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Shhh: 10 Make-or-Break Trade Secrets

10. Thomas' English Muffins

On the surface, it doesn't seem that hard to reverse-engineer Thomas' recipe; after all, the famous nooks and crannies are basically the product of flour, water, and yeast, with assorted other well-known ingredients thrown in for flavor and texture. Yet the company takes its trade secrets very seriously, and recently went to court to protect them. In January 2010, Chris Botticella -- one of only seven Thomas' executives who knows the exact combination of dough, humidity and baking technique necessary to reproduce the muffins -- left Thomas' for a new job at competitor (and Wonder Bread manufacturer) Hostess. The case is currently on appeal, and Botticella has been barred from accepting his new job until the case is settled.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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