JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Low-fat blueberry muffins

Help! I've never made a muffin before, and they didn't turn out as well as they should have done: they weren't particularly well cooked through after 25 minutes in a hot oven, and they didn't rise much. However, they were extremely tasty, and with a pretty good texture (on the outside parts that were cooked). So I'll make them again ... if someone can tell me how to cook them better - longer? hotter oven? or just a bit more baking powder? I'd really appreciate some advice ...

Low-fat blueberry muffins

150g plain flour
50g granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
50 ml sunflower oil
175 ml skimmed milk
finely grated lemon zest

150g blueberries

Sift together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet ingredients, and fold this into the flour mixture. Add the blueberries, and spoon into a 12-cup muffin tin (preferably lined with papers, otherwise well oiled).

Bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes.

What could I do better to make these muffins rise higher and cook through?

This post is for Heart of the Matter 8: Baking, which I am hosting this month. I'm sure many of you know the "rules" by now, but here's a recap: all you have to do is to send me the link to your entry at joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk before 23 October, make a link to Joanna's Food and to the HotM blog as well if you like. I'll post the round up on both blogs. In order to keep the focus on heart health we ask you to consider this as a one-entry event, i.e. we prefer that you don't use your post for other events as well.

I'm really looking forward to reading all your recipes and tips ...

PS you CAN include bread in this if you want, but I think we might save that for another time ....


Celia Hart said...

Hi Joanna - muffin type sponge is one of my staple puds - can be used in lots of variations.
The secret (a tip from St Delia of Norwich City) is to double sift the flour.

- sift 5oz plain flour into weighing scales. Add half level tablesp baking powder and 1.5oz sugar (golden caster), plus any dry ingredient like spice or cocoa powder.
- in another bowl: 1 large or 2 smaller eggs; 4 floz (125ml) sunflower oil; 4 floz (125ml) semi skimmed milk, plus any liquid flavouring like vanilla essence.
- mix the wet ingredients well but not too much - I use a balloon whisk.
- sift the dry ingredients into the wet ones - and lightly mix using a plastic spatula or metal spoon. Don't over mix - it's a thickish, lumpyish batter.
- Add chopped nuts/fruit/whatever takes your fancy - lightly mix in.
- Spoon into muffin tins - or a cake tin.
- cook at 180C until done - 15/20mins -ish.

I like varying the flour too - spelt flour gives good results.

happy baking

Abitofafoodie said...

I had the exact same problem when I made muffins. They tasted good but just didn't rise much. I shall be very interested to read any tips that people leave!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,

I'm just in the process of posting about my favourite low-fat blueberry muffins, so I'll be sure to send you a trackback when I'm done! They don't have any dairy, either! =)


The Old Foodie said...

Hello Joanna - the commonest mistake with muffins is to over-mix the batter. The wet and dry ingredients should be folded together only just until you cant see any flour any more - in fact, if there are a few small flour streaks left it doesnt matter. Use a big spoon and as few "folds" as possible - a good rule of thumb is that it should only take about 12 "folds" to get it mixed. I never bother sifting flour. I hope this helps.

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Joanna, my thoughts have been mentioned above already: sift the flour and fold rather than stir. You really can put muffins in the oven with lumps and they come out perfectly fine. I'd be tempted to play with the leaveners too, but I'm not sure if this might affect the pleasant texture you describe. I'll stay tuned for any further developments! Good luck!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Blueberry are a great favorite of ours. I'll have a look for my recipe and see anything that looks different; I know I always use buttermilk.
Anything that's tasty is worth pursuing further!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

The only tip I know about muffins is what the old foodie said about not over mixing.

Joanna said...

Thanks for all this ...

Celia, I'll try St Delia's recipe, although it's got more fat (that may, of course, be the problem with what I did)

Antonia - SO glad it's not just me ;)

Moira, I'll be v interested to see your recipe - is it a vegan one? Vegans seem to lead the way in low-fat muffins

Thanks Old Foodie, thanks Amanda ... I thought I didn't overmix - nothing like as much as for a sponge cake - but there weren't any big lumps of unmixed flour, so I now think that may have been one of the problems

Tanna, looking forward to seeing your recipe - I like the sound of buttermilk ... it may make me get on with my vague project to make our yoghurt, then strain it into Greek yog and simple cheese. In which case, I'd have plenty of buttermilk / whey for baking. I get the most delicious organic milk from my veg box supplier, it has a taste I'd forgotten in all the years I have been buying supermarket milk (hangs head in shame)

Anonymous said...

I make Tanna's Brillo Muffins every week and I agree with the over mixing comments. I am also careful to add the wet ingredients to the dry ones just before I am ready to put them in the tins to bake. Don't want them sitting around very long before you pop them in the oven or they won't rise properly. I hope this helps!

Champsleeve said...

I use Martha Stewart's recipe (I wrote about it here any it looks similar to the one you used. I think everyone else is probably right that you just over mixed the batter. I stop mixing as soon as I can't see any more flour. I noticed that my recipe uses less baking powder and yet my rise up over the sides of the muffin tins.


Joanna said...

Sue, Dana ... so many good cooks are agreed, that I think it really must have been overmixing, especially, Dana, since your recipe uses less bp. I'll have to get baking again tonight!

Thanks for taking time to help out


Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,

I've finally posted my fave healthy recipes for blueberry muffins, from Ken Haedrich:

Let me know if you try them and what you think!


Anonymous said...

You could try to lower the temperature to 180°C and then bake them a little longer...