Making muffins rise is no tall orderCooking and baking are really two
different things - one is primarily craft and the other requires a hefty dose
of science. When you're baking, veering from the recipe even even slightly can
carry unfortunate consequences. And then sometimes you can follow the recipe to
the letter - measuring oh, so precisely - and muffins still fall flat.
But mistakes do happen!
just what goes wrong behind the scenes in baking that determines whether you
rise or fall? After Alicia's usually delicious Pumpkin Pear Muffins (click here
for the recipe!) landed with a thud the other day, she was truly perplexed.
Alicia learned to bake as a preschooler under the careful watch of her
grandmother, and she has been a true pastry queen ever since.
It was time to play Baking's
Crucial Questions. Sometimes our newspaper column readers contact us with
baking questions, too, and it can be a bit tricky to diagnose the situation
site unseen. But here are the first questions we tend to ask:
your oven's temperature correct, that is calibrated so that the actual heat
matches the degree marks on the knobs? A mere 25 degrees can mean the
difference between a dry muffin and one that does rise to full height.
you using the correct type of flour called for in the recipe? Sometimes there
can be a big difference between cake flour; soft, Southern flour; and the
harder winter wheat from up North.
you sift the ingredients properly? The order of the sifting is crucial - "1 cup
sifted flour" is different from "1 cup flour, sifted." (Sifted flour is first sifted
and then measured.) Sifting can make as much as a quarter-cup difference when
measuring 2 to 3 cups of flour, and too much flour gives a too-dry or too-heavy
the dry ingredients measured properly - that is, did you use dry cup measures (with
level sides, as opposed to glass or plastic cups with a spout). Then the dry ingredients must be
leveled off evenly across the top of the measure with a knife. (Flour must be
spooned into the cups. Don't scoop or you'll pack too much in.)
(!!), here's where Alicia went wrong with her Pumpkin Pear Muffins: Has your
baking powder or your baking soda expired? No, they don't last forever. Check our baking powder blog at Kitchen Scoop.com (click here) for more information on these magical leavening agents.
forgetting some other magic tricks, and if you have baking tips to share,
please visit our blog and add your ideas and comments to the discussion! And
while it does sometimes seem that a myriad of potential pitfalls await in
baking, don't let our list frighten you. So long as you follow the recipe and
the few simple guidelines above - you'll end up with amazing muffins (like the ones in Alicia's photo). Even a short little muffin tastes better than no
muffin at all!
Pumpkin Granola Pancakes
pack a holiday punch
Served with our Apple
Compote or plain, these pancakes are so festive no one will realize that
they're also good for you. The flax, granola and pumpkin just add to the
overall flavor. Click here for the recipe.
Pumpkin Granola Pancakes
An easy topping for pancakes!
This simple compote lets
the goodness of apples flavor everything from pancakes to French toast to
delicate crepes. Click here for the recipe.
Mountain Apple Compote