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Muffins will brown best if shiny metal muffin pans are used for baking them. Fill the muffin-pan cups 2/3 full with batter. They will rise above the pan surface.
• Tip: Tins should be greased rather heavily on the bottom for easy removal of muffins. Greasing the sides very lightly, or not at all, allows the batter to cling to the tins in rising, thus increasing volume.
• Tip: To keep muffins from burning around the edges, leave one muffin cup empty; fill 2/3 with cold water before baking.
Combine dry and liquid ingredients separately. The egg should be beaten enough to combine well with the liquid, then all liquids mixed thoroughly together. Cool melted shortening before it is added. Under-blending of liquid ingredients produces a muffin with thicker cell walls and a less tender texture.
The liquid mixture is stirred with the combined dry ingredients only until the flour is moistened. It is essential to keep mixing to a minimum, no more than 25 to 30 strokes. The batter should be lumpy not smooth. Over-mixing might result in peaked tops, a tough muffin and “tunnels.”
• Tip: For high altitudes, reduce baking powder or soda in the recipe by ¼ teaspoon.
• Tip: If using a self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.
• Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups in the muffin pan. This will measure your batter equally for each muffin.
Preheat the oven before starting to mix the ingredients. Muffins are usually baked on a high setting of 425°F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check the recipe or package directions for proper setting.
• Tip: When baking time is up, insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are done. If not, continue baking in 2 to 3 minute increments, checking each time with the toothpick until it comes out clean.
• Tip: When muffins are done, remove them at once from the muffin tins so they don’t steam and soften. If they must stand in muffin tins, tip each one slightly in its cup so steam can evaporate.
• Leftovers may be stored at room temperature, in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container to retain moisture. Reheat and use within a day or so.
• Nut and fruit muffins are at their best if made the day before using. They should be cooled completely, wrapped tightly, and kept at room temperature.
• To freeze muffins, wrap in foil, heavy-duty plastic wrap or freezer-wrap and press all the air from package; freeze for up to 3 months.
• To thaw, let stand, wrapped, at room temperature for about 1½ hours.
• Tops are peaked and not rounded: Muffins were baked too long or at too high a temperature.
• Muffin is excessively shrunken or dry: Too little batter was placed in the tin; or, muffins were baked too long or at too high a temperature.
• Muffin texture (inside grain) has tunnels: Batter was over-mixed. In addition, oven or batter temperature may have been too high.
• Texture is soggy: Batter was over-mixed or muffin was under-baked.
• Tops are flat and smooth: Oven temperature was too low; not enough batter was placed in the tin; or muffins were baked in paper liners.
• Crust is too light: Muffins have been underbaked or baked at too low a temperature.
Source: Wheat Foods Council www.wheatfoods.org
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