This muffin was cooked in a Demarle Flexi-Muffin tray.
No need for any liners when you use Demarle.
So, I did a little research and in the process discovered these few simple techniques that can make your muffins look like they were made by the pros. Here goes:
1. Make sure you use the correct temperature. I suggest baking your muffins at 400 F. I know most muffin recipes (including the ones I have used previously) all tell us to preheat our ovens to between 325-375 F. That heat range is just not enough. While it will surely cook your muffins, it will not give you the full rise that you want. You need a higher temperature (others even recommend 425F to begin with but that makes my muffin too dark!) to immediately activate your leavening agent to start working. Of course, you need to adjust cooking time, unless you prefer crunchy muffins! :-) For me it's between 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean (as they say!). Experiment!
2. I had the privilege of watching a pastry chef make some muffins and I asked her what tips she can give to make sure muffins rise nicely. She told me to make sure that all the ingredients needed are in room temperature (that means -- eggs and butter shouldn't be used straight from the fridge). Leave it out first before you use it. I didn't ask the reason why but I can imagine if you need high heat to help the muffin rise during the first few minutes of baking, I guess, if you put cold ingredients there then that won't help. That's my own non-scientific reason. Perhaps I should research more. Clear as mud, huh?
Also, especially, if you are using the cream method for making muffins - make sure that you add each egg one by one, instead of dumping it all in one go. This is to ensure that each egg is properly incorporated in the batter.
* Another helpful tip she shared (not related to this topic but I'll share it anyway!) is that eggs should be placed in a separate bowl or receptacle when you prepare it. Do not immediately dump it with the other ingredients. In case the eggs are rotten - then at least, you can just replace the eggs and not the entire batter. Very practical.
3. Once you have mixed the batter altogether immediately place it in the muffin pan and then directly to the oven (without much delay). This is especially true if you are using baking soda. I think this was my worst mistake, I often leave out mine in the counter for who knows how long (like I almost forgot I was actually baking or perhaps remembered...ooooopppps... I did not preheat the oven and then had to wait!). I think I am getting better at this! :-)
This was another tip I got from a pastry chef who said that once you have mixed both wet and dry ingredients the acids in the leavening agents begin to work right away and if you leave them in the counter top too long then they become ineffective. While baking powder has the double acting capacity and heat may assist in giving it the rise it needs that's not the case with baking soda. Either way, why risk it? If you want yummy looking muffins go for that oven quick!
4. Make sure your batter is thick. You don't want a liquidy batter so if that happens to you make adjustments in your recipe - perhaps you need more flour, perhaps less butter or oil. Remember it should be "spoonable" not "pourable." I think that's a pretty good test!
5. Now this final technique makes a lot of sense, if you ask me. Fill your muffin pans/cups until it is nearly full. Therefore, forget what you have read in muffin recipes that say fill up your tins 2/3s full. It's quite obvious, it will not rise as high if there's not enough batter on the muffin pan. This means, instead of 12 you will probably only make about 9 muffins (unless you really have a lot of batter!). Don't forget to add some water to the empty cups when you bake them.
There you go! While I may not have given you the most scientific of all explanations, baking is a perfect science after all, I have found these simple tips to be quite helpful. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you too! :-)
Disclaimer: I am not a baker nor a pastry chef just a humble lawyer (what do I really know?) so I cannot fully guarantee the results but these have worked for me so try it and hope it works for you too! Please do let me know. Thanks for reading and dropping by! Have a great day! :-)
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