English muffins or crumpets?

Making your own crumpets will greatly reduce the salt.

There is nothing like a really good English muffin (or crumpet, if you’re in England), toasted just right and dripping with butter, honey or jam. But English muffins share a problem with most other breads: they are highly salted.

You wouldn’t think bread is salty, would you? Amazingly, bread is one of the top six salty foods in the American diet. Salt is a big contributor to the health challenges we face with high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease.

Hiding inside one English muffin is about 200-plus milligrams of salt. If you put regular butter on it, one muffin can top out at over 350 milligrams, or 20 percent of your day’s allowance.

Serve that muffin with salty bacon or sausage and hash browns, and you are probably well over your 1,500- to 2,000-milligram daily limit before you walk out the door for work.

Most English muffins keep a really long time, another testament to their high sodium content. Some brands are dry, tasteless, unexciting disks. For a delicious, healthy alternative, try this recipe for making your own English muffins, which are called crumpets in England.

You can cook them on a frying pan or griddle, and serve them right away for a special breakfast, or freeze them for use during the week. You will need some sort of metal ring to bake them in. Easiest is open cookie cutters or empty tuna cans with the top and bottom removed.

Healthy Crumpets

¼ cup warm water

1 package yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup flour

Mix yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand about 5 minutes. Add egg, milk and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir in flour. Let rise, covered, for about an hour. Wipe heavy frying pan or griddle with butter, and butter inside of each ring. Set rings on frying pan and heat about 2 minutes. Pour about ¼ cup batter into each ring. Bake 5 to 6 minutes until holes appear in the top (just like pancakes), and the tops look dry. Pull rings off and turn onto other side to brown. Serve warm with honey, homemade jam or peanut butter; or cool on wire rack. Makes 8.

Nutrition information per crumpet:

Calories: 133, carbohydrates: 14 g, protein: 4 g, sodium: 17 mg.

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]

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