English muffin

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

English muffins are a small, round, flat yeast-leavened bread which is commonly sliced horizontally, toasted, and buttered.[1] Toasted English muffins, which are often used as a breakfast food, may be served with sweet toppings – e.g., jam or honey – or savoury toppings – e.g., eggs, sausage rounds or bacon, and cheese. English muffins are also used as the bread in a variety of breakfast sandwiches, and are an essential ingredient in Eggs Benedict and most of its variations.

In the US and US-influenced territories they are called "English muffins" to distinguish them from American muffins, which are larger and sweeter miniature baked quick breads. They are very similar to bolo do caco in Portuguese cuisine.


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?"

By country[edit]

Wholemeal English muffins, bought in Abingdon, England.

United States[edit]

References to English muffins appear in American newspapers starting in 1859,[3][4][5] and detailed descriptions of them and recipes were published as early as 1870.[6][7]

Samuel Bath Thomas emigrated from Plymouth, England to New York City in 1874.[8] 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, which was later called "fork-split", so as to be able to be pulled apart, giving a rougher toasting surface than would be obtained by slicing. Later they were baked in ovens.[9] 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".[8]

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the origin of the term "English Muffin" as 1902.[8] In a trademark filing in 1926, it was stated that the Thomas' name of the product was first used in 1894.[8]

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 the Entenmann's, Boboli, Stroehmann, and Arnold bakeries.

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 can be purchased in a wide range of varieties, including whole wheat, multigrain, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, and apple cinnamon.

United Kingdom[edit]

English muffins are sold in all British supermarkets and many bakeries and are referred to as simply 'Muffins'. (American) Muffins may be referred to as 'American muffins' for clarity or branding purposes, but most people have no problems distinguishing one from the other and use the same word for both.


English muffins are also available in most major supermarkets across Germany under the name "Toastbrötchen" which translates as "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. ^ "Thomas' Dining Saloon". The Buffalo Daily Republic. September 22, 1859. p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Wanted: An English Muffin and Crumpet Baker". New York Daily Herald. September 17, 1862. p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Call at Steam Bakery". The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 30, 1863. p. 5. Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Fancy Bread". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 4, 1870. p. 1. Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "English Muffins". The Weekly Star. March 29, 1876. p. 6. Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ a b c d "Who invented the English Muffin?". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Wolferman's: A Different Style Of English Muffin".