Sourdough Blueberry Muffins


After a few months of a baking hiatus, I pulled my sourdough starter (Frank) out of the fridge before thanksgiving.  I baked a couple of loaves but they just aren’t everything they could be. Too dense, too sad-looking. 

So, in an effort to rev up my starter and strengthen it enough to get a great loaf of bread, Frank has been living on the counter being fed twice a day. This creates a lot of leftover starter and we can only eat so much bread. 


This morning, I tried a new recipe from King Arthur Flour–blueberry sourdough muffins. Sounded interesting enough!
Frank didn’t have quite enough volume to get a full cup from him, so I made a half batch which yielded 10 smallish muffins. 

These were tasty but unlike most of my usual muffins. The maple syrup sweetener is very mild so these are much more like enriched bread than muffins. The sourdough flavor is pretty much swamped by the blueberries but it is there if you look for it. Perhaps if my starter was stronger, it would come through more.  Surprisingly, my kids loved these despite the lack of super sweetness. 
Small batch Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

120 grams AP flour

70 grams yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed

1/8 cup milk

1/2 large egg or 1 yolk

2 tblsp melted butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup blueberries, frozen (wild blueberries are best but I only had regular today)

Demerara or coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops
Preheat oven to 425 and prepare muffin pan.

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another, leaving blueberries out until the last step. Thoroughly stir the wet, then add the wet to the dry. Stir until nearly combined. Add blueberries and stir a few more times. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and top with coarse sugar. 

Bake 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. 

The Great Muffin Tin Lining Test

I baked two batches of blueberry muffins over the last couple of weeks and had vastly different results.  The first was blogged here and resulted in gorgeous high-rising muffins that were, sadly, a little difficult to get out of the tin.  In the instructions, I noted that you should use liners instead of facing the frustrating reality of chiseling your muffins out of the tin.

 

But–was that right?  The second batch I made were baked in liners and they came out looking…well…too sad to photograph.  They were delicious but they didn’t rise nearly as high and they didn’t have the nice slight crunch of the exterior that is browned in the individual cups.  I wondered if the liner had anything to do with it and set about to test.

 

Eight muffins, four methods.  Baking spray only, a parchment paper sling, a paper liner, and a foil liner.

Then topped with the topping which I am still using from the original batch.  I still have a little more to use up, in fact.

Halfway through baking, the differences were clear.  Despite the unlined cups having the least amount of batter (since they were filled last and I am terrible at eyeballing), they were baking up higher and better looking than their partners.

 

After baking:

  

Some of this will, no doubt, come down to personal preference.  I prefer a muffin with a little crust on the side and I don’t really love the mess of a liner.  I just want to grab the muffin and eat it without any trash related entanglements, ok?  For that kind of muffin, I think the parchment sling is the way to go.  It made removal super easy and it had an even nicer looking top than the no liner muffins.

 

For those that like a soft sided muffin, the win has to go to the foil liners over the paper liners.  The rise was just a little loftier and muffin comes away just a little cleaner.