I’m on a bit of a muffin kick these days. Not only are they easy and delicious, but I can literally walk into the kitchen, decide to bake something, and walk out 10 minutes or less later with a full muffin tin happily baking away (depending on whether or not my 2 year old wanted to “help”). The only problem I have is remembering the ratio and making sure I add everything. Baking ratios don’t come with anything beyond the basic ratio, so I thought I’d share a quick guide to explain the ratio, list the basic ingredients, tell you how to mix, and let you know how to bake them. The best part is it also works for making quick breads. Yes, same ratio and everything!
The Ratio: 2:2:1:1, flour to liquid to fat to eggs
The magic ratio for muffins in 2:2:1:1. This means 2 parts flour to 2 parts liquid to 1 part fat to 1 part eggs. The really important part is remembering to use the same unit of weight for each part!
What that really means is the fat and eggs should each weigh about the same. So, if you have 113 grams of butter, or 1 stick of butter, the eggs should also weigh about 113 grams. That would be about 2 large eggs.
The flour and liquid should each weigh about the same, too. Since it’s 2 parts flour and 2 parts liquid, they each should weigh more than either the fat or the eggs. Twice as much, as a matter of fact. If your eggs weigh about 113 grams, your flour and liquid should each weigh somewhere around 226 grams. If you’re adding in a wetter ingredient like fruit, you might want to cut back on the liquid and add a bit more of the flour.
As you can probably tell, the ratio is a bit slim on ingredients. In addition to the flour, liquid, fat, and eggs, you’ll also need baking powder or baking soda and a bit of sugar. A bit of salt is also optional. Personally, I don’t use it because I always forget. See what I mean about forgetting the ingredients?
The general rule of thumb for how much baking powder or baking soda is 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. I usually use a measuring cup the first couple of times I make something so I can get a rough idea of how many cups of flour I’m putting in so I can roughly figure out how much baking powder I should use. If I use about 226 grams of flour, I usually add a teaspoon and a half of baking powder.
For sugar, it’s 2-4 tablespoons of sugar per egg. I prefer my muffins be on the sweeter side, so I go for the full 4 tablespoons, but it’s completely up to you how much you want to add.
Now let’s talk about the liquid. You’ll notice it doesn’t say anything about what kind. That means you’re free to use what you’d like. I usually go with milk. I like to think it’s makes for a richer baked good than water, but I haven’t yet tried it with water, so I can’t say for sure. Now, the liquid isn’t always a liquid, per se. If you’re using a puree like pumpkin puree or mashed bananas, that would be considered your liquid. So, your liquid could be a puree or an actual liquid. And if you don’t have quite enough puree, you can always add a bit of liquid to make up the difference.
I’d like to note that eggs aren’t strictly necessary. One of my husband’s colleagues doesn’t eat eggs, so I was forced to find a substitute. I chose applesauce and haven’t gone back. Personally, I find using applesauce makes for a moister muffin while eggs made it a drier. If you choose to use applesauce, don’t pay attention to what egg substitution sources say. Instead, weigh out the applesauce to the weight you want and adhere to the ratio. I usually weigh my butter first and then match the applesauce to match the butter. Quick hint: 1 stick (half a cup) of butter weighs the same as one snack container of applesauce.
So, there you have it: some type of flour, a liquid/puree, fat, eggs/applesauce, baking powder/baking soda, sugar, salt, and anything you’d like to mix in.
Mixing Method: Let it be Lumpy
Do not overmix. It should be lumpy and just combined.
The dry ingredients and the wet ingredients are mixed separately and then the wet ingredients are added to the dry. The fat is melted and mixed in with the wet ingredients. Mix until everything is just combined. It shouldn’t become smooth. At this point, if you’re adding anything, add it and gently fold in until just combined.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying making berry muffins as my local market seems to think berries are in season (it’s early February, and they are not), so my favorite thing has been to sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. If you’re going to do so with any muffin, be sure to add it before baking.
Baking: Temperatures and Time
I’ve read a few ways to bake muffins. Some say to set a temperature of anywhere between 350 and 400 degrees with decreasing bake times as the temperature goes up. My favored way, though, is to heat the oven to 400 and then turn it down to 375 after putting the pan in the oven. I’ve found my muffins have become beautifully golden brown with some very nice muffin tops about 25-30 minutes later.
When the muffins come out of the oven, let them rest in the pan for a few minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to stop the baking process.