What Went Wrong???

Baking troubleshooting

A blog reader sent me this pic comparing our granola bars!

Amy left this comment on my Apple Fritter Muffins recipe,

“Hmmm. Well, I can’t say these will be a family favorite. They tasted like scrambled eggs with cinnamon.  Which…if you look at the ingredients, isn’t far from the truth. The texture was nothing like a muffin or a fritter. Even with oiling, this almost ruined my muffin pan. It stuck like glue!  Maybe more cocoanut flour would help?”

First off, Amy, I’m sorry that your muffins didn’t turn out well! Rest assured that each of my recipes has successfully worked in my kitchen, or I would not post it.

What went wrong with Amy’s muffins? As you can see from my pictures, her experience with the recipe was nothing like my experience. In fact, that recipe is one of my family’s favorites, my son asks me to make a batch of them every week. The muffins have never stuck to my pan and the texture is a satisfyingly muffin-y.

So why didn’t Amy’s muffins turn out? I’ve come up with a baking troubleshooting list below to help Amy and anyone else who’s frustrated with their baking results.

Keep in mind that baking is never a sure thing. Since the variables are so diverse, a recipe that you’ve successfully made in the past may be unrecognizable the second time around. There’s oven temperature, pan type, quality of ingredients, measuring of ingredients, forgetting ingredients, amount of grease on pan, bake time, cooling time and personal taste preference all of which play a part in the success of your baked good.

The baking recipes that I post on RealHealthyRecipes.com, are unique in that traditional baking ingredients (such as wheat flour, cane sugar, butter and vegetable oil) are replaced with more wholesome ingredients.  These new ingredients require a slightly different technique in order to achieve the desired end product.

The good news is that with a few good habits your baking can be consistent and satisfying nearly 100 percent of the time. Start with these 8 habits…

8 Successful Baking Habits

1)   Have your oven temperature checked to ensure that the temperature displayed is accurate. If you think you are baking at 350 degrees F but are in fact baking at 400, then your muffins aren’t going to turn out as planned. Use an oven thermometer to quickly discover your oven’s true temperature.

2)   Use quality pans. I can’t stress this one enough. Yes, quality, non-stick pans are much more expensive, but each and every time that you use them it will pay off. One of the biggest reasons that things stick to a pan, even with greasing, is due to a low quality pan.

3)   Always generously grease with coconut oil. Coconut oil is my grease of choice with baking, and I always apply a nice thick layer of it when I bake, even on my non-stick pans. The healthier ingredients used in my recipes will have the tendency to stick if you are cheap with your coconut grease.

4)   Include all the ingredients. This one seems obvious, but it’s easier than you’d think to leave ingredients out – yes, I’ve done this one before. The best way to avoid this is to first read through the entire recipe and then gather all of the ingredients before you begin. When the baking soda is right in front of you it’s a lot harder to forget to include it.

5)   Take care in measuring. This wasn’t my strongest skill – I used to eyeball measurements rather than carefully level them off, but after a few failed recipes I learned my lesson. Any deviation of ingredient measurement is going to change your end product.

6)   Bake in the center of the oven. Unless a recipe states otherwise, always place your pan at a rack positioned in the center of your oven. This allows for even baking.

7)   Allow your baked good to cool completely. I know it’s hard to wait, but if you rush to cut or scoop your still-warm baked good it will, in all likeliness, fall apart. Especially when using wholesome ingredients, the cooling time is very important. Most of my baking recipes use coconut oil, which is liquid when warm and solid when cold. Use this knowledge to your advantage by chilling your baked goods before slicing.

8)   Mix your ingredients well. Unless a recipe notes that you shouldn’t over-mix, then always take the time to mix your ingredients well. I often say, “Mix until fully incorporated” since this draws the picture perfectly. All ingredients should be evenly mixed together with no clumps or concentrated pockets.

 

Recipe Troubleshooting

1)   It fell apart! Allow it to cool completely in the pan before attempting to remove or slice. Also read the recipe instructions. If it says to chill the item before cutting then do so.

2)   It stuck to the pan! Increase the quality of your non-stick pan. Also generously apply coconut oil over the entire surface of the pan. Using parchment paper and a layer of coconut oil is also a great technique, and is called for in some recipe instructions.

3)   It didn’t taste right! Check through all the ingredients – did you include them all? Were your measurements correct? Also check the quality of your spices. While spices will not spoil, after about 2 years the flavor potency declines.

 

Comments

  • C November 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t allow non stick in my kitchen. It’s definitely not healthy! I always use paper cups to line my muffin tin. At least that way if a new recipe sticks, i can just compost the liners. I always grease *and* flour my baking pans. With paleo, a starch should sub nicely for flouring. A baking sheet should have a thick bottom for even heat conduction, regardless of its finish. I also frequently line my baking sheets with foil for easy clean up.

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