¾ cup milk, tepid
¾ cup water, from the cold tap
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespooons active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1. Stir the milk, water, sugar and yeast together. Set aside to stand for 10 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and frothy.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the frothy liquid and beat to a smooth paste, a wooden spoon is best here. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30-40 minutes until the mixture is very frothy. Mix the baking soda with 1 tablespoon water and stir gently into the batter without knocking out too much air. It will be very gloopy.
3. Heat a frying pan over a moderate heat and drop a decent knob of butter into the pan. Swirl to coat the entire base of the pan. Once hot cook large spoonfuls in the pan - spreading the mixture out if need be, for 3-4 minutes until the bubbles burst, then flip and cook the other side for less than a minute to finish the cooking.
4. Transfer the cooked crumpets to a clean tea towel-covered cake rack to cool. Continue with the remaining mixture. Toast the crumpets if wished so they have a crispy outside before serving with butter and jam.
Crumpets take their name from an old Anglo-Saxon word crump, meaning to curl up. They were cooked on a griddle and were once so thin they'd curl up. Large egg rings can be used to make perfect shaped crumpets if wished, they'll need greasing to avoid the batter sticking.