Muffin genealogy

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Englilsh muffins

Englilsh muffins (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune)

I grew up with the English muffin; I know its habits. It comes from the grocery store, lives in the fridge, and has a thing for the toaster. It's quirky: brown spotted, fork split, craggy faced. I didn't pry.

Then I tried to make one. Turns out the muffin has a background, a heritage, a past.

I mixed a bread dough enriched with butter and milk. I patted it flat, punched out rounds, then read: griddle. Who knew?

Anyone who's made an English muffin, I suppose. Or who's studied its lineage. The English muffin is a direct descendant of the crumpet, a yeast-raised, griddle-crisped pancake. Turns out the English muffin is, well, English.

As I worked, I watched the muffin strike its classic pose: brown sides, perforated perimeter, craggy center. It was good to see my old friend, anew.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.

Twitter @leaheskin

English muffins

Prep: 30 minutes

Wait: 90 minutes

Makes: About 1 dozen (double-sided) muffins

1/2 cup warm water

2 teaspoons honey

2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus a little

Salted butter, for griddle

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