Bakeries around the world have mastered the art of this seemingly simple confection and now, you can, too.
When it comes to baking, one of the easiest things a person can bake is a muffin. Muffin recipes are often simple with three actual steps: mixing the dry ingredients, and then mixing the wet ingredients, and then mixing the two together. With the exception of certain toppings, muffins can be mixed up in a matter of ten minutes and the only thing needed are measuring cups and spoons, two mixing bowls, and a muffin tin. So, why is it that despite the simplicity of muffin recipes, the muffins many people make at home don’t come out like they do in the bakery?
There are some mistakes home bakers could be making.
Mixing The Batter Is A 15-Second Step
Contrary to popular belief, muffin batter does not need to be completely smooth in order to result in delicious muffins. The theory behind this is similar to that of pancakes; a few lumps and bumps are okay, even if those flour lumps are not completely incorporated. By overmixing batter, it’s very possible to cause the muffins to develop more gluten which will give them a tougher and less fluffy texture.
In order to avoid overmixing, use a spatula and turn it no more than 12 times around the bowl. Each ingredient should be wet but doesn’t need to be thoroughly mixed and broken down before it’s put in the oven. Perfection has no place in muffin baking!
Oil And Butter Are A Super Moist Combination
The combination of oil and butter also depends on the recipe as most recipes call for just one or the other, usually butter.
However, by substituting some of the butter with oil, muffins will get an extra boost of moisture as the combination of the two results in the best texture. Some simple math (and a conversion chart) can be used to determine how much butter or oil to swap out, and this also won’t change the flavor of the muffins at all.
Avoid Baking Muffins For Longer Than 20 Minutes
Muffins are not bread and do not need to be baked for longer than 20 minutes if that. You wouldn’t cook pancakes for longer than five minutes, so why would you do the same to muffins? Overbaking can absolutely result in dry muffins and can even be the reason why they get crumbly.
The recipe usually knows best when it comes to muffins and if they’re not baking in the amount of time allotted in the recipe, then the culprit of their dry texture is likely something else. Muffins usually call for higher baking temperatures as well, which results in a quick rise and gives them the height and fluffiness we see when we pull them out of the oven. Therefore, there must be a balance between mixing the muffins, filling muffin tins, and baking them.
Don’t Overfill The Muffin Tins
If you do find that your muffins are not baking properly, then chances are that the tins themselves are being overfilled. This will not only result in a potential overflow (which can make scraping muffins off the top of the muffin tin a pain) but can also result in longer cooking times. If you stick a toothpick into a muffin and it comes out underdone after 20 minutes, it means there’s too much batter in each tin.
It seems like a hassle but the best thing to do in this instance is to get a second muffin tin or use the extra batter to make a quick bread (if you have a loaf pan). Filling the muffin tins to the top will leave you with dry muffins anyway, so it’s better to use the extra batter elsewhere if you don’t have two muffin tins on hand.
Batter Should Never Be Made In Advance
There’s no yeast in muffin batter so whereas bread can be saved to be baked later on, muffin batter can’t. Baking soda is responsible for helping the muffins to rise and as soon as the baking soda becomes incorporated with the rest of the ingredients, it’s already starting to do its job.
This means that the longer you wait to bake the muffins, the less effective the baking soda will be – so if the batter is made the night prior, by the following day, the muffins will not rise as well and definitely won’t have the texture of those nice, fluffy, moist bakery muffins. The muffins themselves, however, can be made in advance and heated in the oven the day of serving to warm them up.
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