muffin storage to prevent stickiness


I made a batch of blueberry muffins this morning, more than DH and I can eat in one day.

Although I flip them up on their sides in the pan to cool, I still have terribly sticky muffins the next day whenever I have extras. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

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What you are experiencing is staling - which involves the migration of the moisture in the crumb of the muffins to the crust (outside surface), which begins soon after the baking is completed.

All staling begins in all breads as soon as baking is completed, and this is why quick breads are best eaten soon after baking and aren't very good "keepers".

I also think it depends on the type of muffins you make, and you may want to experiment with that a bit. As well as the ambient temperature/humidity and type of storage.

Place a clean flour-sack dish towel over them and they will be "fresher" than sticking them in a plastic bag or plastic storage container with an air-tight seal, where the moisture is trapped inside causing more softening of the crust.

The traditional muffin method is where you have the dry ingredients in one bowl, the liquids in another, and you mix wet with dry. The other method is where you use a cake method - where the fat and sugar are creamed together, then the other ingredients added. These muffins have a more cake-like texture. You may find one method may keep better for you. You may also find differences using recipes that call for solid fat or vegetable oil in the recipe. Vegetable oil tends to "seep" out of the crumb of the muffins, whereas solid fats (even if you melted them to incorporate in the recipe) are more stable.

I generally make 6 muffins at a time in a toaster oven or our Sharp Convection Microwave Oven, rather than a dozen at a time, for the two of us. I generally cut a recipe in half. If you need 1/2 an egg for 6 muffins, just beat a whole egg with a fork, then use approximately half of the egg. I also use powdered whole eggs + the proper amount of water when I need 1/2 an egg. We eat 1 muffin each and I freeze the other 4 in sheets of foil (I get the foil in boxes at Sam's Club - 500 sheets per box). When I want to add 2 more muffins to the menu, I add the foil-wrapped muffins (either straight from the freezer or thawed) to a toaster oven meal and they reheat almost like they were fresh-baked, in the foil. Be sure to open the foil when reheating is done or they will get soggy from heat/moisture trapped in the foil.

The heat will re-gelatinize the starches which temporarily reverses the staling process. This is only good one time, so don't try to reheat the same muffin several times.


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What an erudite and informative discussion of staling. Thank you very much.

The recipe I used this morning is the type that creams the butter and sugar, then the wet ingredients are added, then the dry ingredients.

I think the zipper bag storage may be the problem. Not to mention I live in the deep south where humidity is always high! I will leave 2 out for tomorrow and freeze the remainder.

I too have a Sharp Microwave Convection Oven. I'm quite pleased with mine. Sounds like you are too.

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bbstx -

Retrogradation of amylopectin (staling) is one of my favorite subjects........(LOL)

We're suffering high humidity too right now, and it's all the air conditioner and dehumidifier can do to keep up. We should be having hot DRY weather to finish the wheat so harvest can get started - but alas....

I love my Sharp. Nothing like baking a loaf of bread in 20-minutes WITHOUT pre-heating! A great energy saver. I do nearly all my indoor baking in the Sharp. Otherwise I try to use a Solar Oven when possible.


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ooohhh, I can't wait to say "the amylopectin of my muffins is retrograding." (or is it "in retrograde"?....doesn't that sound rather age-of-aquarius-ish?)

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bbstx, I just sprinkle the top with struesel and then they don't get sticky. (grin)

Grainlady, our weather here is weird too. I need to cut hay but we're supposed to get showers the next three days and this is the first time it's gotten above 70 yet this year. Michigan has been cool and dry, it's normally very humid. And the May strawberries aren't ripe yet, they're nearly a month behind.


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I'm smiling, bbstx, and glad you asked this question. While my son can polish off four muffins day one, he's not loving (but manages) the wet tops/stickiness day two. I think I'll have him try Grainlady's method for reheating.

I'm really no baker, but I did manage to make Ina's "Back to Basics" blueberry streusel muffins. Really good, but trying to pare down the number of bowls used:)

Cathy in SWPA

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Time before last I used Ina Garten's blueberry muffin recipe ... the one with sour cream in it. When they came out of the oven, I realized that I had made them once before and I was terribly disappointed. Too much work, too much effort, and the muffins disintegrated almost immediately upon removal from the muffin tin (I had used liners the first time with the same results!)

This time I used a recipe out of a 1984 cookbook put together by the BellSouth Pioneers in Atlanta called Dogwood Delights. It is not a fancy cookbook. You'll find nothing "nouvelle" or "haute" in it. But you will find that casserole your mom used to make, or a dozen recipes for meatloaf, or an excellent recipe for blueberry muffins.

Here is the excellent blueberry muffin recipe - and only 2 bowls:

Five-Star Blueberry Muffins
submitted by Dotty Rountree

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tblsp. flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffly. Beat in egg, then milk and vanilla. Beat until nearly smooth. In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to milk mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Toss berries with 1 tablespoon flour; fold into batter. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups and cook in preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes or until evenly golden brown.

(Only made 7 muffins for me. I guess I scoop generously!)

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Blueberries are on sale this week, bbstx. Can't thank you enough for sharing this recipe with me, and will be making some tomorrow! BTW, aren't those tried and true cookbooks the best? And I agree about the "nouvelle" and "haute." I really have a pretty simple palate, plus it frosts me to buy some obscure ingredient for one recipe.

As an aside, Ina' Back to Basics muffins were very good -- lemon zest, streusel, etc. I hate to admit this, but the cleanup was so horrendous that I didn't want anybody to actually eat them:)

Take care and thanks again -- Cathy in SWPA

PS I'm a generous scooper too-thanks for the heads up or I would have wondered.

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I LOVE the streusel topped muffins from Cooks Illustrated and the streusel avoids the sticky top issues

Any-fruit-will-do-muffins with Streusal Toppings

To simplify muffin making, quadruple the streusal topping recipe and freeze. Orange, lemon, or lime zests can be used to flavor the muffins, if you like. Lemon works well with blueberry; orange zest with cranberry or rhubarb; lime zest with banana chunks. together. Almost any fruit works in this recipe. Good choices include: fresh or frozen rhubarb, diced; cranberries, coarsely chopped; blueberries; apples, cut into small dice; bananas, cut into firm, small chunks; raspberries; strawberries, quartered or cut into small dice; dried sour cherries or cranberries. To prevent delicate, highly colored fruits like raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries from getting mashed and discoloring the batter, use semifrozen fruit.


Streusal Topping
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (or white)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (may need 1/4 additional cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch table salt
- 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed firm
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, lime, or orange, (see note above)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups fruit (see note above), lightly packed


Fruit Quick Breads Breakfast/Brunch
See Illustrations Below: Dip and Sweep
l. For the topping, mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or workbowl of a food processor; add butter. If mixing by hand, use fingertips, a pastry blender, or 2 forks to blend the fat into dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse irregular crumbs, with no visible lumps of fat. If mixing in a food processor, pulse about 10 times, then process 5 to 10 seconds, until there are no visible lumps of fat; stir in nuts and set aside.
2. For the muffins, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the top surface of a 12-cup muffin pan; use liners, if necessary. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Whisk together next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients to partially blend. Continue mixing batter with a rubber spatula, making sure that ingredients at the bottom are incorporated into batter; fold in fruit. (Frozen fruit will help "firm" up batter. If batter seems too wet, add a few more tablespoons of flour up to 1/4 cup  to stiffen batter.)
4. Using an ice-cream scoop, place a portion of batter into each muffin cup, filling to the brim. Sprinkle a portion of streusal topping over batter in each muffin cup.
5. Bake 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until muffins are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with fingertips, 10 to 12 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

STEP BY STEP: Dip and Sweep

  1. To accurately measure flour, pour the flour into a large bowl, stir it with the measuring cup to aerate it, then dip the measuring cup completely into the flour.
    2. Using a spatula, scrape all excess flour back into the bowl, leaving a precisely filled measuring cup.
    STEP BY STEP: Filling the Muffin Tin

  1. For clean dispensing and uniform size, use an ice-cream scoop to fill muffin tins.
    2. When baking less than a full tin, fill empty compartments with water to ensure that heat is evenly conducted.SOURCE: Cook's Illustrated

And a simply to die for easy as pie pie

Peach Blueberry Cake

This cake bakes for a long time at a moderate temperature, which helps keep the ripe fruit from bursting and releasing its juices. The easy-to-make pastry bakes up moist and crumbly, with a texture that's like a cross between a biscuit and a cake. A note from our cooks: We've received some letters from readers complaining about a burned crust when making the peach blueberry cake (August 2005 cover), so we ran through the recipe two more times. Baked in a standard light-colored metal pan, the cake was perfect; baked in a dark metal pan, however, it burned  be aware that the cake's high sugar content makes it more susceptible to burning at high heat. As you'll see in "Tips: A Guide to Using Gourmet's Recipes" (located on the recipe index page) we recommend always using light-colored metal pans for baking. Dark metal pans, including nonstick, will cause your baked goods to brown more quickly. Manufacturers suggest reducing the oven temperature by 25 degrees when using dark pans.


For pastry
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For filling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 lbs. firm-ripe large peaches (about 4), halved lengthwise, pitted, and each half cut lengthwise into fourths
- 1 cup blueberries (1/2 pint)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Special equipment:
- an electric coffee/spice grinder
- a 9- to 91/2-inch (24-cm) springform pan


Make pastry:
Pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add egg and vanilla and pulse just until dough clumps and begins to form a ball, about 15 pulses.

Press dough onto bottom and evenly (about 1/4 inch thick) all the way up side of springform pan with floured fingertips. Chill pastry in pan until firm, about 10 minutes.

Make filling while pastry chills:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Grind 2 tablespoons sugar with flour and tapioca in grinder until tapioca is powdery, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Add peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice and gently toss to coat. Spoon filling into pastry and bake, loosely covered with a sheet of foil, until filling is bubbling in center and crust is golden, about 1 3/4 hours.

Transfer cake in pan to a rack and cool, uncovered, 20 minutes, then carefully remove side of pan.

Cool cake to barely warm or room temperature, then cut into thick wedges with a sharp knife before serving.


Cooks' note:
Pastry can be made and pressed into pan 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before filling.
SOURCE: Gourmet


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loves2cook, that looks absolutely amazing. I'm copying and pasting.....


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when I cook more muffins than can be eaten immediatly, I freeze the rest.
A muffin thaws and warms very nicely in the micro in about 6 sticky top no amyl whatever degrading before your eyes.....just a nice warm muffin. Works especially well with bran muffins or other "healthy" varieties.

Linda C

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