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#1 Thu 19 Jun 08 2:22pm

cupcakes

Member
Occupation PA
From cupcakes
Member since Tue 10 Jun 08

American Muffins

I know the secret is not to overmix but any other tips to get them looking "holey and uneven" like the ones you buy.  Mine turn out looking like fairy cakes but taste lovely.

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#2 Fri 20 Jun 08 8:11am

VENUS

Forum champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: American Muffins

The 'perfect' American Muffin is symmetrical with a domed top. 
The surface of the muffin should be bumpy and the volume of the batter should have almost doubled during baking. 
The muffin should feel light for its size and when cut in half its interior should be moist and tender with no tunnels. 

BATTERS

The bread-like muffin batter is made using the "muffin method". 
This batter can be assembled and baked 'quickly', usually in 20-25 minutes. 
The fat used with the bread-like muffins is usually in liquid form, either an oil or melted butter. 
When the wet and dry ingredients have been mixed together separately, then they are combined. 
The important step here is not to overmix the batter. 
However, there is a tendency to over mix because the ratio of liquid to flour is quite high. 
But mixing too much overdevelops the gluten in the flour which will cause a tough muffin with tunnels and a compact texture. 
Only 10 to 15 strokes are needed to moisten the  ingredients and the batter should be still lumpy and you may still see a few traces of flour. 
Don't worry about these lumps as the batter continues to blend as it bakes and any lumps will disappear. 
Note:  Over mixing the muffin batter causes it to become very stringy. 
This is the gluten developing in the flour. 
Over mixing causes long strands of gluten to form making it hard for the leavener to work and causes long tunnels in the baked good. 

The cake-like muffin batter is prepared using the same method as making a cake batter. 
The butter (room-temperature) and sugar are creamed together. 
The eggs are mixed in and then the wet and dry ingredients are added alternately.  The higher sugar and fat content in this type of muffin act as tenderizers thereby producing a richer cake-like muffin with a softer crumb.
The increased fat content also minimizes the development of gluten which again helps to produce a muffin with a softer crumb.

BAKING

Muffins should be baked in the center of a preheated oven and are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges start to come away from the sides of the pan, usually 20-25 minutes at a 350 - 400 degree F (175 - 205 degrees C) oven. 

Spoon the muffin batter into the muffin tin using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. 
Only fill each cup 1/2 to 2/3 full.   
Even during this step, handle the batter as little as possible as too much handling will cause a tough muffin. 
Fill any unused cups halfway with water to prevent over browning of the muffins or warping of the pan. 
Turn the pan halfway during baking for even browning. 
Make sure you do not overbake muffins or they will be dry. 
When done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly (5-10 minutes) before removing from pan. 

PROBLEM SOLVING

Muffins have tunnels and are dry:

- batter was over mixed (too much gluten development)

- over baked and/or oven too hot

- too much flour and/or too little liquid

Muffins have an uneven shape

- too much batter in each cup (fill only 1/2 to 2/3 full).   Overfilling will cause muffins to have "flying saucer" like tops.

- oven temperature too high

Tops are brown but muffin is not cooked through

- oven temperature too high

- oven rack not in center of oven

Muffin does not rise sufficiently

- oven temperature too low

- batter over mixed or incorrect amount of leavener

Muffins Stick to Pan

- pan was not prepared properly. 

- let muffins sit in pan too long after removing from oven.  Try placing the pan on a wet towel for a few minutes to loosen the muffins.  Run a sharp edge around the inside of each muffin.

Note:  Resist the temptation to add more baking powder to your muffin recipe, thinking it will give you higher muffins. 
If you over leaven your batter it will cause the muffins to over inflate when baked, which weakens the structure and will cause the muffin to collapse. 
This will result in a heavy, compact textured muffin. 

General rule of thumb is 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/2 cup (120 ml) of an acidic ingredient, leavens 1 cup (140 grams) of all purpose flour. 
The exact amount will vary according to the ingredients used and how the batter is mixed.

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#3 Fri 20 Jun 08 11:51am

cupcakes

Member
Occupation PA
From cupcakes
Member since Tue 10 Jun 08

Re: American Muffins

Many thanks Venus for all the wonderful detail.  I think I pretty much follow your instructions anyway but I will try to mix it less next time, that's what I'm probably doing wrong, worry about it all being mixed in.

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