The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Corn Muffins and Pancakes

Sparkie's picture

Corn Muffins and Pancakes

Ok Ok, so here it goes.


1) Commercial corn muffins taste more like corn then mine, I use stone ground cornmeal and yet a cheap box of mix taste more corn like then mine. .... type of corn, (ground popcorn maybe??)

Limed corn which health wise is better in some ways to regular, tastes crappy, I do not eat nacho's I want oily Evil Salty American corn chips, they taste better.

Taste is subjective , but for me Frito's beats every truly Mexican Nacho Chip I have ever had. When I buy them, I admonish all, to eat ALLL the Nacho's first, then I will share, if not , they eat mine then eat theirs!


WHY? and a recipe please.


2) Pancakes, same issue, what makes simple white flour pancakes from a box almost universally taste the same. I almost never make them, but on rare occasion I want to.  Normally I sorta follow Betty Crocker's recipe, and add some corn/oatmeal/whole wheat /rye/millet.

Years ago I added powdered dairy whey and that was great, but, it was not a panacea. (plain dairy whey, not body builder stuff that has a lot of additives.

I am convinced it is a flavorant, but it could be a vitamin.


I hope there is someone who can help!



Martadella's picture

I have no idea about corn muffins, but the taste of pancakes is helped with barley malt. They also brown super nice when you add malt to the batter

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

I second the use of malt in pancakes to get closer to that pancake house flavor. Here's a recipe I found at King Arthur, or you can add malt to taste in your favorite recipe (in place of all or part of any sugar that might already be in the recipe).


Sparkie's picture

What kind of malt? I used to go to healthfood stores to buy malt and dairy whey. Now those things are no longer carried, or in case of malt altered to a fractional part and flavored.


So inexpensive if you please a source for malt, plain, and dairy whey plain. I know when I added those Secret ingredient 256 and 733 many items were better.  (fried foods). And I never told anyone what I used.


Is the malt I want pure malt, or does it have added dextrose/glucose?  Diastatic malt??  Vs Plain Malt??



Martadella's picture

Just plain old diastatic barley malt powder. Probably easiest to buy online, amazon for example 

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Diastatic malt powder or, to be honest, for pancake and waffle batter you could use malted milk powder. Your local grocer may carry it. (Just don’t buy flavored malted milk powder, like chocolate or strawberry ;-). I use whichever I have on hand. Barley malt powder and malted milk powder are both available online.

Sparkie's picture

I guess then the question is what dies diastatic malt do that standard malt does not. Is one really sweet and the other little or no sweet, but performs magic in certain things, chemically acts as an enzyme or somthing like that??


Years ago I called Hecker's Flour company and asked " why does your sack of flour say, Ingredients: Wheat flour, malt"? (most flours do) . Eventually the oldest employee there, a woman, called me back. She was a food scientist of sorts and she told me "In years when the grain does not get as much rain as we would like, the grain makes less gluten. Adding a very minute amount of malt make a flour that when made into dough and allowed to sit makes more gluten. It is on all the bags because we never know if we will need it and we test every batch, to make sure the flour will work every time the same way, so by putting it on all, we never have to worry" . She also explained it was a very tiny amount, a whole 5 pound sack needed betwixt a teaspoon and a tablespoons of malt.

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

In the case of pancake batter, you could use either diastatic or non-diastatic malt because its purpose is only to provide flavor/sweetening and either one would accomplish that. Diastatic malt is simply sprouted barley (it could also be made with other sprouted grains, including wheat) which has been ground into a powder. It contains enzymes that promote yeast development and act as a dough conditioner. Used judiciously, it can lead to better rise, texture, flavor, and improved browning. Too much can have an adverse effect on the dough, however. In the case of non-diastatic malt, the enzymes have been deactivated, so the product is used for flavor and color.

I only mentioned malted milk powder because it is frequently sold in grocery stores so you wouldn't have to wait for an online order. There are ingredients in malted milk powder that you probably wouldn't want in your baguette dough, but would be fine in pancakes or waffles (powdered milk, for example). 

Hope this helps.


Sparkie's picture

The Ancient one at Heckers Flour told me hte malt is there in flour (if used) to improve the gluten content of dough, when the wheat is ground , if the gluten content of that batch was below par, due to lack of rain during the growing season! It was printed on all bags in ingredients, wheat flour, malt.  it ranged from 1 teaspoon to a tablespoon, infinitesimal at a teaspoon in 5 pounds of flour, but essential.


I used to use malt syrup (Blue Ribbon, Munton Fison, John Bull and others plus invert corn sugar(to add booze and more important, to lighten it) to make really wonderful beer.  But really god imported German Beer was just easier, due to time and space, our beer was perfect after 1.5 years of aging , and we made a lot!


But I have forgotten everything we did and gave away all the toys we used. I did not remember the diff between them, nor how they are used.  But it has been a few decades!


So if both are sweet, then I will look around for diastatic malt and a jar of whey powder. very good stuff in baking.







Kstbn's picture

I agree that Fritos have so much more flavor than tortillas! But as to corny corn muffins… I make cornbread/muffins different ways, depending on my mood or what I’m serving it with (try sweet ones with blueberries for breakfast!), but I’m from the South, and my go-to is White Lily Buttermilk Self Rising Cornmeal Mix. It’s not like the box ones (but I think it’s only available in stores in the Southeast US and Amazon, of course). It’s a 5 lb bag with flour and leavening mixed in. You add milk or buttermilk (I use buttermilk) and an egg, fat (we like bacon grease in the South), and a little sugar or honey, if you like. (Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t use sugar, but usually never more than a couple of tablespoons, unless I want really sweet corn muffins). I also use stone ground yellow cornmeal for a different type of cornbread, but I do mix it with some flour ( White Lily is my preference for my cornbread and biscuits as it’s low protein, about 9%.

All that aside, I don’t feel like my cornbread isn’t corny enough (though I’ve never used Jiffy box and the like, so maybe I’m missing the comparison). But if you really want corn flavor, just add corn! I sometimes throw in a cup of corn — either fresh, frozen-thawed-drained, or even canned (drained well). That might give you what you’re missing. (A chopped jalapeño is good in it, too).

charbono's picture

I have found that small differences in salt or sugar in the dough will significantly affect corn flavor. Of course, stone ground corn must be fresh. Popcorn has more fiber than dent corn, so I don't think it's best for flavor.

Both corn and tortilla chips are nixtamal products. Both are fried, but the tortilla chip is baked before frying. The finished corn chip has nearly 50% more oil. *

Pancake batter has many ingredients, making comparisons difficult.

*Edit: Source: Corn Chemistry and Technology, Ch 13 V, 1987, American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc.  Wikipedia is wrong.


clazar123's picture

I think a lot of what you are describing most likely involves the levels of salt and sugar.

Everyone loves my daughters pancakes. Turns out her recipe has 1/3 cup sugar for every 2 cups flour.

I like making pancakes with my sourdough discard to add some yeasty flavor. Adding some instant yeast and allowing it to bloom a while will do the same thing.

As far as corn muffins-most mixes are also laden with sugar and salt. That will fool your tastebuds into thinking there is more corn flavor. If you want to add more corn flavor, add a can of drained corn (naturally sweet) or a can of creamed corn (more added sugar,again).


happycat's picture

If you love processed foods, your palate is probably distorted by high sugar, salt and fat content... they are all flavour amplifiers.

You can reset your palate by taking those items out of your diet and you'll taste a lot more nuances in natural foods. I love a lot of stuff now I would never have imagined decades ago.

Sparkie's picture

Here is an article from cooks magazine on the subject, good reading if you are new to the subject of corn.  When I first found out about the process I realized why I did not like tortilla chips, I was used to Frito's . They have way way more taste (to me, everybody is different), and stood up to dip.

Teckies, enjoy

Akashkumar1's picture


I don't know about the muffin recipe, but I know about the cake recipe. but recently I have tried to make muffins at home but it's not cooked well. I had to make a cake for my brother on his birthday which was so delicious. I had asked for the cake recipe from my friend who worked in a bakery shop Pozo delight. he told me the recipe for the cake. 

rondayvous's picture

European settlers to the Americas didn't care for the taste of corn prepared by Indians. They were used to eating wheat and other soft grains. So, when they prepared corn and exported it to Europe and Africa, they made their own "better" recipes.

As a result, millions of people around the world died of pellagra. Corn-dependent populations in Europe, Africa and North America suffered from pellagra, a chronic niacin deficiency that brings on four progressively catastrophic “Ds”: diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death. The human body uses niacin, or vitamin B3, to control blood sugar, process fats, maintain healthy skin, and make new DNA. Early symptoms of pellagra include loss of appetite, irritability, and vomiting, followed by inflammation of the mouth and tongue and a scaly red rash on the hands and neck.

Fortunately, Corn is not a staple grain for most modern Americans, and the empty calories that satisfy our natural cravings for fat and salt are supplemented by more wholesome foods that supply our needs for B vitamins.