I have several recipes for muffins and the
like that call for cooking oil. When I make them as instructed, they
taste very bland. I was wondering if butter could be used as a
substitute for oil? Please help!!! Thanks! - Anne O'Neill (6/26/02)
There are differences between butter and oil. The biggest, and
probably the important one, is that butter is only 80% oil. The other
20% being milk solids and water. That could cause some problems as it
will change the moisture of your product. Clarified butter could
possibly be interchangeable directly. Following is information on how to
produce a quality muffin:
Following is from the
Oregon State Food Science
Produce A Quality Muffin
Muffins are simple quick bread that are traditionally baked
from a batter prepared from a mixture of egg, milk and melted shortening
or oil stirred into sifted flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. The
optimum proportion of ingredients, mixing, and baking results in a
"standard" muffin" with good volume and a slightly rounded, golden
brown, pebbly top. Although the interior crumb is coarse, it should be
uniform and tender.
Due to the proportion of liquid to flour, gluten develops with only
slight mixing. The amount of mixing that is optimum for muffins is just
enough to blend the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients but not
enough to produce a smooth batter. When lifted with a spoon, the batter
should break and separate easily. Mixing the batter beyond the optimum
amount results in a smoother and less lumpy batter. The increase in
gluten development prevents the muffin from rising in the early part of
the baking period resulting in a lighter slick crust with a duller
appearance and a top which is not rounded but has peaks, tunnels or
holes through the center of the muffin.
The influence of mixing may be magnified or minimized by selection of
the different flours. Cake flour with less gluten forming protein not
only is less likely to form tunnels during mixing, but will product a
more tender muffin than hard wheat flours. Changing the proportion and
type of egg, milk, fat or baking powder also influences muffin quality.
Many of the muffins made today have a high proportion of fat and sugar.
In some ways, muffins are similar to the one-bowl cake of old.