The following muffin recipe was commonly eaten and much enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson and his family. The original "receipt," as well as instructions from one of Jefferson's grandsons on how best to eat the muffins, are found in the "Fun Fact" sidebar of this section.
4 cups of flour
1 1/2 packets of yeast
1 1/2 cups water
cast iron griddle
Mix flour, yeast, and water. Dough will be very sticky. Coat your hands in flour before kneading the dough. While kneading, continue to add small amounts of flour to the dough until the stickiness disappears and the dough becomes more solid. You may find you add as much as 1/2 cup more flour during this process.
Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with a towel, and leave in a warm place overnight. The dough should more than double by morning. The underside of the dough may be a bit sticky -- if so, knead it a bit more. Using your hands, shape the muffins into small golf-ball sized balls. Set the muffins aside, cover with a towel, and let rise for an hour.
Preheat ungreased griddle over medium heat. Add shaped muffins to griddle and cook for about five minutes on each side.
The muffins will look like biscuits on the outside and English muffins on the inside. Serve immediately. Makes two dozen small muffins.
-- developed from the original recipe by Monticello staff members Susan McCrary and Katherine G. Revell
Pictured: Silver flatware Jefferson brought from France; photograph by Edward Owen