Muffins are usually baked at temperatures between 375 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit so they rise and brown quickly, but how quickly they bake depends on a variety of factors. Dark bakeware, as well as glass bakeware, bakes more quickly and may burn the edges of your muffins if you're not vigilant. Once you're accustomed to it, though, you can make the necessary changes for baking success. Both types of pans work, but choose one and stick with it for consistently good results.
Set the Timer
Dark non-stick and metal muffin tins tend to bake muffins more quickly than lighter colored pans simply because the dark metal absorbs and holds heat, while light pans reflect it. In general, muffins cooked in dark pans will be done 5 to 10 minutes earlier than those cooked in other bakeware will. To avoid over-baking, set the timer for 5 to 10 minutes before you think the muffins will be done. At the same time, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Muffins cooked in dark muffin tins typically take 15 to 20 minutes to bake. Those baked in lighter colored tins bake in 20 to 25 minutes.
The Muffin Test
Don't rely on the timer alone to tell you when the muffins are done. Check them visually through the oven door from time to time. The muffins are done when the tops are golden brown. The muffins should spring back when touched with a finger. Insert a toothpick in one of the muffins in the center of the pan. The toothpick should come out clean with a few moist crumbs. Don't wait until the muffins shrink from the edges of the pan to remove them. At this point, they're probably over-baked, which can cause crumbly, dry muffins.
If you already own a specific type of muffin tin, simply make adjustments in baking time as necessary. When buying new tins, avoid dark pans because they're more likely to burn muffins. Aluminum pans bake most efficiently, according to Cindy Mushet, author of "The Art & Soul of Baking." These pans heat quickly so muffins brown and hold the heat throughout baking. When choosing non-stick pans, opt for those that have an aluminum base.
When baking muffins, the bakeware isn't the only thing that can affect how the muffins bake. Preheat the oven for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you place the pans in the oven. Set the muffin tins on the center rack and don't overcrowd them. If they seem to be baking unevenly, rotate the pans halfway through baking. Check your oven's temperature with an oven thermometer. Ovens can be off by 50 to 100 degrees F, which can wreak havoc on your baking no matter how careful you are.
- The Art & Soul of Baking; Cindy Mushet
- Fine Cooking: What Kind of Bakeware
- Photo Credit ITStock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images