In search of an English Muffin Recipe – Part 1

Maybe I really don’t know what an English muffin should taste like, since the Ruhlman recipe that I used seemed more like a crumpet or johnny cake and less like the English muffin that you would normally get at the grocery store. Personally I think it has to do with the egg & baking powder that was added. Which gave the muffin a yellow tint, and more of a cake like taste, instead of a bread like taste.

Right now I have at least two more recipes to try, before I make any kind of final verdict on homemade English Muffins. One of the other recipes I want to try is from King Arthur Flour and another is from Momofuku (which I found by accident.) I’ve also thought about using a Ciabatta or Focaccia recipe to see how it would turn out as an English muffin as well, but I’m more on the fence on this item.

But here are some tips, if you plan on using the recipe from Ruhlman:
1) You’ll need to adjust the heat to between a #4 & #5 setting on an electric range. Since I noticed that the pan heat fluctuated quite a bit, depending on how many muffins were being cooked in the dry pan.
2) To speed up the cooking time, I discovered that you could cover the frying pan with a lid while the muffins are cooking in the cornmeal. But make sure to only cover the pan after you have turned over the muffin, since the top of the muffin will set if you cover the pan before flipping the muffin.
3) Personally, I really don’t know if the baking powder added any thing to the dough/batter in this recipe. Since the baking powder and the egg, makes me think that this is more of a pancake recipe, and less of a bread recipe.
4) An 3.75″ ring is a must, for making these muffins. That is unless you want English muffin pancakes (see point #3). So consider getting yourself at least three rings, so that you can make three muffins at once in the pan. Also don’t try using a biscuit cutting ring, since you’ll only make a mess in the pan.
5)Also don’t forget to butter the rings, before pouring in the batter/dough.
6) I’m just throwing this out there, but I wonder how these muffins would turn out being baked in the oven, instead of cooked in a cornmeal coated frying pan. Consider this just something to think about.
7) So how’s it taste? Pretty good, but not really what I was expecting. Also this muffin recipe seems to go better with a fruit spread (jam, jelly or preserve) then with butter on top.

So with that, the journey continues for more of a bread like English Muffin recipe.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – v1

This recipe ended up being just the first of many future recipes, in trying to use up 9 lbs of rolled oats that I picked up at Sam’s Club for a dinner party desert. And seeing how I can only eat so much hot oatmeal for breakfast, it was time to starting getting a bit creative on the recipe front.

I wasn’t really in the mood for oatmeal raisin cookies, but on the other hand I had a bag of chocolate chips just sitting on the shelf doing nothing. So between the regular Toll House recipe on the bag of chips, the Quaker oatmeal raisin recipe on the bottom of the lid, and this oatmeal chocolate chip recipe I found on the Quaker Oats site, here was the recipe that I ended up coming up with:


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat brown sugar, white sugar and butter in a stand mixer until creamy. Then beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Finally mix in the oats and chocolate chips; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan.

Bake for 11 minutes for chewy cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; then remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Side Notes:
1) I tired one of the cookies after it had cooled, and it was good, but maybe not 100% what I was expecting. So let me put it to you this way. On their own, both the regular Toll House recipe for chocolate chip cookies, we well as the recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies from Quaker Oats are good recipes. But combined together into this mash-up, it just doesn’t deliver as expected. So in this case, the parts are greater than the sum of the two recipes.
2) I ended up freezing half the batch of cookies, to see how they would taste re-heated in the microwave. And the verdict…..not so good. So don’t plan any long term storage in the freezer for this cookie recipe, after they have been baked.
3) Personally, I’m going back to the drawing board for this recipe. So I’ll probably have to start digging through my recipe archives, to find a better recipe, since I really have no desire to make this recipe again in it’s current form.

Quaker Oats – Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe
Original Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe

Pita Bread Recipe – v2 & v3

After making pita bread with the original recipe, I noticed that the pitas would get very tough, almost leather like once the pita’s had cooled from baking. So I started flipping through this old bread baking book that I own for some problem solving help. And in the bread books recipe for pita bread it mentioned that if your pitas are very tough after baking, that it usually means that the bread has too much gluten. They recommended that the easiest way to correct the issue is that instead of using all high gluten/bread flour, to go with a 50/50 mix of bread flour and all purpose flour. So for version 2 of the recipe, I went with the 50/50 mix and kept anything else the same. Well this batch of 50/50 pitas still turned out tough. So after that little experiment failed (as well as the books advise being total BS), I was pretty much out of idea’s on why my pita’s were coming out tough.

About a couple of months ago, I was doing some cooking for my sisters Halloween dinner party, and one of the dishes that I had to make were pizza shells for “candy corn pizza wedges” (don’t ask.) I used my normal pizza dough recipe, but the flour I used was a super high gluten flour from Cargill that my sister had on hand. Since the wedges were going to be baked a second time so that the cheese could melt to make the wedges look like candy corn. Instead of fully baking the dough, I just blind baked the pizza shells for 3 minutes instead of the usual 5 minutes.
Well that ended up being the key, as to why my pita’s were turning out tough. But the more that I thought about it the more it made sense. Since with a longer baking time, it will make the bread drier (think about how soft under baked bread can be.) So with a 5 min bake time, I was baking more of a pita cracker (or pita chip) instead of a soft pita bread. So for v3, the only change was reducing the baking time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes on the original recipe.

One other change for v3 is that after I rolled out the pitas, I gave it a little extra time (5 to 10 minutes) of relaxing/rising time before popping the pita in the oven. One other thing that I still need to work, but that I’ve mentioned in the past, is not to roll out the pita too thin and basically working all the air pockets out of the dough. But both of these are just minor techniques that I need to keep working on with future batches of dough.

Side Note: I’m not posting any pics with this post, since the pitas pretty much look the same on the outside as the pitas in the original recipe.

Making Pita Bread

I’ve got a whole container full of hummus, and I’m out of pita bread and pita chips. So its time to try and make pita bread again. In the past, I’ve basically used a dough recipe that was just for “pita bread”, they of course turned out nothing like pita bread, but more like a pita puck. Continue reading

Kaiser Rolls – Failure to launch

Another bread recipe and another failed attempt. As you can probably tell from the texture shot toward the end, that there basically isn’t any texture inside the rolls. The crumbs from slicing have more texture then the finished kaiser roll. I can’t remember but I think I used bread flour instead of AP flour, so that might have been my downfall in these rolls.

Giving it a quick once over, it is remarkable that there are almost no air pockets in the interior of the bread. If I had made it flat, it probably would have made a better pita bread then kaiser roll. Well back to the drawing board as usual.

Ciabatta pics version 4

The forth time around they turned out a little bit better. I had a little bit of a deflation when the plastic wrap became stuck to two of the rolls. I need to come up with a better method to cover the ciabatta to let it rise before baking. I’d get a proofing cover, but I have a tiny kitchen and what else could a use a proofing cover for other then proofing bread? Continue reading

Recipe for ciabatta bread or Ciabatta my mind

Anyone hungry for hockey pucks? Who knew it was so easy to screw up making ciabatta bread. On my first attempt to make ciabatta, it looked and had the texture of a very crude biscuit. While all the while in the end all I had to do was nothing. Yeah nothing! With nothing being, just let the dough rise until it becomes a monster. Then bake it all up, for it to become the softest bread that I’ve ever made. So at the time of writing this post I’ve already made ciabatta three times, and here is what I’ve learned so far. Continue reading

Poorman’s garlic bread recipe

I learned this recipe in Germany a number of years back. When I learned this recipe from Nook, it was one of those recipes created out of necessity. You’re living in Germany, trying to make some food to remind you of home in the United States. So what better then spaghetti and meatballs, with a couple of pieces of garlic bread on the side? Continue reading

French Bread Baguette Recipe

I’ve always considered myself a better baker then cook; maybe it had to do with the exactness that is inherent with baking. So if you needed cakes or cookies, no problem. But bread, well that is another story. Can I make bread, yes. Does it taste, how that style of bread is supposed to taste, sometimes. With baking bread I’ve had very good luck making pizza dough, pretzels and bagels. So why not step up my game, and make one of my favorite breads, french baguettes. The whole idea of making french bread happened while I was making a sandwich with an Italian hoagie roll. I was looking at the hoagie roll, and realized that I was in a bread rut, and I needed something different. Continue reading