You've Been Splitting English Muffins Wrong Your Entire Life

If you've ever watched "Everybody Loves Raymond" characters Frank and Marie Barone argue about English muffins, you likely felt as conflicted as they did. After all, what exactly does "fork split" mean? Frank contended that it meant you were supposed to split it open with a fork, while Marie retorted that it meant they had started the split with a fork at the factory. Both explanations seem plausible, but which one is, in fact, right? 

According to Parade, Thomas' English muffins are designed to be split in half with a fork in order to best protect those signature "nooks and crannies." If your bag of floury goodness says "fork split," listen to it. Using a knife will only flatten out the holes and leave you with the round equivalent of a slice of bread. With countless websites offering this advice, it must be right. Right? It turns out that using a fork isn't wrong, it's just not best. 

So step away from your cutlery drawer. One TikToker has a whole new take on the term "fork split" and the best way to divide the sides of your English muffin. 

You can split your English muffin without a single utensil

TikToker Stephanie Reynolds, aka @r_eginageorge, has discovered the secret to achieving English muffin perfection — and no utensils are required. All you need are your own two hands. Reynolds holds up an intact specimen and points out how the edges are perforated (or as Marie Barone would say, "fork split") when you buy them.

She goes on to explain that all you need to do is "roll the English muffin in your hands, squeeze the sides, and it comes apart." Voila. What she's left with is a scrumptious-looking carb covered completely with perfect pocks. And Reynolds herself can't hide her surprise at discovering this English muffin hack. She playfully asks her viewers, "Did all you guys know and not tell me?" Nope. The vast majority of commenters didn't know. And knife-wielding breakfast eaters across America were likely in the dark about this method, too. 

You're likely dying to give this mind-blowingly simple English muffin tip a test run right now. Happy spinning and squeezing and admiring your crannies.  

The term 'English muffin' is misleading

English muffins are a breakfast staple in many Americans' diets. Nothing else boasts those flavor-capturing nooks and crannies, capable of entrapping the yummy taste of salty butter, sweet jam, melted hazelnut spread, or even a runny egg. 

This trusty bread product also has the auspicious role of being the base for the McDonald's Egg McMuffin, the original fast-food breakfast sandwich that became a nationwide hit when it first appeared in 1976 (per NPR). English muffins also play an important role in Eggs Benedict.

But interestingly, English muffins aren't even English. They were invented by Samuel Bath Thomas, a British immigrant, but they were created in the United States. And as The Kitchn adds, they're called "American muffins" in grocery stores across the United Kingdom. To make things even more confusing, they bear zero resemblance to traditional muffins, making the term "English muffin" a nonsensical misnomer. Yet, despite the misleading name, Thomas' company would go on to produce Thomas' English muffins for years to come and remains the world's authority on this pock-filled baked good. 

Thomas' English muffin recipe is a closely guarded secret

So, how did the brand's new edible invention come to fruition? Thomas' inspiration for this alternative to toast was the British crumpet, according to Parade. In fact, The Nibble notes that Samuel Bath Thomas originally referred to his product as a "toaster crumpet." But while both the crumpet and the English muffin are flat, round, bread-based products with indentations, there are quite a few differences between crumpets and English muffins

The Kitchn explains that English muffins lack the moistness of a crumpet, contain no baking soda, are split in two rather than eaten intact, and have their holes on the inside rather than on the top. And while the British still enjoy their crumpets, they've pretty much vanished in America (per The Nibble). Yes, bye-bye crumpet. This is an English muffin nation now.

And the company behind these English muffins is very protective of its recipe and the secrets behind those billowy holes filled with air. According to The New York Times, as of 2010, only seven people knew how the signature nooks and crannies are achieved. This closely guarded tidbit of information is right up there with classified government documents and the Secret Service.