Crumpet Fail

Crumpets are the ultimate comfort food for me – all toasty and spongy and most importantly, outrageously buttery. Tea is an essential accompaniment. Many problems can be solved with a double round of brews and crumpets. Everyone has a favourite way to eat them – eggy crumps, Marmite crumps, jammy crumps, I could go on. When it comes down to it though, my favourite way to eat them is just pure and simple, nowt but batter and butter.

You can imagine how it pains me then that I have never, ever managed to make a decent crumpet and it’s not for want of trying I can assure you. I’ve followed recipes which use baking powder and those without, I’ve tried resting it once, twice or not at all. I’ve tried varying the heat levels and I’ve tried cooking them with and without rings.*

Every time the batter starts to cook however, the bubbles start to rise to the top and pop a few times and then something just…stops. Actually, it’s more than that – somehow, the holes manage to actually re-seal themselves. What is that all about?! Every time I end up with a stodgy batter patty with a pool of butter swimming on top. The fat cannot get in and this is bad, very bad indeed.

So, this is a plea for help people – share your secrets please! One of you must surely have the key to a good bit of crumpet?

*I’ve tried so many recipes that I haven’t bothered to list them all but if you type ‘crumpet recipe’ into Google I’ve basically worked my way through the first page.

Category: Crumpets, Monumental Fail 24 comments »

24 Responses to “Crumpet Fail”

  1. Chris

    I do, as a matter of fact. Asda. 16p for 8 :)

    Chriss last blog post..Green and Blue, East Dulwich

  2. Helen

    Chris – Yes ha ha, very funny Chris ;) HOW though, HOW do they do it???!

  3. The Ginger Gourmand

    Poor you – no advice to share though I’m afraid. I’ve never attempted them but was inspired by the pics from MsMarmiteLover’s afternoon tea party at The Underground Restaurant (or at least I think that’s where I saw them….!).

    The Ginger Gourmands last blog post..The Underground Restaurant

  4. Lizzie

    The picture of the crumpet cooking looks like it has much potential. Maybe stopping the cooking there and finishing them under the grill? I’ve not made them myself so that’s my only suggestion I’m afraid.

    (slathered in butter so that when you bite into it it drips down your chin, and covered in Marmite for me please)

  5. Sydney

    I haven’t thought about crumpets in such a long time, and haven’t had them in even longer.

    Don’t have any advice on how to make them I’m afraid, but I may try now that I’ve got crumpets on the brain. Thanks for the trip down memory lane :)

    Sydneys last blog post..Pho (restaurant food)

  6. Lisa

    Well, you might want to try these ricotta crumpets that I made. They certainly were delicious and didn’t last long:

    Lisas last blog post..Potato Leek Soup With Watercress, Green Lentils and Fresh Goat Cheese

  7. Wendy

    Oh. My. God. I have been in crumpet fail mode for two months now. They are either stodgy or too yeasty. My summer hols start soon and I intend on devoting a large part of those 6 weeks to finding an answer to this problem. Time well spent, I say.

  8. gastrogeek

    these still look pretty damned tasty, despite the holes not working and whatnot. Are you growing padron p’s too? Mine started growing but then I got overexcited and am worried I’ve over-watered them… They’re temperamental little buggers!

    gastrogeeks last blog post..Salt-grilled mackerel with horseradish crème fraîche, mango salsa and samphire rice salad

  9. Daniel

    Can I just say that it is a pleasure to read about a “fail” in a food blog? Everybody always talks about their successes and after a while it makes you think nobody out there ever struggles with cooking.

    Thanks for the extra dose of honesty!

    Casual Kitchen

    Daniels last blog post..Six Tips to Fight the Diderot Effect in Your Kitchen and Home

  10. Y

    I actually have a few recipes I have been meaning to send to you. Better yet, I should try one or two and let you know. It’s been ages since I made crumpets!

    Ys last blog post..Gettin’ fizzy with it.

  11. Andrew Sartain

    I ave made them many times as i am a chef and never failed. Difficult to explain so instead i will make them and blog the results on my site. I hope it will help

  12. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    I have no words of advice on this one Helen, but it certainly looks like triumph is soon within your grasp! ;)

    Jenn AKA The Leftover Queens last blog post..Finest Foodies Friday – June 19, 2009

  13. Jenny

    I have made the Delia recipe (number 2 on google) a few times, and they always look good, but end up too greasy and yeasty. I should give them another go, it’s been too long.

    Maybe try making them thinner so the heat from the pan can travel up to the top and set the holes quicker?

    Jennys last blog post..Food Adventures in Florence: Part III

  14. Dan

    Helen, Gary Rhodes has a recipe for crumpets in his ‘New British Classics’ Recipe book. Never made them personally, but all of the recipes I have cooked out of the book over the years have been excellent, I can send you the recipe if you want it.

    Dans last blog post..I sold my soul, for some Abel & Cole

  15. Jane

    Looks like you need more bicarbonate of soda. Mix it in just before cooking so the bubbles don’t expire.

  16. Helen

    The Ginger Gourmand – yes me too! I’ve been trying to make them for weeks now :(
    Lizzie – Yes could work but the holes seem to re-seal from underneath – can’t work it out at all.
    Sydney – Do it!
    Lisa – Thanks for the link – i’ll give them a a go.
    Wendy – No way! Not just me then…watch this space…
    Gastrogeek – yeah I am – they are ok but they seem to be growing very slowly and they are indeed very thirsty. I think they need to be grown under glass to be perfectly honest.
    Daniel – Thanks! No point pretending everything I cook comes out perfectly…
    Y – thanks again for the recipe :)
    Andrew – Thanks. I’m interested to see the results.
    Jenn – I will crack it eventually. I love crumpets too much to give up.
    Jenny – yeah I will try. It was hard to get them thinner because of the way the batter behaves – kind of like an egg white, sort of gloopy. I’ll bear it in mind though, thanks!
    Dan – That would be fantastic – very kind of you, thanks.
    Jane – Yes I did suspect that. I’ll give that a try too. I’m going to get very fat on crumpets!

  17. msmarmitelover

    lol Helen,
    the ones I made for the underground tea were wonderful BUT did not have as many holes as the ones in the shops.
    The trick was to leave them far longer than you think before you turn them over I seem to remember.
    I did them on the lower heat plate on the Aga but they seemed to required a temperature somewhere between the high heat and the lower heat plate.

  18. Krista Booker

    Sounds like a bicarb issue to me too – although you could try cutting some straws in half and pushing them into the batter when firm enough – that will ensure some nice butter wells!

  19. James

    Like Dan (above) it’s the Gary Rhodes recipe I go for. He does say there that they should be fully cooked before you turn them to just colour the bottom. If there is still uncooked mix when you turn them – this would fill the holes up which is one problem you had. Like cooking american pancakes, the lowest heat possible is good, so they cook through before you flip.

  20. Steethygery

    Thank you for tale!

  21. Esther

    I am arriving way late to this crumpet party but Jenny’s right, it really IS all about only putting 1 or 1.5 tablespoons of batter into your crumpet ring.

    The crumpets will be much thinner than shop-bought ones, but I never think it’s good for morale to make comparisons of that sort… anyway you’ve probably nailed this by now. xx

  22. Vandana

    Hi, try the masterchef australia recipe – tried them and they have worked every time. Keeping the yeast warm so it gets really frothy is also important.

  23. Devon-Louise

    I love making crumpets! I’ve had very little trouble making them so hopefully the recipe I use may be of use you…

    Its crucial to have a good heavy bottomed frying pan or skillet for even heat distribution! also a good quality crumpet ring helps… never scrub the rings as you want to keep them smooth as possible to avoid your crumpets sticking. I suggest a good long soak and a gentle rub down with a cloth…


    225g strong white bread flour
    225g plain flour
    3/4 tsp cream of tartar
    7g yeast
    500ml lukewarm water
    1tsp salt
    1/2 tsp bircarbonate of soda
    150ml lukewarm milk


    *sift the flours and cream of tartar and stir in the yeast and water. mix with your hand until smooth. beat well for 2 mins. cover and leave for 1 hour.

    *uncover and sprinkle with salt. beat for 1 min, cover and rest for 20 mins.

    *stir bicarbonate of soda into milk and gently stir into the batter.

    *heat the ungreased griddle/pan until very hot. Grease the crumpet rings and place them on the griddle to heat.

    *spoon/pour the batter into the rings until half full (2/3 spoonfuls)

    *when the surface is set and full of holes, (7-8 mins) remove the ring and flip the crumpets. cook for a further 2 mins, until golden.

    My recipe doesn’t suggest a temperature, however I find keeping the pan fairly hot has offered the best results. Remember to wipe clean and grease your rings between each use!

    Good luck! I hope you find this helpful :)

  24. Helen

    Thanks! I did succeed in the end – the updated post is on here if you search for it.

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