Pikelets are a speciality in the north of England and are best attempted when you’ve already got a few loaves under your belt. They’re harder to work in the first stage & you have to judge re liquid and flour so get a little experience first and then give them a go. They’re worth the wait!
You will need a couple of big bowls to do make them as the batter expands rapidly during the 20 minute rest prior to cooking!
8 oz of strong white flour
8 oz plain flour
14 gms (4 teaspoons) of easy yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
12 – 15 fluid ounces of warm milk
5 – 7 fluid ounces of warm water
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for greasing
Stir the yeast through the flours. Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk and pour on the flour. I used the whole 15 oz of milk & it made the beating just manageable. Any more and it would be too liquid I feel. Beat the flour and milk with a wooden spoon for about 3 or 4 minutes and you will end up with a firm but smooth batter. At this point you may wonder what the hell it is you’ve got yourself into but persevere with it.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave it for 20 minutes to 1 hour. The batter will rise and then fall a little and this will vary. I made a batch today and the batter hadn’t fallen back after an hour. I went ahead without waiting for the fall back and it worked well. This is one of the reasons that you need experience of baking with yeast before you attempt these.
Mix the bicarb, salt and water together and beat into the batter with a wooden spoon. Use about 5 ounces of the water first to see what kind of consistency you get. It needs to be like a thick running cream but not a blob. Think double cream pouring out of a jug and you’re on the right tracks. Cover the bowl again with the tea towel and leave for 20 minutes.
Using a large (and preferably heavy) frying pan heat a little oil on a medium heat and grease crumpet or egg rings. Put the rings on the frying pan and pour in the mix gently. It should be about .5 of a centimetre in the bottom of the crumpet/egg ring.
After few minutes bubbles will be appear on the top of the pikelets and at this point they are setting.
It’s possible to eat them warm from the pan if you really can’t wait but they do tend to taste doughy and heavy so it’s best to grill them!
I don’t use a ring to cook them which means that they spread in an irregular manner and cook more quickly but are incredibly tasty.
These freeze well and will keep for about five days if kept wrapped in greaseproof paper or baking paper and in a bread bin.
If you fill the crumpet or egg rings a little more you will end up with a recognisable crumpet. It takes about 5 minutes to get to the bubble stage and then they need flipping over for a short time.
If you use 6 ounces of each of the flours then this makes it a much easier mix to handle. After mixing in the water for the second prove I have taken to beating the mixture with a hand held mixer to smooth the mix out which gives it more air.