BakingPhil Project 2: Morning Glory Muffins

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I am not a morning person. The idea of morning glory seems to me ironic. I love irony. So, for the second bakingphil project I chose Morning Glory Muffins (Recipe 6.8) that employs the “muffin” method of mixing. Never made this before. What could be bad about a muffin that boasts nuts, fruits and spices? Nothing. Unless, I over mix and create a “condition known as tunneling.” These elongated holes in muffins occur when we mix until smooth, warns the textbook. There seems to be a theme here with quick breads. Don’t over mix.

The muffin method requires the fat to be liquid (opposed to the biscuit method) when combined with the flour and other dry ingredients. Instead of aggregate biscuit dough that is rolled out, muffin batter is supposed to be lumpy. The incomplete incorporation of ingredients is the key to protecting the space for the bread to rise to soft and sweet tastiness.

One important point I forgot to mention last time is about the proportions. As I said before baking is all about a heated modulating and measuring of flour (structure, presence) with air (space, absence). These proportions determine the difference between pound cake and sponge cake (for more information see Rulman’s book Ratio). Its important to remember all measure is determined from the amount of flour. So, for example in this recipe, flour is 100%, sugar 112%, eggs 62% and on and on. Baking if anything is the art of proportion like light and airy Greek architecture that parted the walls invented the column. Greek architecture is like a sponge cake, while Etruscan a pound cake and Minoan architecture muffins. That may require another post to explain. For now, back to Morning Glory Muffins and the liquid medium of relationships.

What I learned:

  1. What does it mean to “mix just until combined”? I mixed until there was still just a bit of flour visible.
  2. Just like all baking, the temperature and time needs adjusting.
  3. How much to fill a muffin cup takes experience that would allow me to leave enough room for the expected rise. Standards only arise out of repetition. I am woefully without standards.

Dear expert bakers, now its time for the “diagnose my muffin” portion of the blog.

Look at the muffins at the top of the picture below. Notice the craters or dents in the middle. Is it because I didn’t bake them long enough?

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Also, notice my first batch towards the bottom is smaller, while the second batch at the top are bigger. Is there an optimal muffin size?

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Thanks for your help.

Credits

Coconut, apple, carrot, pecan, grapes (and the sun that makes them raisins) growers, pickers, shredders, packers, distributors, grocery stores, warm and cold climates, muffin pans, metal, ovens, heat, fire, eggs and chickens that produced them, oil (how does one make vegetable oil anyway?), sugar, mixing bowls, dishwashers that wash them, my whisk, measuring cups and spoons, oven mittens, kitchen, sink, water etc. etc.

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