Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Perfect Dome


"How to make muffins" by Food-4tots
I have been baking muffins for couple of months. Throughout this trial and error period, I learnt 2 important tips in making muffins which I like to share with you in this post. For those who are first timer at making muffins or those whose muffins are still turning out to be less than (or like mine initially, far from) perfect, the following tips will definitely come in handy in your next attempt.

There are 2 methods in making muffins – THE MUFFIN METHOD and THE CREAMING METHOD. There is no wrong or right answer in choosing either method. It depends on how much time you have, and what kind of texture you prefer for your muffins.
Here’s how the two methods differ:
  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, then stir them together until just combined (not lumpy free – so that the gluten in the flour will not be developed).
  • You do not need an electric mixer. A spatula will do a better job.
  • This method is quick and easy.
  • Advantage: Both dry and wet ingredients can be prepared the night before. You can store the wet ingredients in the refrigerator and have them mixed with the dry ingredients in the morning. This will save you time on a busy morning and also get to enjoy fresh.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light (preferablyusing an electric mixer) and then add in the other ingredients. The objective is to drive the sharp sugar crystals through the butter creating tiny voids of air in the mixture. This will help the muffin to rise.
  • Advantage: sugar and fat are well-dispersed in the batter and the entrained air tends to make for a light, fine crumb in the muffins.
(Source:Make-up or mixing methods for muffins by The Prepared Pantry)

If you want to make your muffin’s top peaks, here are some simple guidelines to follow:
  1. Measure the leavening properly- 1 tsp baking powder per 100g flour or ¼ tsp baking soda per 100g flour (+ sufficient acidity from a sour ingredient to react with it). I think if you follow closely the recipe, it will not be an issue.
  2. Make sure dry ingredients are well mixed and the final batter is lightly mixed. The batter should be thick, “spoonable” not “pourable”
  3. Fill the cups almost to the brim (90%). I had followed this tip but my muffins overflew before setting. So I filled them up until 80% and they turned out just fine.
  4. Start off the oven hot – This sets the top crust quickly which allows the batter underneath to stay liquid, build up pressure and eventually burst up like a volcano. Typically, muffins are baked at 190°c – 200°c. But you can preheat the oven to 220 °c and then turn it down to the right temperature (200°c ) after putting your muffins in. I think this is the most critical point to take note.
(Source: Ask The Foodie column by Chris Tan (The Sunday Times) and The Secrets of the Dome” by The Prepared Pantry)

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