Blueberry season around the corner and here in Florida the local farms have started the pick-your-own extravaganza. And as an adopted floridian I could help but jump in the train and do some picking on my own. Interesting fruit the blueberry. We call it blueberry where it is actually purple. It is one of the fine contributions to the new world to the americas.
Blueberries are flowering plants in the genus Vaccinium, sect. Cyanococcus. The species are native only to North America. They are shrubs varying in size from 10 cm tall to 4 m tall; the smaller species are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), and the larger species as “highbush blueberries”. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and from 1–8 cm long and 0.5–3.5 cm broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. All species whose English common names include “blueberry” are currently classified in section Cyanococcus of the genus Vaccinium. Several other plants of the genus Vaccinium also produce blue berries which are sometimes confused with blueberries, mainly the predominantly European bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which in many languages has a name that means “blueberry” in English. See the Identification section for more information.
However the real star of the show here is not the Blueberry but the muffin. That’s right! The muffin an american evolution to a british classic. The muffins in England are leveled by yeast the unicellular creatures that digest the sugars to CO2. However in the America the early settlers did not had the time or the luxury of yeast and therefore they got the leveling from chemical methods. And Although to many muffins and cup cakes are no different there is a fundamental difference, in cup cakes the butter is beaten with the sugar and that results in nucleation, the poking of tiny little holes in the butter that when the CO2 from the chemical levelers will further inflate. In muffins the leveling results directly from the chemical levelers, that requires a even distribution in the batter. However, everyone who ever blow a bubble will tell you that to hardest part in doing so is the initial blow. So the bubbles will be harder to be created and all the pressure will go to the initial bubble formation resulting in a finer texture and significantly more dense bread. So Muffins are muffins and cup cakes are cup cakes. No confusion ok?
Here we will start with the basic muffin recipe that you can use as the base for all muffins.
We will need:
- •1 and 1/4 cup of flour
- •2 tsp of baking soda
- •a pinch of salt
- •2 eggs:
- •1 cup of sugar
- •4 tbsp butter
- •1/2 cup of sugar
- •1 tsp Vanilla extract
- •1/2 cup of milk
- •1 cup of blueberries (I used 1 1/2 which was a lot)
Measure the flour precisely. That will be better weighted but I do o have a scale so that will do.
Sift them in your work ball. You can use a sifter but the one I had I used twice I throw it out because it is impossible to clean these things. Anyway, here I have a strainer which I tap with a knife. Takes time but you can clean it.
Repeat with the baking powder.
These are what you sifting for. Ok?
Add the pinch of salt.
Take the half cup of milk.
Mix it with half cup of sugar.
And crack open the two eggs in a bowl. You can crack the in the liquid batter immediately but I like this way since you can avoid any spoiled eggs and fish out possible shells.
Add them to the butter and mix them.
Add the melted butter.
And mix again.
Add the liquid team over the dry team and mix with a spatula as less times as possible. Over-mixing will result in gluten, the springy protein substance the gives bread and pizza their chewing pleasure.
Add a teaspoon of flour on the fresh blueberries to dust them. That will make the batter get a hold on them. Like velcro or something.
Just like this.
Add them in the mix and slowly stir them in.
Lube your muffin tins…
And dose the batter. 2/3 from the top, or till it is evenly spread in the 12 tins.
Set your oven at 375 F and bake till they are GBD. Golden Brown and Delicious. You need an oven thermometer. You need to make sure that you have the right temperature before you add the muffins in.
This is what the GBD looks like. I over did it with the blueberries and some exploded, but there were still delicious never the less.
Once you remove them put them on a rack to cool them. This will make a crunchy bottom.
And here is the interior. MMmmm yummy…
And here you can see the microstructure. Small even bubbles.