Muffin Basics

If you aren’t getting perfect muffins, look at this advice and double-check your method next time.  I do have to say that I haven't ever had anybody turn down a muffin that wasn't picture perfect so don't let that intimidate you.  

The Farm Journal's Country Fair Cookbook 1984 gives this information on how to judge perfect muffins.
"An excellent muffin should be light; the outside should be golden brown, symmetrical in shape with no peaks or knobs on top. The top surface should be slightly pebbled and the interior of the muffin should have round fairly uniformly sized holes with no long slender tunnels".
Peaked, smooth crust: over mixed.
Pale: temperature was too low or over mixed. Be sure to let oven preheat fully.
Dry and crumbly: excess flour, the oven temperature was too low or they were over baked.
Tunnels: overmixing.
Toughness : overmixing.
These photos are from a pamphlet “250 Breads, Biscuits and Rolls” from the Culinary Arts Institute 1952.
If the oven is too hot, poor shape and holes inside will result.
Heavy tunnels and flat muffins result from a temperature that’s too low.

The photo recipe is:  Orange Poppyseed Muffins


  1. I must say, my hubby doesn't judge my muffins. He says,' if they taste good, who cares what they look like'; it's the taste that matters.
    My problem is that I have a habit of over filling my cupcakes / muffins, etc; especially when I get in a hurry and want to get them finished.

  2. Hi Sue, this information is wonderful and these muffins sound so good that I will have to try them as soon as I get to a grocery store as my fridge and pantry are pretty bare at the moment. Also, we are in the depth of a series of winter weather with lots of snow. Don't you find that muffin recipes today are more like cake than the muffins we made 50 years ago? The last time I made muffins I used a recipe I made all those years ago and they were not as sweet and more like bread. I learned the tips in your post when I was in 4-H and we had to judge them, or be judged, at the county fair. This post brings back a lot of memories.

    1. Yes, one of my sister-in-law's has her home etc.cookbook and still uses it. And she knows those baking rules perfectly! And I agree, we think of muffins as bread, not cupcakes.


Hi...we'd love to hear from you.
Comments are moderated before appearing...Thanks.