Why This Blog?


Come in and make yourself at home. I'm so happy to be able to share my recipes here with you.

I bake mostly cookies, quick breads, muffins and scones -- sometimes pie, sometimes cake, but nothing too fancy. I prefer simple recipes that call for ingredients that I already have in my kitchen.

These are the recipes I will share with you. They come from family and friends, magazine clippings saved through the years, favorite cookbooks, and other blogs.

I'm so glad you came to visit. Enjoy your stay!

Michael Ann

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baking Tips for Breads, Muffins and Scones

Here are some tips that will help ensure bread-baking perfection every time! Just some things I have learned through the years.

You know how muffin recipes usually tell you to only fill the cups 1/2 way? That is why most home-made muffins are flat on top and unappealing! I fill the cups almost entirely.  You'll get a nice crown on the top this way.  Sometimes I like to sprinkle stuff on top before I bake them, like nuts or raw sugar.

You probably already know this, but I won't leave it out in case you don't....  A large ice cream scooper is a great tool for filling your muffin tin.  It sure beats the mess of trying to pour it directly or using a spoon.

I use the paper or foil baking cups unless the recipe says otherwise. This makes the muffins easier to handle and makes clean up a lot easier!

I highly recommend using the PAM baking spray, the one with the flour already in it. Nothing ever sticks!

I do NOT recommend non-stick bread pans or muffin tins. The crust tends to burn or just have a weird rubbery texture. Just use the PAM spray or the paper liners.
A lot of bread recipes call for lemon or orange zest. Do you have a good zester? You can buy one at any home goods store.

This is a neat tip I read somewhere. When baking muffins, fill one of the cups 1/2 way with water before you put the pan in the oven. The steam helps the muffins rise even better. Also, when you go to bake your 2nd batch and if there are lots of empty cups, this keeps the tin from warping. Cool huh? I don't always do this, for instance if the batter fills exactly 12 cups, I don't want to leave one to fill with water because then I have to do a second batch for just one muffin. 

You can usually bake any bread recipe into muffins. Keep the oven temp the same, just shorten the baking time. You will have to experiment.

You want your breads kind of crunchy on top and you DEFINITELY want the inside to be done. Nothing worse than gooey bread. To test for done-ness (is that a word?), insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it is done.

If you find that your breads tend to get too brown on the top and sides, but the inside is still not done enough to remove from the oven, put a piece of aluminum foil over the top about 1/2 way through the baking time. 

Breads and muffins freeze wonderfully! Double wrap the loaves in foil and put muffins in a freezer zip lock bag.  Label with a permanent marker. Include the date!

Scones. LOVE scones. One tip. Most recipes require you to use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter. I like to use a big cheese grater and grate the butter right into the bowl. You have to stir it into the flour frequently, but it gets that same lumpy effect. Makes sure the butter is always cold when making scones.

Happy Baking!


  1. Ooh, cheese grater for cold butter. LOVE that.

  2. :-)Got that tip from some magazine years ago....

  3. Thank you for the tips, I feel like somebody is finally telling me all the secrets!

  4. You are welcome, I'm glad you stopped by!

  5. I use the water tip all the time. And yes, it works. Usually if the recipe says it will make twelve, I normally end with one empty....LOL!! But what I do is fill all the empty cups half way with water. Like you mentioned having a partial muffin pan with maybe two or three ready to bake? I put water in every empty muffin holder.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Angie. Great endorsement for the water trick!


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