English breakfast classic

Stir the milk and water together and either cool or microwave to a temperature of 46C (115F). Add the sugar and yeast whisking well to combine. Cover and set in a warm spot for ten minutes or until frothy.

Add the flour and salt. Stir vigorously with a very stiff spoon or similar until well combined then continue for at least thirty seconds longer. You want to work the gluten well for structure here and it will seem almost like a very wet bread dough at this point. Cover and return to a warm place to develop for sixty to ninety minutes.

Measure additional warm water – 75ml if using ring forms or 25ml if making ‘free form’ crumpets. Stir together with the bicarb until completely dissolved. Add to the rested batter and stir again until well incorporated. Cover and return to a warm spot for thirty minutes.

Heat a non-stick griddle or pan over medium heat. I actually get better results by NOT using butter or oil in the pan which tends to overcook the bottoms. Adapt as you see fit on this front.

Use roughly 80ml (⅓ cup) batter for each four-inch crumpet. Adjust this amount depending on the size you are making. If using rings, measure into them allowing for expansion by about a third. If ‘free forming’, slowly and gently spoon into a heated pan to make round shapes letting the heat of the pan set the edges slightly before putting the full measure on each crumpet.

Getting the temperature just right will take some adjustments depending on your equipment but you want the edges to be mostly dry with the top just barely cooked before the bottom becomes too dark. This should translate to five minutes cook time if using rings or about a minute shorter for thinner free form examples.

Ideally you wouldn’t need to flip the crumpet to finish cooking but in reality I usually turn mine over for about ten seconds at the very end. Alternately the rings can be removed in the last sixty seconds so a lid can be placed over the pan to finish cooking the tops with steam as necessary but don’t cover the pan prematurely or the characteristic holes won’t form as well. Some people prefer to have the oven broiler turned on to finish the tops so as not to sacrifice even a single delightful butter-holding hole that appears atop a well-made crumpet. The great crumpet finishing debate continues.

Serve warm with heaps of butter or cool completely on a rack and store sealed for up to a week. Reheat briefly in a toaster if you’re playing the crumpet long game on later days as the tea kettle comes to a boil.