Do your homemade muffins never turn out quite as good as the muffins at your favorite coffee shop? How do bakeries and coffee shops make muffins rise higher and stay softer than the ones that you have at home?
You can make fluffier muffins at home if you know the right tips (and get enough practice). We’re here to help you out. Keep reading for a few of our top tips for making muffins that can compete with the ones from your favorite café.
1. Upgrade Pre-Made Mixes
Any experienced baker will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with using a pre-made mix from time to time as long as you choose the right one and get creative with how you “edit” it.
Sure, in a perfect world you’d always make your muffins from scratch. However, when it’s 8 pm and your child just told you about tomorrow morning’s bake sale, you have to improvise.
Start with a good mix, like one from Lehimills.com. You can use a dollar store mix if you choose, but it won’t be as easy to get bakery-quality results.
Follow the instructions but then add your own mix-ins and toppings. Remember that you might have to modify your bake times to adjust for the new ingredients, so check on the muffins often.
With a few extra add-ins, you can take a good muffin mix and create amazing muffins.
2. Don’t Over-Mix
Novice bakers often worry about having too many bumps and lumps in their muffin batter. While you want a relatively smooth batter, that doesn’t mean that you should over-mix your muffins.
When you over-mix, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The muffins will end up with an undesirable texture. They’ll still taste good, but they won’t be quite right.
When you mix together your ingredients, you’re going to want to use the muffin method. This means that you combine all of your wet ingredients and all of your dry ingredients individually before combining them. After this, use a large mixing spoon to mix the batter until everything is moistened.
It’s okay to have streaks and lumps in your batter as long as they aren’t excessive. Resist the urge to continue mixing and never use a whisk or an electric mixer.
3. Fight Sinking Mix-Ins
So you think you’ve made the perfect muffins. You’ve added the right mix-ins, your toppings look perfect, and you know that the texture is right. You bite into it and surprise: your mix-ins have all gone to the bottom of the muffin.
What happened? When you put the muffins in the oven, there were still mix-ins floating near the top! How did they get pushed all the way down to the muffin tin?
The simple answer? Gravity. Heavy mix-ins sink through the batter and end up at the bottom of your muffins.
This is somewhat inevitable if you use a lot of heavy mix-ins, but there are a few ways to minimize the problem so you can still get bites of tasty mix-ins throughout the muffin.
First, use smaller pieces. Dice your fruits and chocolate chips until they’re lightweight and easy to mix into the muffin batter. They may still sink, but some should stay suspended.
Coat your mix-ins with flour before adding them. This won’t fix the problem altogether, but it will help. Having a dense (and non-over-mixed) batter should also help you avoid the problem.
4. Leave Room to Rise
Have you ever opened your oven to see muffins that have over-filled your muffin tins? While there’s something to be said about a big bakery-sized muffin, over-filling the tin isn’t the way to get one.
You want to fill your muffin tins to about three-fourths of the way full (though some muffin recipes may require two-thirds instead). This gives the muffin enough room to rise.
On the topic of filling the tin, you have the option to use muffin liners or cups. You don’t need to put muffins in liners if you’re making standard-sized muffins. They’re mostly for aesthetics.
If you want larger-than-life muffins, you can buy large muffin cups that stand on their own without the need for a muffin tin.
5. Avoid Over-Baking
Cautious bakers often make this mistake. They worry about their muffins being underbaked and decide to leave the tin in for longer than the recipe suggests. This can turn into a problem.
Baking is a science. While there is some wiggle room when it comes to baking times (based on your oven and your batter), you want to do your best to adhere to the recipe. If you need to keep your muffins in the oven for longer, check them no less than every five minutes so you know that you aren’t over-baking.
Over-baking will dry out the muffins.
6. Add a Secret Ingredient
Do you know our favorite secret ingredient for muffins? Don’t tell anyone, but it’s applesauce. That’s right, this affordable sweet staple can improve most muffins tenfold.
Applesauce can replace oil in a lot of muffin recipes. This cuts down on fat and calories, adds fiber, adds sweetness, and keeps your muffins soft and moist for longer.
Applesauce can work in all muffin recipes, but it might take some trial and error to determine where that extra flavor does and doesn’t work for you.
It’s Time to Start Making Muffins
You can turn a simple muffin recipe into a perfect muffin with a few of these tips. Next time you’re making muffins, pick one or two tips to apply to your recipe! It might be your time to make the perfect muffin.
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