Why not Dry to Wet
Whenever I'm making muffins, cornbread, etc., the recipe always tells you to add the wet ingredients to the dry, and to stir as little as possible.
Stupid question (I haven't tried it, but I figure I'd ask): why can't you add dry to wet? Wouldn't pouring the dry ingredients slowly into the wet moisten them with less mixing?
Forgive my heresy.
I'd be curious too. I've assumed this technique is largely an inheritance from the time when one made doughs and batters on a flat surface, mounding the dry ingredients and creating a well into which to pour and gradually mix wet ingredients. Like the way fresh pasta is still made today. That way, you only had to deal with one container, rather than two. In days of limited containers, that made a difference.
re: Karl S.
The goal of the mixing is to make a dough that is homogenious. If you put dry into wet; the ingredients will absorb more liquid than they are supposed to have.
When wet goes into dry the total wet is absorbed and averaged among the dry because it is less than the total wet it is capable of absorbing.
If you pour the dry onto the wet, the dry will escape and powder every horizontal surface within five feet. That's all.
To make a long story on starch science short, the batter would be impossibly lumpy if you add the dry to the wet. Trust me.
Altho Shmingrid proposes a plausible reason below, I'm not 100% convinced. The simple, quick answer is, why not try it the other way and see what happens?
As a general matter, I find a tremendous amount of ignorance among even so-called professional cookbook writers. For expl, I've seen recipes by famous cookbook writers in which they suggested boiling sugar in water for *FIVE* minutes, to make sure the sugar dissolved! This is probably a throwback to some situation decades ago in which the sugar did not dissolve quickly; that's not the case today.
I could give you lots of other examples, so the simple answer is, try it the reverse way and see.
I must be nuts... or dyslexic when I read my recipes... but I've always added the dry ingredients in to the wet. I just fold them in carefully... I've never had a problem with this method... but now I must re-think this... I just mix the way my mother did... and her mother before her. dear lord do I come from a long line of women who had it WRONG!
I think I'm developing a complex about it... questioning years of baking.... I think I need a glass of wine. *sigh*