My muffins always seem to come out very dense. What am I doing wrong? Overmixing? Improperly scooping?
Isn’t it hard to diagnose your problem without knowing anything about the recipe you use, or what you are doing? Some muffin recipes, by design, make dense, moist, hearty muffins. Others are indistinguishable from cup cakes.
Put you your dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Mix your liquids, buttermilk and eggs seperately. Combine the two with about 3 strokes. You should be able to see dry lumps of batter. Spoon into wating muffin tins, I always use papers to ensure they always come out easily. Bake. More than three or four swipes and you are over mixing.
To avoid overmixing, you actually create what is called a “well” in the bowl. This is achieved by putting in all the dry ingredients, and leaving an open space or “well” in the middle of the bowl…You add the wet ingredients in the “well” then you carefully fold the dry ingredients into the well, just until it is moistened, but the batter does not have to be completely smooth…Don’t worry about small lumps, as they will dissipate once baked…
First, yes yes yes to those who have warned against the mixer. Mix by hand and resist the urge to make the batter look uniformly mixed. Little clumps of flour are good.
The other technique that helps is making sure you are baking the muffins hot enough, and especially that they get a blast of heat at the beginning of baking. Most muffin recipes I know call for baking powder. BP (as opposed to baking soda) works with the heat of the oven to cause lift, which helps create a light crumb. You want a blast of heat in the first 10 minutes of baking to make that lift happen. It isn’t a bad idea to set the oven 25 degrees hotter than the recipe calls for and then turn it down to the proper temp when you put the pan in the oven. And then do not open the door during the first ten minutes of baking. Good luck.
Not sure what else you might be doing, but in my experience making substitutions (like applesauce or prune puree in place of oil or melted butter) often causes leadenness. I can’t say I’ve had many low fat muffins with a light crumb.
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