5 common baking problems and how to fix them—doesn’t every muffin deserve a chance?
Do we ever back down from a baking challenge? Nonsense—we eat challenge for breakfast! And when it comes to troubleshooting homemade muffins, we do so quite literally.
Every cook goes into the kitchen with good intentions, but common mistakes can happen. Whether your beloved batch emerges from the oven squat, unevenly sized, or stuck to the pan, there’s no need to fret. Read on for a few tricks that will help you become a muffin master. (Blueberry belt, perhaps?)
Problem: Stuck Muffins
Solution: Give the tin a good greasing
To make sure your muffins slide effortlessly out of the tins, start by using a good nonstick muffin tin
—this will make a huge difference in your success rate with muffins. Next, it’s important to grease the tin thoroughly; we like to use vegetable oil spray. We get this pan prep out of the way first, before we start making the batter. To prevent the spray from getting all over the counter or floor, we suggest spraying the muffin tin over the sink, a garbage can, or even an open dishwasher door.
Problem: Tough, squat muffins
Solution: Don’t overmix the batter
Overmixing encourages gluten development, which inhibits rise and makes tougher muffins. To avoid this, blend the wet and dry ingredients separately and combine the two with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Perfectly mixed batter should have a few streaks of flour.
Problem: Overflowing muffin tins
Solution: Portion the batter carefully
For neat, evenly portioned muffins it’s important to have a strategy for filling the tins—especially because every recipe has a slightly different yield. If you don’t you’ll end up with muffins of different sizes and/or batter that overflows the cups making it nearly impossible to get the muffins out without breaking them. Our foolproof way for filling muffin tins is to portion ⅓ cup of the batter into each cup, and then circle back and evenly add the remaining batter using a spoon. A spring-loaded #12 ice cream scoop (which holds ⅓ cup batter) makes it easy to portion batter into the cups without making a mess around the edges of the pan. Whether you are using an ice cream scoop or a measuring cup, spray it first with cooking spray so that all the batter slides off easily.
Problem: Overdone or underdone muffins
Solution: Poke them with a toothpick
The best way to test a muffin for doneness is to poke it with a toothpick. A toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin should come out with only a few crumbs attached.
Problem: Broken muffins
Solution: Cool them in the tins
Be sure to let the muffins cool in the tins for just 5 minutes in order to help them set up so that they are easier to remove without breaking. Trying to remove muffins from a hot tin never works—they are too delicate to be handled at this point and will break apart.