The name muffin is given to two types of breadstuffs, one a yeast-leavened item, and the other a "quick" bread raised with baking powder or baking soda.
In the United Kingdom, "muffin" refers to what is known in much of the English-speaking world as an English muffin. This yeast-raised muffin is the older of the two, appearing as a word in Britain around the 11th century A.D. Moufflet in Old French meant "soft" in reference to bread.
在英国，"Muffin"一词通常含有 "English muffin"之意（英式Muffin)。这是两种Muffine中出现较早的一种，大约出现在公元11世纪时的英国。Moufflet在旧式法语中用来形容面包的“柔软”感觉。
The "quick" muffin is an American development from the 19th century, made possible by the invention of baking powder. This muffin is a thick, flat bun typically about 8 cm in diameter. In modern practice, it almost always has a "topping" baked in, such as blueberries or chocolate chips. It usually split into two, toasted and buttered, and bears a vague resemblance to a crumpet or pikelet.
Fannie Merritt Farmer in her Boston Cooking-School Cook Book of 1896 gave recipes for both types of muffins, distinguishing one as "raised" and adding instructions for a version that is nearly identical to today's "English muffin". Here the raised-muffin mixture was cooked in muffin rings on a griddle, and flipped to brown both sides, producing a grilled muffin. Farmer indicated this was a useful method when baking in an oven was not practical.
Fannie Merritt Farmer在她所著的《1896年波士顿烹饪学校烹饪书》中给出了这两种muffin的食谱，其中一种需要“烘制”的烹饪方法与今日的 "English muffin" 如出一辙。书中讲述做这种muffin要将muffin的模子放在架子上，然后轻轻拍打两面直到变棕，从而制作出一种烤出来的muffin。Farmer声明这是在没有烤箱的情况下很有用的一种烹饪muffin的方法。
The "quick" muffins may have started out as a form of small cake, or possibly an adaptation of cornbread. Early versions of these muffins tend to be less sweet and much less varied in ingredients than their contemporary forms. Made quickly and easily, they were useful as a breakfast food. They also rapidly grew stale, which prevented them from being a marketable baked good, and they were not seen much outside home kitchens until the mid-20th century. Recipes tended to be limited to different grains (corn, wheat bran, or oatmeal) and a few readily available additives (raisins, apples in some form, or nuts). Farmer listed 15 recipes of this type in 1896, of which there were two each of "one-egg", "berry", oat, graham flour, and rye; one with cornmeal, one with cooked rice, and the remaining three slightly enriched versions of the plain "one-egg" muffin.
Farmer used the term gem for her corn recipe, which was a muffin baked in a pan of lozenge shapes rather than circular cups. With the invention of muffin paper cups, hard-to-clean iron gem pans lost popularity, and are rarely used today, although corn muffins baked in the form of ears of corn remain a tradition. The development of non-stick pans has allowed the production of very elaborate muffin shapes (animals, holiday motifs, etc.), but the circular muffin remains the norm.
In the 1950s, packaged muffin mixes were introduced by several American companies. By the 1960s, attempts were being made to treat the muffin like the doughnut as a franchise food business opportunity. Coffee shop-style restaurant chains appeared, featuring a wide variety of muffins. These tended to be regional, such as The Pewter Pot in southern New England. No such business has emerged nationally in the US (although doughnut chains have edged into the business), but Australia's Muffin Break has spread to New Zealand and the UK, featuring the American-style muffin.
1950年代，在美国有几家公司推出了包装好的muffin产品。进入1960年代后，有人将muffin看作像甜纳圈那样的饮食业商机而尝试连锁经营。咖啡店式的饭馆连锁业的出现产生了大量不同品种的muffin。结果在美国形成了地区性的食品连锁，如座落在美国南新英格兰的The Pewter Pot，但是没有一家店能够覆盖全美；而在大洋另一边，提供美式muffin的澳大利亚Muffin Break连锁店则将商业扩展到了纽西兰和英国。
A somewhat odd combination of circumstances in the 1970s and 1980s led to significant changes in what had been a rather simple, if not prosaic, food. The decline in home-baking, the health food movement, the rise of the specialty food shop, and the gourmet coffee trend (exemplified by Starbucks) all contributed to the creation of what is now the standard contemporary muffin.
Preservatives in muffin mixes led to the expectation that muffins did not have to go stale within hours of baking, but the resulting muffins were not a taste improvement over homemade. On the other hand, the baked muffin, even if from a mix, seemed almost good for one compared to the fat-laden alternatives of doughnuts and Danish pastry. "Healthful" muffin recipes using whole grains and such "natural" things as yoghurt and various vegetables evolved rapidly. But for "healthy" muffins to have any shelf-life without artificial preservatives, the sugar and fat content needed to be increased. The rising market for gourmet snacks to accompany gourmet coffees resulted in fancier concoctions in greater bulk than the original modestly-sized corn muffin. Today it is not unusual to find a muffin along the lines of "coconut-almond-cherry-chocolate" the size of a small baby's head.
The marketing trend toward larger muffins also resulted in new muffin pan types for home-baking, not only for increased size. Since the area ratio of muffin top to muffin bottom changed considerably when the traditional small round exploded into a giant mushroom, consumers became more aware of the difference between the soft texture of tops, allowed to rise unfettered, and rougher, tougher bottoms, restricted by the pans. There was a brief foray into pans which could produce "all-top" muffins, i.e., extremely shallow, large-diameter cups. However, the reality of muffin physics prevented the fad from getting very far.