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David Lissner
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A New American Tradition: The History of Bays English Muffins Bakery

Original Muffins

Bay’s English Muffins

Across the ocean in 1933, George W. Bay opened a bakery in Chicago’s downtown Loop district starting a new chapter in baking history. He sold English muffins with orange marmalade — a Bay family tradition. Using the original recipe his English grandmother brought to this country in the 1800s, George Bay made English muffins with only top-quality ingredients.

Sold by the dozen in brown paper bags, the muffins were hand-delivered to bakeries, restaurants, hotels and private clubs. Soon Americans made English muffins a favorite breakfast meal. In 1938, Bays Corporation was one of the first companies to package their English muffins in a box with a cellophane window. The muffins were sold by the half dozen and distributed to major grocery stores including Jewel and National Tea Stores. As the English muffin gained acceptance in the U.S., it lost popularity in its homeland. By the 1950s, it was rumored that the Queen Mother, unable to find muffins commercially, had established a source for her own private supply. In the early 1970s, McDonald’s introduced the highly successful Egg McMuffin – a delicious Canadian-style bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a toasted Bays English Muffin.

Today, Bays continues to carry on the family tradition – operating as a family business and adhering to the authentic, original recipe. Bays maintains its standard of excellence using only Hawaiian cane sugar, Minnesota spring wheat and whole milk, Wisconsin AA butter, and potato flour.


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