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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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