Saturday 20 June 2015

Crumpet! (S)

Yes really Sourdough Crumpets!!!! 
much maligned as stodgy things that used to appear on a visit to your grannies to go with your cup of very milky tea. (Mmmm maybe that's just me?). Well NO MORE........

A very kindly student passed me a recipe for Sourdough Crumpets - they are a total revelation! 

VERY simple to make they are light, fluffy, soft, sumptuous and crispy all at the same! You may have noticed that I am hooked! 

I am going to paste and copy the recipe below. My only adjustment would be that if your sourdough is very thick then you can add a wee bit of milk to loosen it up to help form a pouring frothy batter. 

I have a lovely cast iron griddle (we Scots call that a girdle) which helped cook them beautifully and I did also use well greased crumpet rings which worked really well. 

Sourdough Crumpets with Natural Starter 

270 grams (1 cup) "100%" natural white wheat sourdough starter -- it doesn't need to be particularly ripe, and may have been kept in the fridge for a few weeks (I like to use one or two day old refreshed starter from the fridge). 
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
vegetable oil/butter for greasing

Place the starter in a large bowl.  Add the sugar and salt, and whisk to combine. (Add a wee bit of milk if your starter is very thick). 

Place a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, or preheat a griddle to 180°C (360°F). Grease crumpet rings well, if using, and place on the skillet to preheat.

When the skillet and rings are hot, add the baking soda to the batter and whisk it in. As the baking soda reacts to the acid in the starter, the batter will quickly start to foam and rise.

Using a measuring cup, a small ladle, or an ice cream scoop, pour about 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the batter into each crumpet ring, or directly onto the skillet if you're not using rings.

Cook for a few minutes, until the top is set; exact timing will depend on your stove, your skillet, and the thickness of your crumpets. (If your stove has hot spots -- and I don't mean the wifi type -- you may have to rotate the skillet every once in a while, and rotate each crumpet after a few minutes so they brown evenly.) As they cook, the crumpets will gradually shrink back from the rings.

Using tongs, lift the crumpet rings off the crumpets (wriggle them loose and/or use a knife to help loosen the crumpets if they stick a bit), and optionally (this is not traditional but I prefer them that way), flip the crumpets to brown lightly on the other side.

Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Wipe down the crumpet rings if necessary, re-grease, and place them on the skillet to preheat again before repeating with the remaining batter. (When you're done with the crumpet rings, handwash and dry them thoroughly so they won't rust.)

Crumpets should be toasted before eating.

The crumpets can also be frozen once cooled: freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before putting them in a freezer bag so they won't clump. You can pop them in the toaster straight from the freezer.

Well, do let me know how you get on with these because I really do want to know! To start you off let me say that my husband was expecting sour little doughy things and he ate one after another exclaiming how light they were! 

Sunday 29 March 2015

Sunday Bread Ramblings

Hello, from a wet, grey, Sunday afternoon.

What is it about wet days when you're not working that make you want to get back in the bakery and make comforting hot warm bread. After all it IS my one day off!?

Something not right about that I tell myself but still my thoughts are wandering to carbs. SO to put out that fire and protect my waistline I thought I would put down in words my baking yearnings rather than act upon them!

My latest bakery experiments turn towards grains and LOTS of them. I am eagerly awaiting the documentary The Grain Divide ( a documentary about how our wheat (amongst other grains) has changed beyond recognition and why we need to wonder about this.

Anyway I digress.......My absolute favourite loaf of the moment is a multigrain sourdough that has the same amount of soaked grains as flour. It sounds a little worthy maybe but I make it with all white flour but then add lots of soaked grains and seeds and this includes a lot of organic kibbled rye. It comes out from the oven with a wonderful caramel crust and a crumb that is moist and chewy and stays soft all week. Gorgeous and super good for you too.

OK, I cant take it any longer, the toaster is looking at me longingly and I know whats in the bread bin .........

Saturday 3 January 2015


Well it's the time for new year resolutions and unfortunately mine is ALWAYS linked to losing those extra pounds that seem to follow me around!
So, there I am investigating my usual low GI diet info, as that's the one that seems to work for me and goes on working IF I don't stray back to the chocolate/sugar cupboard!!! What CHRISTMAS chocolate??

Anyway I am rabbling on about all this as much to my sheer delight I find that many glycemic lists on the web have now added SOURDOUGH granary, seeded and wholemeal versions to the low section. WHOOO HOO. So, OK, maybe I will have to hold back on the half inch deep cold butter I like to spread on but at least I can eat the fruits of my labours still. YES!!! YES YES!!!

So another reason folks to get out there, buy some good stoneground flour and start making your own wonderful bread, sourdough or not! Making your own bread is unlike anything else, so make it your New Years resolution!

If you would like to learn how you could go to where I have put in the new dates for my classes up to the beginning of April 2015. Some classes are already fully booked so choose a date and class and book your place!

Remember I also offer bespoke classes for groups of min/max of four students to find out more or arrange a booking email me at A great way to spend time with friends and family!

Happy New Year to you all and Happy Bread Baking!

Lucie x

Lucie M Steel
Birch Cottage Bread
07766 203335
Twitter @birchbread

Tuesday 23 September 2014


OK, so this beautiful September Autumn warm weather is a blessing and I am NOT complaining but it's playing havoc with my sourdough!
Working in a shipping container is great fun and I love my girl shed, but, it is also rather susceptible (despite insulation - obviously not very good) to changes in outside temperature. It's keeping me on my toes though and am having to think outside the box (pun intended!) and work my sourdough to a different ratio and schedule to account for warm days and cold nights. Having said all that, the other day out of the oven came what for me is the perfect sourdough. Crunchy, caramel even crust and a moist, chewy, soft crumb, heaven! A loaf did find its way into the kitchen instead of out on delivery and and I am quite sure my bathroom scales are lying? (Possibly not). Butter, what butter??
Will I manage to recreate that splendid loaf I do not know, but that's the fun of the fledgling baker, experiment, trial, error, success, disaster, hope, pride, devastation, joy, learning a never ending circle of life in yeast.

Thursday 28 August 2014


First market after the summer holidays will be:
Aldworth Community Market, Berkshire.
September Saturday 13th from 09.30 to 12.00hrs
Come along support your local community and buy fresh veg, cakes, free trade goods and of course freshly baked bread.
OK, August 2014 a LOT has happened since I set up this page in 2011 and then forgot I had done it! So a very quick update and a promise to try and do more!

Birch Cottage Bread through is now a thriving business and keeps me flat out baking bread and teaching bread baking classes. I am completely and utterly addicted to sourdough And yes there will be future posts on this too.

Birch Cottage Bread was featured on BBC TV at the beginning of this year as part of the James Martin At Home programme. A very exciting happening and a lesson that I never want to be in television it's dam hard work! A whole days filming for a finished film that lasted less than five minutes! I now have new respect for all things documentary!

West Berkshire Agricultural and District Show at Newbury Show ground 20th and 21st September 2014 will see me in the Demonstration Kitchen once again on Saturday morning at 10.30am so if you need a seat and want to hear some facts about Sourdough then come along and join in its "Have A Go With Sourdough" time.

Hope to see you there!