The Gregory Jay Blog

In the last week I've managed to build a small but sucessful business at home, almost accidentilly.

It all started over Christmas when I decided I'd have a week or two off keto. I started keto around the beginning of 2018 and since then have been strictly eating high fat and very low carbs. For me it wasn't even very difficult to stay on the diet and I honestly belive that Keto in China is easier than it would be doing it back home

So this week off keto was planned well in advanced, I had plenty of time to prepare for it and lots of time to consider all the things I wanted to eat in this short period of 'anything goes.' Beer and doughnuts were top of the list, and of course I would have to have roast potatoes for Christmas dinner and seeing as I'm having roasties why not have stuffing, shortbread and cheesecake too.

I was staring into the oven waiting for some bread to bake when it hit me. I could have crumpets!

I pulled out my phone and ferociously starting jabbing in the words 'crumpet recipe.' I must admit, through all the years of eating and enjoying crumpets, I had never actually considered how they were made, and in that moment I guess I assumed that they were baked like a bread roll but actually they are cooked on a pan more like a pancake. I checked my cupboard and realised that I had everything needed to make crumpets!

The dough (technically a batter) takes a while to whisk and then needs to be prooved, in a similar way to how a bread is levened. But within a couple of hours I had a plate full of hot crumpets.

They didn't really look like crumpets. They weren't round and they were very thin and they didn't really have the holes on top that a crumpet should have but they tasted fairly crumpet adjacent! Through further research I found out that what I haad made were actually piklets, or 'freeform' crumpets. Don't get me wrong, I slathered them in butter and thouroughly enjoyed them but they weren't the real thing.

I did my research and found some decent crumpet rings online. Two days later I went downstairs to collect my package. It was a freezing cold day with a piercing -18C wind stabbing at my cheeks but I knew I would soon be eating real crumpets. They were well worth the wait!

And that was it, I had my crumpets and they were gorgeous but I was going to be back on keto soon so I hung up my crumpet rings and started thinking about preparing for Christmas dinner.

But when I mentioned to my friends that I had been making crumpets I could see the excitement in their eyes, the same excitment I had had. This may be difficult to understand if you have lived your entire life with constant access to crumpets but if you, like me haven't been able to buy crumpets for 14 years, the idea of a warm buttery crumpet in place of a bowl of rice is enticing beyond that which can be explained in a thousand word blog post. Needless to say crumpets are fucking amazeballs and if you hail from some corner of the English speaking world and are not regularly scoffing down a few then shame on you! Sort your life out!

So I made some more for our neigbours and I sent some to the in-laws (the only family within delivery distance.) The reaction ws the same, "You need to be selling these!"

It was nice to hear but I really had no intention of going into the crumpet business. But Nicki, my neighbour gave me the push I needed and posted them on her social media. Within two days I had over 100 people asking me about crumpets!

I quickly came up with a price and made a poster and started taking orders!

The first few days were pandemonium. Trying to increase the batch size, not having a mixing bowl big enough, only having one pan, only having four rings! I made 200 crumpets on the first day, four at a time!

Luckily here in China I can order things online and have them arrive within the hour. I bought supplies and was ready for the next days orders. I was making crumpets all day and well into the night to keep up with orders. By the end of week one I had sold 1300 crumpets and sent orders from Tianjin to Beijing, Qingdao and Chengdu!

I'm into the third week now and I'm starting to look at expanding my product range, larger crumpets and maybe sourdough bread as well as some seasonal things like hot cross buns for Easter.

So watch this space!

Greg is a true Sinophile, fluent in Chinese and proficient in Tibetan he is a homeschooling Dad that also consults on the side. You'll often find him cigar in mouth, book in hand, waiting for someone to finish their work or for the coffee to brew.