My first job in food was in a bakery in my university town. I spent the evenings after class hand-shaping baguettes, swirling cinnamon and raisin breads, and mixing muffin batter for the morning breakfast frenzy. It was there that I decided that muffins – with their fragrant aroma and almost endless taste options – were the perfect breakfast. It was also here that I learned that the secret ingredient for beautifully domed bakery-style muffins is something you can’t buy: time.
Give the muffin batter a break by mixing it beforehand
In the bakery we mixed muffin batter and refrigerated it overnight so that the morning shift could bake the next morning. This rest period makes muffins from your favorite café look and taste better than anything that comes out of your oven. But why is it like that?
While the muffin batter rests, the starches in the flour have more time to absorb the moisture from the eggs and the liquid in the batter. As a result, the starches swell and give the dough a thicker, more robust consistency. Do you know how gluten slowly develops overnight in uncommitted bread recipes? The same goes for muffin batter. The gluten that develops overnight is enough to support the tall, domed structure of the muffins without making breakfast tough.