Sep 8, 2012

How to get the perfect Dome on your Muffins (Simple Techniques to make your muffins look great!)





I love muffins! Blueberry muffins were the first muffins I have ever attempted to bake. The taste was great and some of the people I have shared it with loved them too. However, I was never fully happy with the way they looked. They look small and rather flat on top, unlike the yummy muffins that I see from bakeries and coffee shops.

 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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13 comments

  1. Some great tips, will be keeping these in mind for my next muffin experiments :)

    Thanks Abby!

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  2. Thanks, Jen! Oh, I hope someday that I can graduate from muffins to real bread-making like you do....Thanks for dropping by!

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  3. Great tips for muffins! I always do the egg tip! I saw it somewhere once and have been doing it ever since and there are times when I get an eggshell when I crack the eggs and am so happy that I didn't just break the egg into the batter! Your blog is great. Love the recipes. You need to link up on Friday to our Foodie Friends party! We have prizes every week as well as the great recipes. I read your previous post about losing your little girl. That was beautifully written and I'm very sorry for your loss. We don't always know why things happen to us in life but I truly believe that one day we will see the reason for our losses and heartaches. May your heart be comforted today! Going to your Facebook page NOW as well.

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  4. Thanks Lois, for your kind words. Really appreciate it. I am indeed looking forward to that day. And will check out your Friday Foodie Friends Party. Sounds exciting!

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  5. This is really helpful. Thank you! I do a lot of egg-free baking (daughter's allergy) and like to bake with varying degrees of acid in my ingredients. I sometime mess up the baking powder (or soda) ratio, which is a problem. If you have any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them! Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Traci, I've had my shares of messes here and there. I am not much of a baker but what I know based on some reading is you need to use baking soda when there is some acid involved - eg, lemons, vinegar or even chocolate. Otherwise, you can use baking powder or a combo. Hope that helps somehow.

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  6. These are awesome tips!! I didn't know i was actually baking my muffins' downfall HAHA. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. So one web site says let the batter rest @ least one hour or overnight to get the dome, yours says get into the oven rt away....hhhmmm Guess I have more experimenting to do since my muffins didn't rise, again, even though I used double batter!

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  8. OH, this is so, so helpful! been wondering what to try differently and here come solutions! ^_^ thanks!

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  9. Thanks for all the tips. These came out lovely....but sadly my 3 year old wants fluffy and soft muffin tops rather than crunchy crusty ones. Any ideas?

    srivak01

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    1. Perhaps the muffin was a little over baked? Oven heating varies so perhaps a little adjustment on the baking time for your oven should help - perhaps check it 2-3 minutes earlier. That's what I would try first. Thanks for asking!

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  10. Thanks for the wonderful tips.. your muffin looks fab!

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