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Feb 24, 2011 09:57 AM

muffin question

I want to make muffins a day in advance. Every time I do they become "wet" on top rather than that initial dry texture by the next day. Same with banana/pumpkin bread. How do I keep them from becoming soggy/moisture on top? Why do bakery ones not get that way- should I not store them in an air tight container?

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  1. Good question--I've asked this and no one had a solution.

    1. When I worked in a cafe, we used to make our own muffins, and the stickiness is hard to avoid. We made our muffins every morning, so we didn't have to worry about it too much, but we always made certain to take them from the tins as soon as we could, and let them cool completely on wire racks before we wrapped them.

      I found this online:

      I haven't used those methods, but am especially curious if the removal of the paper cups, the use of waxed paper, and storing in a paper bag would be helpful. Good luck.

      3 Replies
      1. re: onceadaylily

        It's not so much the sogginess within the muffin as the crunchy tops become soft. The crunchy tops are the best part.

        1. re: chowser

          Ah. Well, some people swear by cooling them completely, and then keeping them in the freezer until needed, and reheating in the oven, which might work to preserve the tops. Kind of a pita to do it that way, though, (and a waste of gas/electric) if you just want to eat a muffin at a time. I have read that tops that have sugar brushed or sprinkled are going to be much more difficult to keep firm, as the sugar itself can create the excess moisture that softens it.

          1. re: chowser

            I have been experimenting with baking muffin doughs in a Belgian waffle iron. When I last did it, my son remarked that it reminded him of the Seinfeld episode about the muffin tops because the resulting waffles are like muffin tops without bottoms.

            OTOH, when I bake the extra dough as muffins my family seems to prefer the dough baked as muffins to the waffles. But then they've never expressed a preference for the tops.

        2. Finish it off under the broiler.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            broiler---do you mean the next day or as soon as they are at the end of baking?

            I tried leaving them out last night instead of air tight container. A little better, but not great. They weren't "sticky" but still soft. I've also tried the bread trick, but not better results.

            1. re: readytocook

              The crunchy top is absorbing moisture - some from the air, some from the rest of the muffin. An air tight container probably enhances this effect.

              1. re: readytocook

                broiler---do you mean the next day or as soon as they are at the end of baking?


                End of baking.

            2. When I want to have muffins ready for the next AM, I prepare all of the dry ingredients that night. In the AM I add the wet give them a few good stirs and plop the batter into the muffin cups. Then into the oven while i shower. They are ready in about 20-25 minutes. If you are doing a streusel topping for crunch you can prepare that the night before too so it is also ready. The rest of the process in the AM is a snap and a fresh hot muffin is always better than one prepared the day before.

              1. Sugar and Salt are naturally hydroscopic substances. That is to say that they seek out water wherever it can be found and draw it in. The ambient humidity in the air is one of the places where water vapor can be found and the naturally high levels of sugar in muffins and banana bread will draw upon that water. Sugars are made "crispy" when they are dehydrated and/or caramelized. The crystal network of sugar is aligned to produce a crispy texture when sufficient moisture is removed. It's the difference between syrup and candy, for instance. In essence, your question really is, "How do I get my muffins to have a candy crunch rather than a syrup consistency on top?"

                So, what does that mean in terms of real life application? It means that you, as someone has already suggested with the note on broiling, need to remove some of the moisture in the top layer of the muffin in order to cause the sugars to reform their network. They'll become crispy again if placed under a broiler. Some of the best banana and pumpkin bread I have ever had was baked, became tacky, then placed on a griddle with a little butter. The reheating of the slice of banana bread under high heat, caused the sugars (fructose and sucrose) to realign, caramelize, and become crispy.

                I would also add a final note. Hydration is always an important factor in terms of the palatablility of a baked product. Take care to reheat the top layer of your muffin quickly (using a broiler), rather than slowly (re-baking your muffin at a mid-to-lower temperature) or you may also risk drying out your product. Watch your muffin under the broiler to be sure it does not burn. It'll take some trial and effort to find the best location in the oven for reheating your muffin, but be patient and monitor where you seem to get the best results.

                If your muffins were crispy when you initially pulled them out, they should be able to be made that way again. So, you can make your muffins in advance, reheat carefully under a broiler and you should see a texture change on the tops of your muffins.

                Hope this helps.