Bimbo Bakeries' Nooks & Crannies

There was no way that I could resist this headline. Couldn't do it!

I hadn't really planned to write about this story, because you've probably all heard about it by now, so it's old news. Just in case you don't know the story, below is slightly edited excerpt from the ABA Journal.
Only seven executives know all three parts of the recipe for Thomas’ English Muffins and their distinctive “nooks and crannies.” One of those executives, former senior vice president Chris Botticella, wants to take a new job with a competitor, Hostess Brands Inc. A federal appeals court based in Philadelphia is weighing whether the company that makes the muffins, Bimbo Bakeries USA, is entitled to an injunction barring Botticella from taking the new position.
Well, I had an Aha Moment while I was buttering my waffles this morning. You know when you butter the waffle and it starts melting into all the little squares, which are sort of like nooks and crannies? The syrup gets all stuck in there too and it's just one big plate of deliciousness?

So I was buttering and thinking about how the only reason that the little squares are possible is because of the waffle iron. Then the Thomas' English muffins nooks and crannies story came to mind. I thought, "Imagine if the only reason for the nooks and crannies is that they have a special pan or English muffin iron that creates the indentations similar to a waffle iron."

I made homemade English muffins two times and there were no nooks and crannies. I was highly disappointed.

One of the things that I found surprising about making English muffins from scratch was the process. They are not baked. They are cooked on top of the stove in a skillet.

Maybe one of the three parts of the Thomas' English Muffins recipe has more to do with a special pan rather than actual ingredients? I wonder.

Do any of you have a theory about the secret to the nooks and crannies?

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alessandra said…
You made me curious about English Muffins, since I knew nothing about them, thanks.
May be I found the answer here, oh, and I will do them:
Tracy said…
LOVE that title, Anali! I've not made English muffins before... I should give that a try and see about those crannies ;o) Happy Summer Days ((HUGS))
Large holes and spaces in any sort of bread are due to the gasses produced during fermentation of the yeast--the punching-down of traditional bread after rising squeezes out the excess air (it's CO2) and the kneading and forming develop stronger strands of gluten, strengthening the network of cells the remaining CO2 can work within.

My educated guess (hey, that culinary degree occasionally comes in handy!) would be that the nooks and crannies might be a product of deliberate over-proofing. Just like Hershey's chocolate has that distinctive taste (compared to European chocolate) from the slight souring of the milk during production, sometimes good things come out of processes that might otherwise be considered "wrong."
starry said…
I had never given so much thought to the nooks and crannies before,But I also think it is due to the fermentation process.In India we make something called a dosa with rice/lentils ,something like a pancake cooked on a skillet, the fermentation of the lentils brings out tiny holes.
Lisa Johnson said…
alessandra - That's so interesting! I thought that people ate them everywhere. I'd like to know how yours turn out.

tracy - Glad you enjoyed my bad humor! ; )

scraps - Wow! Thanks for the scientific breakdown! I guess I have to do some more fiddling with the recipe.

starry - As I write this, I'm a bit hungry and that dosa sounds so good!

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