Turned out this blueberry muffin recipe does not require any cake-mixer, the butter has to be melted instead of creamed with sugar, and it is specifically stated in the recipe to fold in the flour with 5 strokes. 5 strokes? How is that possible???
I tried folding in the flour with 5 strokes, but I think I exceeded 5, probably did 7 to 8 gentle strokes with my rubber spatula. The batter was not thick, and it was not difficult to fold in the flour, but I always have a tendency to continue folding until I don't see any white specks of flour. Which was why the recipe specifically stated 5 strokes, perhaps the author of the recipe knew that people would end up with 7 to 10 strokes? The key is to make do with as few strokes of folding as possible, because if you over-mix, your muffins will end up tough and compact instead of soft and fluffy.
My favourite baking website Joy Of Baking has an explanation on this:
It says and I quote
"The important step here is not to overmix the batter. However, there is a tendency to over mix because the ratio of liquid to flour is quite high. But mixing too much overdevelops the gluten in the flour which will cause a tough muffin with tunnels and a compact texture. Only 10 to 15 strokes are needed to moisten the ingredients and the batter should be still lumpy and you may still see a few traces of flour. Don't worry about these lumps as the batter continues to blend as it bakes and any lumps will disappear. Note: Over mixing the muffin batter causes it to become very stringy. This is the gluten developing in the flour. Over mixing causes long strands of gluten to form making it hard for the leavener to work and causes long tunnels in the baked good."
Voila, the experts explain it better than me. Joy of Baking states that 10 to 15 strokes are required, that is probably for bigger amounts of batter, but I remember reading somewhere that 7 strokes is all it takes for such bread-like muffins, which was why I settled for 7. :)
The cake-like muffins on the other hand, requires creaming butter and sugar just like how you would prepare a cake batter. But why don't we have to fold in with fewer strokes for the cake-like muffins? The reason is because the high sugar and fat content in cake-like muffins act as tenderizers, thereby producing a richer muffin with a softer crumb. The increased fat content also minimises the development of gluten which helps to produce a muffin with a softer crumb.
Okay, so much theory behind baking muffins. Thank goodness amateur home bakers like me have websites such as Joy Of Baking to help explain the complicated stuff. :)
Recipe adapted from Florence of Do What I Like
145g SR flour, sifted (I used cake flour with 1.5 tsp baking powder)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries or more, wash and dried (I used about 80g)
1 egg (lightly beaten) at room temp
60g melted butter (melted in hot water bath or in microwave for 30s)
2 tbsp milk
120g plain yoghurt (I used whipping cream as I didn't have yoghurt)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1. Mix ingredients A together, basically let the blueberries be covered by flour.
2. Mix ingredients B together in a mixing bowl, using a spatula.
3. Pour A into B and mix everything in
4. Spoon batter into muffin tray lined with paper muffin cups up to 85% full.
5. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated oven at 190C for 20 tot 30 min or until cooked. I baked mine for 25 min.
This recipe will give you 8 small muffins. I spooned too little batter for my muffins, this was probably an over-reaction from the experience I had previously with my over-flowing carrot muffins, haha. If you spoon 2 tbsp of batter into each muffin cup, you will get 8 instead of 10, because I spooned 1.5 tbsp of batter for each muffin and I ended up with 10.
They were indeed soft and fluffy, and not too sweet, and filled with blueberry goodness. I can easily finish one muffin in one bite. These muffins were very easy to make and the taste was great, so this is a keeper recipe!
By the way, I have to tell that this is my 300th post. 4 years and 2 months after my blog was set up in April 2010, I am still alive and kicking!!! And from 1 child to 3, oh gosh, I am so productive!!! :D