Cooking Secret: Basic Tender Muffins
Make the most tender muffins with these tips!
When combining the wet and dry ingredients for muffins (or any
quick bread), mix as minimally as possible. Lumps are desirable.
Even some spots of unmoistened flour are okay. To get “more-tender”
or “most-tender” muffins, use the ingredients listed in the basic
recipe at the link, below, but follow the special mixing
instructions included farther down. See the flavor variations,
too, which can be used with either the basic, more-tender, or
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. (Use a standard-size muffin pan with 2 1/2″ – diameter cups.)
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture. Stir just enough to lightly blend.
5. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups (the cups will be full). Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack 3 minutes before removing the muffins.
More-Tender Muffins: Instead of melting the butter, cut cold or frozen butter into 1/4″ cubes and place in a medium bowl. (You could also shred the frozen butter on a box grater.) Add a generous cup of the flour mixture, using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour just until moistened; do not overmix. (If the butter pieces no longer feel cold, place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.) Add the butter-and-flour mixture back into the large bowl with the flour mixture. Gently stir to combine. Proceed with the recipe.
Most-Tender Muffins: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Instead of melting the butter, soften it, then cut it into tablespoon-size pieces. Combine the softened butter with the sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and light, 2 minutes. Thoroughly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in half of the flour mixture. Add 1/3 cup of the buttermilk. Alternate, adding the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk in two more additions. Beat until the batter is fully blended. Proceed with the recipe.
Excerpted from Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, by David Joachim. Copyright (c) 2001 by Rodale, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Excerpted from Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, by David Joachim.