When most Americans think the English muffins, they probably think the Thomas". However an upstart bakery called rock & Skillet is reinventing the English muffin together something that goes beyond morning toast.

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The three-year-old firm started in Medford, Massachusetts, and is now broadening to the Northeast an ar of the U.S., with aims to go also farther.

Here & Now"s Jeremy Hobson visits the rock & Skillet bakery and also speaks v co-owners Dan Crothers (
Km0436) around the challenges of rapid growth and huge brand-name competition.

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Interview Highlights

On what renders their English muffins different

Dan Crothers: "Well, ns think the biggest difference in ours muffins compared to what Thomas" is, is the means that it"s made. Again, it"s every handmade. Lock don"t see any kind of ovens, they"re flat-top griddles, therefore it offers it a nice, golden-brown top and bottom. ... I mean it"s virtually like a savory doughnut. What"s nice around kind the griddling them top top the flat tops is you obtain that fried cornmeal, but you also get sort of crispy top and bottom, and also like the quite soft, pillowy inside, too. So there"s a lot of of various textures walking on there, therefore that ns think is the best thing that differentiates united state from the English muffins that, you know, most world are supplied to."

In this 2015 file photo, a thermometer reflects an inner temperature the 205 degrees, before pulling English muffins turn off the grill. (Jesse Costa/rwandachamber.org)

On how they determined to acquire into the English muffin business

Kyle Meekins: "I had the idea when I was functioning for another artisan bakery as a salesman. Dan to be a cook in Boston, and also we had actually a many mutual chef friends, and also every time ns went to try to do a bread sale, they would certainly say, "Hey, carry out you guys have any type of English muffins?" and I"d go ago to my boss and he"d say, "Well us don"t do them. That"s no really baking, it"s kind of this in between cooking and also baking." I concerned Dan and I said, "We have our chief friends, they"re curing your own back bacon. They"re poaching their eggs in champagne vinegar, and they"re putting it ~ above a Thomas" English muffin, and also it"s not necessarily the ideal application because that them. For this reason let"s develop the finest English muffin in the world, and see what happens.""

Rory Lee preps the muffin dough at rock & Skillet in 2015. (Jesse Costa/rwandachamber.org)

On how entirety Foods began carrying their muffins

KM: "We were at the Boston Food Festival, and we lugged what we thought was sufficient product for the whole five-, six-hour event. And we ultimately ended up running out in an hour. However while we were there, someone came approximately me and said, "Are you guys in totality Foods?" and I said, "No, you know, we"ve constantly thought we have to be, however we"re not." and he said, "That"s due to the fact that you haven"t met me yet." and he became one that the local foragers. And also within a few months, we were in every entirety Foods in new England, and kinda took turn off from there. ... We"ve expanded out to the new York, brand-new Jersey, Connecticut entirety Foods. And we"re in discussions with the mid-Atlantic an ar and the Rocky Mountain an ar as well."

On finding brand-new space and also equipment

DC: "The walls space closing in, and also we"re looking, proactively looking, for much bigger spaces in and also around Boston. We want to continue to be in Boston, since it"s our hometown, and we sort of case that old brand-new England style, therefore it"s part of the brand. But we"re proactively looking for more automation, something that keeps the verity of the product, but also is able to supply the need that we"re starting to identify nationally."

In this 2015 record photo, finished English muffins are put in bags at rock & Skillet. (Jesse Costa/rwandachamber.org)

On the greatest failure they"ve experienced so far

KM: "Wow. Exactly how much time perform you have? (laughs) We grew too rapidly. We lugged on people on our team yes, really quickly, we ramped up because that projected sales that didn"t hit as quickly as we believed they would. And then we backed off and also the sales hit, so it"s just this... When you"re growing, you"re constantly trying to discover the right ratio of expansion to kind of profit."

On whether they"re quiet concerned around the company succeeding

KM: "Well, I typical they speak it"s the an initial 18 months, and also then, you know, you"re in the clear. However I can tell you that that is no the case. You"re constantly at risk."

Bagging increase the perfect English muffins. (Jesse Costa/rwandachamber.org)

This write-up was initially published on may 08, 2017.