Muffin n. a small, cup-shaped bread, often sweetened and usually served hot.
The derivation of the word muffin comes from the French phrase moufflet that’s often times employed to bread and means soft.
The two main types of muffins are English muffins and American style muffins. They vary in style as well as flavor and history.
English muffins are a level yeast raised muffin with nooks and crannies that are cooked on a hot griddle. Early English muffins were cooked in muffin rings which were hooplike and put right on a stove or the bottom of a skillet.
American style muffins on the other hand are more of a quick bread that is made in individual molds. The molds are necessary due to the mixture being a batter as opposed to dough. These muffins were initially leavened with potash which produces carbon dioxide gas in the batter. When baking powder was created around 1857 it put an end to the use of potash as well as to the profitable potash exports to the old country.
Muffin recipes first began to appear in print in the mid 18th century and quickly caught on. By the 19th century muffin men walked the roads of England at tea time to sell there muffins. They wore trays of English muffins on there heads and rang there bells to call clients to there wares.
Three states in the United States of America have adopted official muffins. Massachusetts in 1986 adopted the Corn Muffin as the official state muffin. Then in 1987 New York took on the Apple Muffin as its official muffin of choice.
So the next time you bite into a hot muffin consider its sweet history.