English muffin

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English muffin
EnglishMuffinOnPlate wb.jpg
A split muffin
Alternative names Breakfast muffin
Type Bread
Course Bread
Place of origin United Kingdom / United States
Created by Samuel Bath Thomas
Main ingredients wheat flour, shortening, milk, sugar, yeast
Cookbook: English muffin  Media: English muffin

English muffins are a small, round, flat (or thin) type of yeast-leavened bread which is commonly sliced horizontally, toasted, and buttered.[1] Sources attribute the muffins to a version invented in the United States by an English immigrant, Samuel Bath Thomas,[citation needed]who based his muffins on a popular bread product that was sold door-to-door in Victorian era Britain. Toasted English muffins, which are often served as a breakfast food, are served with sweet toppings (e.g., jam or honey) or savoury toppings (e.g., cooked egg, sausage rounds or bacon and cheese). Muffin halves are also used as the bread in a variety of breakfast sandwiches.


In many places they are called English muffins which are a griddled yeast bread to distinguish them from American muffins which are larger and sweeter miniature baked cakes often iced called 'cupcakes' or 'muffins' and which in Britain and Australia are called 'fairy' cakes.

English muffins are most often toasted and then topped with butter and/or jam. English muffins are also used in breakfast sandwiches with meat (bacon, ham, or sausage), egg (fried, scrambled, poached or steam-poached), and cheese. They are an essential ingredient in Eggs Benedict. English muffins can be purchased in a wide range of varieties, including whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, and apple cinnamon, or they can be homemade.


The word "muffin" is thought to be Low German muffen meaning 'little cakes'.[2] In the past, muffins were sold door to door by hawkers in England as a snack bread before most houses were provided with ovens in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, giving rise to the traditional song "Do you know the Muffin Man?"

Samuel Bath Thomas emigrated from Plymouth, England to New York City in 1874.[3] By 1880 he had opened his own bakery at 163 Ninth Avenue. He invented what he called "toaster crumpets", selling them from the bakery to hotels and grocery stores. They were soft and spongy after baking like Victorian-era English crumpets, but thinner. They were also pre-cut (what was later called "fork-split"), so as to be able to be pulled apart, without the texture being crushed as it would be by slicing. Later they were baked in ovens.[4]

They became popular as an alternative to toast; Thomas opened a second bakery around the corner from the first at 337 West 20th Street in a building that remains known as "The Muffin Building".[3]

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the origin of the term "English Muffin" as 1902.[3] In a trademark filing in 1926, it was stated that the Thomas' name of the product was first used in 1894.[3]

The recipe and technique used by Thomas' brand (now owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA) that provides its unusual texture is kept secret,[5] although competitors now have similar products.[3]

By country[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Wholemeal English muffins, bought in Abingdon, England.

'English muffins' are sold by the name "muffins" in all British supermarkets and many bakeries. As in the US they are the foundation for eggs Florentine and eggs Benedict, which commonly feature on UK brunch menus.

United States[edit]

Thomas' is a brand of English muffins and bagels in North America, founded by Samuel Bath Thomas. Today the company is owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA, which also owns Entenmann's, Boboli, Stroehmann, and Arnold bread companies.

Foster's sourdough English muffins were a popular brand English muffin originally from San Francisco. They were a signature menu item at Foster's restaurants from the 1940s to the 1970s, and continued to be produced as a packaged brand until 2008.


English muffins are also avalible in most major supermarkets across Germany under the name 'Toastbrötchen' which translates to toast bun.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David, Elizabeth (1977). English Bread and Yeast Cookery. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0713910267. Contains a discussion on the origins and use of the English muffin.
  2. ^ "muffin". Retrieved 29 December 2016 – via The Free Dictionary. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Who invented the English Muffin?". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Wolferman’s: A Different Style Of English Muffin". 
  5. ^ "A Man With Muffin Secrets, but No Job With Them". New York Times. 7 August 2010.