Why You Should Refrigerate Muffin Dough Overnight
My daughter recently asked for chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast for her birthday. Since it fell on a school day, and pancakes are never baked in my house without significant emotional drama over the relative size, quantity, and facial composition of said pancakes compared to their siblings (we have an emoji pancake pan), I immediately said no. Pancakes for the weekend.
But I was embarrassed to refuse my daughter’s desire for pancakes, so I offered chocolate chip muffins as a consolation, since I could have made them the night before. But while I was kneading the dough, I thought that it would be better if they were fresh from the oven. Why bother making homemade meals when tomorrow they will be at room temperature or nuclear bombed?
But wait. Can I refrigerate the dough and bake them fresh in the morning? I turned to the internet to see if this would negatively impact the final product (don’t know, blow it off? I’m not a food scientist). It turns out that not only will chilling the dough not ruin the cupcakes, it will make the cupcakes even better —more like those incredibly fluffy cupcakes with gorgeous domes you buy at the bakery. That’s why.
What happens to muffin dough when left in the fridge overnight?
Letting the dough rest overnight will allow the ingredients to work better for their intended purpose. According to The Kitchn , “while the cake batter is resting, the starches in the flour have more time to absorb the moisture from the eggs and the liquid in the batter. As a result, the starch swells, giving the dough a thicker and stronger texture.
Key to Success: Double Action Baking Powder . A baking powder (such as baking soda) is a leavening agent that helps the batter rise. Composed of powdered lye (sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda) and powdered acid (commonly tartaric acid, also known as cream of tartar), when moistened with wet ingredients, the acid and base react to form carbon dioxide, puffing up cookies and cakes.
It is called “double acting” because it reacts and creates gas bubbles twice : once when wet and dry ingredients are mixed, and a second time when exposed to heat. “If your baking powder is just an acid like buttermilk and baking soda, the bubbles can burst before the dough is baked,” says The Kitchn.
Is your baking powder dual action? Probably. You may never have noticed it, but the grocery store label will almost always say “double action.” (Most single acting baking powders are available for commercial use only).
How to make muffins at home
The next time you want to bake cupcakes, take comfort in knowing that it’s actually better to make the batter the night before and save time the next day. Just knead the dough according to the recipe, cover and leave overnight. The next morning, spoon it straight out of the fridge into the prepared muffin pan, filling each muffin pan to the top to reach the maximum baking height. Note . Chilled dough does not roll off the spatula as easily as room temperature dough. You can spray it lightly with non-stick cooking spray or keep your fingers slightly damp to make it slide into the pan more easily. Then sit back, relax and wait for everyone to be amazed by the unprecedented, professional pouf you’ve created. Who is the bakery?