Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting an MS in Baking- Old School Muffins

Until now I've been BS-ing my way through baking but no more!  I'm taking on a challenge to really learn the science behind baked goods by baking my way through Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food.

The book takes you through the 6 major baking methods, roughly from easiest to the most difficult.  This week I started with the first recipe in the muffin method section, titled appropriately: Old School Muffins (recipe from a non-Alton site).

Honestly, the recipe is one of the least important parts of the project.  The goal is not just to dump some stuff together and call it baking.  The goal is to do things right.

First you have to weigh your dry ingredients- at least the flour.

Then sift all the dry ingredients together.  Brown recommends doing this in the food processor.  I recommend making sure you know all the safety lock features on your food processor before you get to this part so you don't have to pause for 20 minutes while your frustrated husband tries to figure out why the darn thing isn't working.

Then mix together the wet ingredients.

Add bits and pieces to the dry (I chose cinnamon, raisins and walnuts).

And the wet goes into the dry until just incorporated (lumps = okay).

Dish into muffin tins and bake.

Here's how the first batch turned out:

And for the real test, did the crumb of my muffins look like muffin (on the left) vs. cupcake (on the right)?

Answer: I have no idea!  You be the judge:

Daniel said he thought they were very muffin-like and not cupcake like, but he knows enough to flatter me when it comes to baking.

What did I think?  I thought the recipe was very quick and easy even with the added weighing and processing.  I loved dumping the wet into the dry because it kept the mixer from getting sticky, making clean-up quicker.  Not sure that the next recipe will be, but I felt successful with this one, and I'm ready for a new challenge.