Learning from Mistakes

Impatience – A Cautionary Tale


I thought it would be fun to make English Muffins this morning.  I have a couple of sourdough recipes, so I found one and threw the ingredients together, and, in my haste and my distractedness, I neglected to factor in the time needed for the batter to rise.  And even when I thought – duh! – that of course it would need time to rise.  It's a yeasted batter, dope.  (I was referring to me, not you.)   Of course it needs time.

But I didn't want to wait.  I wanted it to hurry up and get puffy so I could feed my hungry family.

So…I am ashamed to say…I manipulated the batter.  I dissolved some baking soda in some water, and folded that into the batter. 

And it didn't really do much of anything.  It made it a bit more bubbly.  I added more water, too, so it would be thinner and, I reasoned, would rise better.

And so, in my stubborn, impatient, stoooooooooopid mood, I proceeded. 

I greased some round cookie cutters because I couldn't find Bill's mom's english muffin rings because my pantry is a mess and I need to clean it out and reorganize it very, very soon, I know, I know.

And I started cooking my batter in the greased rings on the hot, greased griddle.

And, if you scroll back up and look at the picture, you can see that they look fine.

So, to check the insides, I started to "fork split" one.  Because, you know, that's what you do with English Muffins if you want them to have all those nooks and crannies for your melted butter.


And when I pulled the fork out…



It's all gummy inside. 

Now, yes, I could have cooked the muffins longer.  But they were already getting too dark on one side.

No…they are gummy inside because they have no lift.  I didn't let the yeast work at its own pace. 

I was not…patient.

I continued on with the fork, poking and poking and poking and coming out with gummy bits of dough.  On more than one muffin, by the way. 


Yeah.  I know.  That's REAL appetizing.

Want a closer look?


Sure, there are some nooks there…IMG_7860 

but these things were dense and heavy – not light and airy.

And I have no one to blame but my own impatient, in-a-hurry self.


And so I took pictures of my failed product in order to show you what can go wrong.

And why…with yeast…you must…be…patient.

9 thoughts on “Impatience – A Cautionary Tale

  1. I feel your pain. If it’s one thing baking with yeast and sourdough starter has taught me it’s patience. The good part is, one you learn that patience through baking it sort of leaks into other areas of your life. I have a sourdough no-knead loaf “rising” right now and so far it looks like a big gloppy puddle. I’m baking anyway but once in awhile who knows what happens. You’ll get it perfect next time!


  2. aww….dang, I hate it when that happens. But I love it when people post the truth about their cooking projects. Not everything is gorgeous, not everything works, some nights you just eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and are happy enough with that, sometimes you’re distracted and things flop, sometimes things flop for no good reason. And most of the time things work and are gorgeous. I hope you had something else yummy for breakfast!

  3. Trish – it’s funny – usually I’m very patient with breads. They can take all day if they need to. But for whatever reason, I just wanted everything to HURRY UP!!! this morning. Ah well.

    chocolatechic – I’ll make them again – probably next weekend. I’ve made them before – different recipe, though. I just need to adjust my thinking before I tackle them again!

    Lori – the funny thing is, I was the only person NOT happy with them for breakfast. I made an egg and cheese sandwich with them for my husband – he loved it. I put peanutbutter and homemade jam on one for my son – he had seconds. And my daughter had hers with butter and a fried egg. She was happy, too. I was the only one muttering and cursing under my breath.

    Ralph – that’s just about enough out of you. 🙂

  4. Oh I am sorry and I must admit that sometimes I have done that same thing thinking I can out manipulate the recipe when I’m in a hurry. It’s a shame-they’re still edible but not what you wanted.

  5. English muffins always remind me of the crack-snack my mom used to make every once in a great while when I was a kid (and thank goodness she spaced out the time between batches.. whew!). She’d take a can of Old English cheese spread, a tin of crabmeat that she’d drained and mix that with a stick of melted butter. This buttery, cheesey, crabby concoction would then be spooned onto english muffins and toasted under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

    Even contemplating them on homemade english muffins makes me want to leave my desk and go home to make them. I have to have them RIGHT NOW.

    Alas, that’s not likely to happen, so I will just pine and annoy the people around me until I can!

    Is the recipe for the english muffins one that you’ve posted before?

  6. Rachel E.,

    No – I haven’t posted a recipe for english muffins yet – I wasn’t even taking pictures the other day so I think I’ll do them again, take pictures, take my time, and do it right. That snack you mentioned – that sounds strikingly similar to a recipe a good friend of the family gave to my mom for inclusion in a cookbook of family and friend recipes – which was then given to me at my wedding shower. I think she would cut the english muffins (with the cheese and crab topping) into wedges and serve them as appetizers at parties. Hmmm…crack-snack, you say. I’ll have to make them, I think!

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