Breakfast Break

Egg, Meet Muffin

Solving the mystery of how to bake a perfectly poached egg inside a muffin.

By Katharine Shilcutt February 12, 2014

How does Craftsman & Wolves get a perfect yolk every time? Insanity.

The unassuming sign in the breakfast pastry case at Craftsman & Wolves doesn't reveal much about the pudgy little muffins to the far left. "The Rebel Within," reads the label. "Asiago, sausage, green onion, soft cooked farm egg." The first odd thing you'll notice about The Rebel Within isn't that sign, or its average shape, but its density. It's heavy. When it's handed over the counter to you at the popular San Francisco bakery, you'll be surprised at the weight of the thing in its simple brown paper bag.

And then you begin eating it. If you're lucky, you'll have a friend with you who's had The Rebel Within before. "Watch out," she'll warn you. "The yolk spills out." And then you'll realize exactly what that label meant when it said "soft cooked farm egg," there at the end like it was just an afterthought. There is an entire egg in this muffin. It's expertly and wonderfully cooked, the white still soft and the golden yolk creating a sauce for your breakfast pastry from within. It's essentially the world's perfect muffin.

The Rebel Within at Craftsman & Wolves has been more or less the bakery's signature pastry since opening in the Mission District last summer. The bakery has never officially published a recipe for The Rebel Within, though it's given its fans an idea of what goes into the batter with a playful illustration you can see behind the pastry case. But if you're anything like me, you can't enjoy something this magical without wanting to know how to make it yourself back home.

The Rebel Within, far left.

San Francisco food blog Follow Me Foodie claims to have figured it all out, embarking on a series of rigorous baking trials not normally seen outside of America's Test Kitchen. The secrets, they say: precisely soft boiled eggs, popover molds, and a piping bag, as well as an extraordinary amount of patience and dexterity. An insane amount of patience and dexterity.

Maybe too much patience for me, in fact. On the other hand, I'm glad someone put in the work to figure out this recipe should I have enough time one Saturday morning to bake a tray of Rebels myself—that is, if I don't decide to fly back to San Francisco just for breakfast and get a perfect specimen made with love and insanity by Craftsman & Wolves.


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