Believe it or not, but English muffins did originate in England. In fact, the British didn’t even know about their existence until the 1990s! Another surprising fact about them is that they are labelled as “American Muffins”
It may come as a surprise to anyone that lives in North America and travelling to the UK for the first time that hardly anyone has heard the term “english muffins” or knows what they are.
Who Actually Invented the English Muffin?
Samuel Bath Thomas invented the English muffin. A British ex-pat, he emigrated to New York in 1874 and then by the 1880s he had his own bakery in an area now known as Chelsea. This is where he invented the what he would call the “toaster crumpet.”
It became popular around the turn of the century, as hotels and restaurants started to adopt this, as it was scene as a sophisticated alternative to toast. It wasn’t until 1894 that the term “English muffin” was coined and began to be widely used.
What Is A Crumpet?
A crumpet is a small round cake-like bread with holes in one side and is eaten with hot with butter. The texture of this is moist and squishy, and dense like a pancake. Baking soda is used in the batter to generate air pockets on top, and butter, jams, and spreads are applied to the top.
How Thomas’s English Muffins Are Different from Crumpets
Thomas’s English “toaster crumpets” were an entirely new creation. These creations were both drier and flatter than crumpets and since he removed baking soda from his recipe, his holes were located in the inside of his products and not the top.
Therefore, when the muffin is split into two, you get two halves with wonderful nooks and crannies, that crisp in the oven and help to create a textured surface that is the perfect holster for jams, butters, eggs, and so much more.
Helpful tip: when prying the muffin apart it is best to use a fork. This helps to preserve the nooks and crannies that may have been crushed if using a knife.