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  Oven bottom muffins... the bagel of the North.

Muffin Stories


Ronald Hansen writes:

As an ex-Oldhamer I was interested in your web site. Only this morning I was talking to a friend of mine (also from Oldham). During the conversation the subject of "OVEN BOTTOM MUFFINS" came up. As an retired baker I have made thousands of them. We both remembered buying these muffins from a shop on Union Street, and boy were they good! We both lived in Hollinwood and on the way home from the school swimming lesson at Hollinwood Baths on Heron Street we bought some hot muffins. The ideal thing then was to break open the crust and scoop out the middle. After a swim there was nothing better. My friend asked me whatever happend to a good old Oldham muffin? I could not answer his question. The ones that can be bought in the Supermarkets are nothing like the original thing. We also thought about making some, but my recipe has long gone, and even so I can't see them being the same as they would have been baked on the deck of an old coke oven. I would like to finish by saying to the Bakers of Oldham: "BRING BACK THE MUFFINS!"


Georgina writes:

I don't know what posessed me to even type in "Declerks Muffins" into google, but I did and now I'm sat here with me mother who is now reminicing about muffins. She's now screaming at me saying that she used to work in a confectioners in Waterhead called Haynes' where they made oven bottom muffins. She also remembers buying them from "th'arcade" and Oldham market. She used to like breaking them open, scraping out the middle then fill the muffin with chips. She's also saying that if you bought them from't "th'arcade" you could also have it filled with ham and tomato. She has also screamed at me, "All they f**king sold was muffins!" (Mother doesn't normally swear but she's a bit uppity about this subject.) Now we're living in Scotland and have been for the past 16 years or so and to be honest we miss some of the things that go on back home including our dialect. Not only that but here in Scotland; they can't make proper bread, mushy peas don't exist, their fish and chips are diabolical and they just can't seem to get their heads round the fact that chips with gravy is quite possibly the best food coupling ever. Infact the chippys up here are so wrong, every time we go back home we gorge ourselves on them and won't eat anything out of a Scottish chippy. Mother is now wittering on about the chippy on Union Street... If they could make a decent oven bottom muffin in these parts, it'd make living here just ever so slightly more bearable. In fact if they could make a decent meat pie that'd be a start.


Graham writes:

Thanks for the memories! I lived in Radcliffe, near bury, and lots of the local bakers (one on the corner of each street!!) sold Oven Bottoms.
I loved them. I now live in Oregon, USA, I have a small deli shop, selling cheese, beer and wine, and would love to bake, and sell oven bottoms! Cheers!

Cathy Hornby (Catherine O'Dea in the muffin days!) writes:

Well - what a delight to find two of the most iconic foodstuffs of my youth celebrated on your lovely webpages! When I was young - actually too young to be legally 'employed' but desperate to earn some money - I worked from 7am to 6pm on one of the tiny not-much-more-than-a-bar-to-lean-on-and-three-sitting-down-table cafes in Oldham's original covered market. Lance's cafe was frequented first - very early - by the other traders for breakfasts, then queues and queues of folk came all day for bacon butties,fried-egg-on muffin, tater 'ash, teas, milkshakes, hot vimto etc etc. My Saturday morning started, every week, by slicing and buttering three trays of muffins before trade started - how I loved and hated those floury, flat beautiful smelling but seemingly never-ending mountains of bread! When as an adult I moved to Newcastle, there were no muffins, but something similar - not quite so dense, but otherwise appearing the same except in size.... about two and a half times bigger... came the stottie! But it somehow didn't have that lovely muffinness I remembered. So thankyou for triggering this flood of memory! Of course, there were also those rag puddings...... :)


Rebecca writes:

Oh my God why hasn't this protoype taken? It could have put Oldham on the map. I love these muffins. I live in the south west and they have no idea down here what a proper muffin is.
Your right they are the eqivilant to a bagel. Bring back the muffins. There is still a bakers on abbey hills road who still does them. Everytime we go back up north we stock up on them....
I will be trying your recipe today, I'm really excited about trying it.... Thanks for posting the recipe....you have made my day.

      © 2008 Mat Bennion