST free, and
- dairy free
Yep, that’s right. Gluten free, YEAST free and Dairy free.
Grain free? Not on your life! OK, so I set about my task and decided that I would ferment my batter in the style of Indian dosai to avoid adding yeast. Well technically. I was going to rely on the airborne yeasts in the air to leaven my batter, does that count? I have been playing around with fermentation a lot lately and have been loving the alchemy of our invisible microbe filled environment.
So in the ideology of fermentation 101, I soaked some rice to activate the starches and added some fenugreek seeds and split peas (dahl) which are both known to attract airborne cultures (I don’t know why or how, but they do). In fact, fenugreek is an amazing spice – fit for another post, me thinks! Apart from avoiding added yeast I was giving my crumpets a probiotic health benefit too! Cooked rice added to the mix helps the texture of the finished product as the cooked rice starches help bind the structure.
After soaking the rice & milling into a batter, I left it in a warm place to ferment. This is where things went awry – and not what you think!
My first batch worked beautifully so I needed to retest.
My second batch seemed different, runnier and didn’t work so I repeated the method again.
My third batch was similar to my second (did I fluke it first?) and then I realised my scales were off calibration so off to the Thermo doctor, my machine did go!
My fourth batch – and I’m getting impatient here – I ran out of aborio rice so I used basmati and it didn’t work…I didn’t know why so hmm, try try again.
On my fifth attempt I used basmati rice again, waited 7 days (!!), had no fermentation and then discovered that basmati does not have enough starch content and will not ferment. F$%^!
My sixth batch I went back to aborio rice again and as it has been cold weather, left it by the (switched off, but still warm)heater to ferment overnight, much to the delight of my dog – say no more..
My seventh batch was successful! HOORAY!! but I thought I could tweak it a bit more and here below is my 8th attempt to give you a gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free crumpet recipe that is AWESOME!!
Nothing idée fixe about moi!
This recipe has the yeasty flavour of “real” crumpets. They are soft and tender in the middle while being crunchy and crispy on the exterior, especially after toasting. They are a delight to soak up honey, or in my case, coconut nectar with lashings of butter. A poached egg oozes lusciously into its holes. Like childbirth, I have forgotten the pain of my recipe development and want to make them again and again and again!!!
They do take some time and planning but embrace the lesson of patience.
At least you will not have to endure the lesson of perseverance and grit and tolerance that I have suffered for you. If you like crumpets you will love this recipe!
Now a little preamble: It is really hard to get the bubbles and honeycomb texture that you find in bought crumpets. These are made with lots of different raising agents* as well as yeast and even with my previous conventional wheat flour recipe, is hard to achieve.
The trick is to start with a hot pan so that the batter sizzles when poured in – wait a minute for the bubbles to form and then turn the temperature down to cook the batter through. Don’t be tempted to pour them too thick as the bubbles will not form properly.
You can buy crumpet rings at kitchen shops, but I wouldn’t bother. Cook them in egg-rings or cut the top & bottom out of a tuna can and wash well before using as crumpet rings. Spray the rings well with oil to prevent sticking.
Crumpets (home-made or bought) are best eaten straight out of the pan or toasted later. There is nothing appealing about cold unheated crumpets, fresh or not. Make a double batch and wrap individually and freeze for toasting afterwards.
You can thank me later!200g aborio rice 1 teas fenugreek seeds 40g split yellow lentils or dahl 1/2 teas salt 1 teas sugar 140g cooked rice, cooled** 240g soaking water 2 teas baking powder 60g buckwheat flour (or sorghum) Weigh the aborio rice and cover with 2cm of filtered water. As with all fermenting, using chlorinated water will kill the yeasts & microbes to achieve a wild ferment. Add the fenugreek and let sit overnight or at least 6 hours. Soak the dahl, separately in filtered water. Drain the rice but keep the soaking water. Drain the dhal and do not keep the soaking water. Add the rice, dahl, cooked rice, salt & sugar to the TM and mill on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Weigh in 240g of the rice soaking water and blend on SP 9 for 1 minute. Pour into an open bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel. Place somewhere warm to activate. This may take anything from 24 – 48 hours depending on the weather. It should not take any longer than 72 hours! Sift together the baking powder and buckwheat flour and gently fold through the batter. Leave to rest for another hour in a warm place. Grease and heat a pan with the crumpet rings until hot – grease the rings well. Pour in some batter to about 1 cm thick – it should sizzle and start bubbling. After a minute or so when the bubbles start to pop, turn down the heat to low and continue to cook until the tops dry out. It helps to cover with a lid. Remove the rings and flip over for 30 seconds to finish cooking the top side without browning too much. Crumpet 101
- If the crumpets are not drying on the top, they are too thick.
- If you are not getting nice formed holes, the batter is too runny and/or the pan isn’t hot enough.
- It’s easier to get better hole formation with a thinner crumpet so gauge your batter from there.