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ENGLISH MUFFIN

English-muffin

English-muffin

Coming from England, this is a kind of bread baked on a pan or griddle, toasted and spreaded with butter, jam or both.

There’s a lot of fuss about Americans claiming its invention by Samuel Bath Thomas, an immigrant from Plymouth, England. When he opened his bakery in 1880 in New York City, it became quite popular and within years, he sold to grocery stores and hotels. To gain time and to optimise the production, he started to bake them in the oven. It became a huge success and it’s now popular everywhere in the USA. So popular that the Americans had to claim the idea…

Samuel Bath Thomas

But English muffins are, as written in the title, English of course!

The word muffin comes from the Low German muffen which means little cakes. Its earliest apparition comes from 1747 in the book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, written by Hannah Glasse, which became a best-seller for more than a century after its publication. It was simply called muffin back then.

In the Victorian Era, from 1837 to 1901, street vendors carried trays full of those on their head, or in basket. They were called Muffin Men.

Muffin Man

A bunch of English muffin in one hand, a bell in the other, they walked the old neighborhood of Covent Garden ringing and shouting to sell them. There’s even an old rhyme that goes like that :

Do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane?

Yes, I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane.

The Drury Lane was a part of Covent Garden, which now became a street. This song was pretty popular in London, usually sang by children. The Muffin Men were then present in every large cities of England. When the first World War took place, they disappeared.

English muffin comes into the preparation of the Eggs Benedict and the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. Samuel Bath Thomas’s bakery, now called Thomas‘, sells around 1 million English muffins every year.

English muffin

This type of bread is as delicious as it’s quick and easy to make. Toasted then spreaded with butter, jam, peanut butter, honey or going savory with eggs or avocado, the English muffin is the perfect pick when you want to do something different over breakfast. This recipe calls for fresh yeast and baking soda. The final texture is quite dense and is different from the American style with large bubbles, or nooks and crannies as they call it.
TYPE: Bread
COUNTRY: England
YIELD: 5 muffins
KNEADING: 10 mins
FERMENTATION: 13 hrs
BAKING: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 13 hrs 20 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 15 g caster sugar
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 8 g fresh yeast or 3g dried yeast
  • 15 g melted butter
  • 1 egg (50g)
  • 120 g milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix everything for 3min in 1st speed then 7min in 2nd speed.
  2. Let it rest for 1 hour.
  3. Shape into a ball then cover and put in the fridge for 12 hours.
  4. Put the dough on a floured workbench and roll to a thickness of 3cm.
  5. With a cookie cutter or a glass (I use a 7cm pastry ring), cut 4 to 5 pieces.
  6. Put all the trimmings together and shape a ball out of it. Press onto it to make an extra muffin.
  7. Cover and let prove for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake on a pan in low heat for 5 minutes on each side.
  9. The traditional way would be to cut it in half and toast it before putting some spreads or to garnish it with an egg or vegetables.
  10. Enjoy!
  11. Don’t forget to check out the timelapse video of the baking on my Instagram below :
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