Randel Cooks

Midwest Home Chef

Mall Soft Pretzel


Pretzel Dough
1 1/2 cup warm water
4 oz melted butter
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups regular flour (or less due to humidity)

Water Bath

2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda


Coarse pretzel salt
3 tablespoons sweet butter (melted)**


Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve. Add flour and knead dough then add butter and knead until smooth and elastic. Let rise at least 1/2 hour.  Note this is a dry firm dough.

While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 2 cups warm water and 2 Tbsp baking soda. Place water and soda in a pan over medium low heat. Be certain to stir often and add enough water to allow pretzels to float.

After dough has risen, divide dough into 8 portions and roll each portion into a long rope* (about 1/2 inch or less thick and approximately 36 inches long) and shape rope into pretzel desired pretzel shape. Dip pretzel in soda solution, drain and place on  parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake in 450 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt. Enjoy!

* The longer and thinner you can make the dough rope, the more like Auntie Anne’s they will be.

** Sweet butter, not regular butter, is one of her secrets!




I like pizza, 0k I lied, I love Pizza.  Thick, thin, gourmet or grilled.



Great forum with great advice and check out this neat tool.



American Pizza Pie

Hall Family Recipe

1 quart water @ 100 degrees

up to neck on old quart jar

2 T yeast

4 T Sugar

combine and rest for 15 minutes

Add water mixture to Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook

Add king Arthur’s bread flour till dough cleans sides of bowl then and 1 t salt and knead for 15 minutes

Rise for 1 hour or until doubled

Make 6 12 inch pizzas

Note for softer crust use oil lined bowl for rise since adding oil to dough will soften the final crust.

NYC Pizza Pie

Vasanos Pizza Recipe

Using some of the above techniques

Add wood and light your Italian stone pizza oven if not …

Place pizza stone in oven at highest temp on lowest rack
Place additional second rack in the highest position

Place the following into Kitchen Aid Mixer with bread hook

2 cups filtered water room temp
2 T SAF instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey or about 4 T sugar (we like a sweeter crust)
1 t salt
4 cups Primo Gusto Pizza Flour (GFS) (more high gluten flour later)

Mix till combined and the next step is hard to do but necessary
Let dough rest in mixer for 20 minutes (Autolyse)
Knead for 5 minutes using 1/3 power (Wet Kneading)

Add additional high gluten flour slowly until dough pulls from bowl
Note however dough will be sticky place on floured board

Rest for initial rise till doubles in size
Punch down and divide into quarters
Shape each quarter into dough ball and wait till doubles
Hand shape into pizza
Place on wooden peal sprinkled with semolina four

Cover with toppings (more on this later)

Hopefully you have wood fired Italian stone pizza oven if not …

Bake on pizza stone in 550 degree oven until crust is brown
Place on top race of oven and brown toppings to GBD

Dough Calculator


Mellow Mushroom Copy Cat




Mellow Mushroom

Dewey’s Pizza


Lou Malnati’s 

Gino’s East Pizza

Pizzeria Uno (original location)



Wicks Pizza Parlor



Chains (Ok not great but that do in a pinch or if you are lazy)

Larosas – Sweeter dough and sauce

Papajohns – but locations vary – (trick) order the XL !

Pizza King Station – mainly here for the trains
The original pizza king
Another one of the Indiana Pizza Kings
One of the Indiana Pizza Kings
Dayton Pizza King

Best Ever Homemade Flour Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas, so easy, SO good!


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (coconut)
  • 1 cup warm water


  1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attached mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil (i used coconut oil) and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl. After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth.
  2. Transfer from mixing bowl to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have 16 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand as much as possible. If dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.
  3. After rest period, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter, keep work surface and rolling pin lightly floured. Don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will get soggy.  (If you desire very thin tortillas. I used ziplot bag gallon sized cut along both sides to help roll the tortillas very thin)
  4. When pan is very hot 450-500 degrees, place one dough circle into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until bottom surface has a few pale brown spots. The uncooked surface will begin to show a few little bubbles. If tortilla is browning too fast, reduced heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see a few pale golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase heat a bit. Flip to other side and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have a few small pale golden brown spots on surface. Remove from pan with tongs and stack in a covered container or zippered bag till all tortillas are cooked. This will keep them soft and pliable.
  5. Wipe out the pan in between tortillas if flour is started to accumulate.
  6. Serve warm or allow to cool for later use. When ready to use, place a slightly damp paper towel in the bottom of a container (with a cover) that will hold the stacked tortillas. Microwave, uncovered for 15-25 seconds (start with 15) or until warm, then cover to hold heat while serving.
  7. The tortillas will keep well stored in an airtight container or zippered bag at at room temperature for 24 hours or can be frozen indefinitely. To freeze, separate tortillas with parchment paper or waxed paper and place in a zippered bag before placing in freezer.


World Best Dressing

Image result for thanksgiving dressing

place in large bowl

2 32 oz. turkey broth

2 loaves dried bread or about 15 cups

1 tube 16 oz. Bob Evans sausage naturally

1 t sage or more if you enjoy

1 t onion powder

1/2 stalk celery (yes a lot of celery)

1 flavor packet ( vegetable stalk)

stir to combine

salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs lightly whisked

mix to combine

grease 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish with butter


@ 350 cook to 165 degrees approximately 90 minutes

Great Little Grill

Sunbeam® 2 Slice Panini Maker – CKSBPM5020

First I should mention that I have three, outdoor stainless steel grill, two bbq smokers, using either wood, gas and/or charcoal.  I have been a bbq chef for years creating amazing vegetables and meat such as bbq beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, even pizza.  But due to the ongoing debate on carcinogens and grilling/bbq, I started to look for other options after kidney, bone, throat, colon and other cancers has effected our family and friends.  This is the amazing grill we are now using and my quick review.

 Sunbeam Panini Maker (Target)

Sunbeam Panini Maker (Amazon)

First this is a inexpensive grill (~$25) that functions like the expensive ones.  It heats very quickly and cooks food with wonderful grill marks in minutes, but more on that later.  Wonderful to use to cook hamburger, steaks, fish, pork chops, bacon, grilled cheese (paninis), and to warm or toast crusty bread with dinner.  So good in fact I did not use my outdoor grills all summer.  I buy some expensive bread at Jungle Jims from Blue Oven Bakery throw it in the freezer so it will last and bring it out and warm on the grill with amazing results. So the grill is a great grill replacement and oh yeah it is a good panini press as well.  LOL

Second this grill should not be unattended, just turn it on, wait for a few seconds then throw on the food.  Initially, I use an infrared thermometer to make sure it is not too hot or not to cold … just right.  During our initial trials I preheated too long once created a small spot on the grill, still functioning but nonstick was discolored.  Only clean with a cloth, don’t use any harsh brushes as this can damage the non stick surface.

Finally the only improvement would be that the grooves to be just a little deeper, since the juice can dam up and steam the meat not grill the meat.  But if you make sure the juice is running through the slits and into the front gutter and out the side then all is ok.  I add elevation to the back leg opposite the gutter outlet with a hotpad to make sure all is working fine.

Tortilla Pancakes

Makes 10 tortilla pancakes
3 eggs
1 ½ C milk
1/2 C + 2 T masa harina
¼ C + 2 T all purpose flour
½ t fine sea salt
3 T melted butter

Place all of the crepe ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed. Pour this into a liquid measuring cup or bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes before using. Makes about 2 2/3 cup batter. Heat an 8­inch skillet (nonstick works well here) over medium high heat. I spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before making each crepe. Stir the batter well, and then using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out enough batter to almost fill the measuring cup, but not quite. When your pan is quite hot, slowly pour the crepe batter into the pan, swirling it around to completely cover the bottom of the pan. With this amount of batter, it will take a few more swirls than a traditional crepe, but once the batter is no longer swirling and the top looks almost dry, set the pan back on the burner for about a minute to cook the bottom. Use a spatula to loosen the edges and release the crepe. Flip it over and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 seconds. Flip it out onto a plate and cover with a clean towel. Continue making the rest of the crepes, stacking them on top of each other and keeping them covered. Use in your favorite enchilada recipe, but they also make great quesadillas.

Funnel Cake

Kids loved “homemade” funnel cakes!

Coconut oil in the fry daddy

Mix together the following:

2 eggs
2 1/2 C Flour
1/3 t Salt
2 2/3 T Sugar
1 1/3 Baking Powder
1 1/3 Milk

Add more milk if needed.

Consistency needs to flow through a funnel into hot oil using a spider web patter. 

Use 1 Cup of batter per funnel cake and pour batter into hot oil.

Brown cake on both sides

Dust with powered sugar.

Optional Toppings:

Cinnamon Sugar
Apple Pie Filling
Cherry Pie Filling

Makes 5 cakes.

Ratio – Larger Batch

3 eggs
1/4 C sugar
2 C milk
3 2/3 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder

Ratio – Smaller Batch

1 eggs
1 1/3 T sugar
2/3 C milk
1 1/4 C flour
1/6 t salt
1 t baking powder

Flour Tortilla Batter

3 eggs

1 cup of milk

1 tsp salt ( iodized)

2 cups of AP flour

Combine all ingredients till smooth batter forms.

Heat a large pan to med-low to med, very lightly grease the pan ( I used “PAM”)

pour 1/3 cup batter into pan and rotate pan to cover the bottom of the pan as even as possible.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes until firm, and flip.

cook on the other side for about 1-2 minutes then remove from pan.

Pullman loaf

This bread was awesome!

Pullman loaf
5 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

25 to 30 minutes 425°F


  1. Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead — using your hands, a mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to form a smooth, soft dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  3. Lightly grease a 13″ pain de mie pan. Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a 13″ log, and fit it into the pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen (it may rise even more slowly in a cool kitchen; don’t worry, this long rise will give it great flavor). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Remove the plastic, and place the cover on the pan. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it tests done; a digital thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store, wrapped, at room temperature for 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


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