The Muffin Conundrum

by wjw on March 8, 2018

EnglishMuffinOnPlate_wbI have an important scientific question here.  The answer may save the world, or at least my breakfast.

I am fond of English muffins.  (Or, as I believe they are known in England, “muffins.”) Yet these muffins have one peculiarity that I can neither understand nor condone.

When I take a muffin out of the container to drop into the toaster, there is always one corner of the muffin that’s soggy.  (I know a round object can’t have a corner, but bear with me.  You know what I mean.)  Opposite the soggy bit, there’s another bit that’s very dry.

Generally time in the toaster does not fully dry out the soggy piece, though it will turn the dry bit to charcoal.

This has happened both in my current refrigerator and its predecessor.  (I would keep the muffins on the counter instead, but then they turn green.)  This happens no matter how the muffins are stored, horizontally or on edge.

What causes this?  How can it be prevented?

I like my muffins, and I want them to be perfect.  Why is this satisfaction denied me?

Michael grosberg March 8, 2018 at 5:00 am

What happens if you pop them out halfway through, rotate 180 and put them back in the toaster?

Mathew E March 8, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Have you tried standing them up, like a cylinder? I think the conundrum that you’re experiencing is because of moisture propagation….

wjw March 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm

I have stacked them as a cylinder to the same avail as anything else. I am cursed.

Laura Creighton March 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm

If you buy a convection toaster oven, I think your problem will be solved. Know anybody local that has one so you could make a test? Don’t get a digital one, you want the round dials version, much easier to use, and make sure the thing is easy to clean before you buy.

Etaoin Shrdlu March 20, 2018 at 10:45 am

The problem is that the muffins outgas water vapor, which condenses on the surface of the bag and then slides down to the lowest point, whereupon it gets soaked up by the bread. This then promotes mold growth and you end up with a soggy green-black-white-brown mess that needs to get thrown out. Fortunately you are not in a vacuum so you don’t need to worry about vacuum-welding.

You need to rotate your English muffins (which, by the way, are essentially the same as “crumpets” over there, unless of course you’re talking about Nigella:

) from time to time, as in hourly. You can do this with a Ronco English Muffin Rotator or other, lesser, battery-powered appliance if you don’t wish to wake up regularly to keep them properly rotated.

Keeping them in a paper bag would also work, but you would have to use them more quickly to prevent them from drying out (and besides, who doesn’t want a Ronco English Muffin Rotator in their fridge?). You could also rest them on a mesh screen inside a plastic container, so that the muffins are held off the bottom and don’t touch the condensed-out water..

Concur on the convection toaster oven, it will help. Living in a country where they don’t normally install ovens in kitchens, mine is my best purchase ever.

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