can I make muffins without traditional leaveners?"
Anne and Sue,
I think I have a hard one for you.…
I’m allergic to baking powder, baking soda, yeast,
sourdough, and dairy. I manage to make my own bread,
which obviously has to be flat bread, but it’s
still delicious. I really want to make muffins, and
I don’t know how to make them without baking powder,
baking soda, yeast, or sourdough. Is there anything
I can use as a substitute? I don’t really expect
the batter to rise, but I don’t want to eat something
that’s hard as a brick or uncooked inside. Do
you think you can help?
Thank you so much.
It is challenging to bake without any of the traditional
leavens. We admire the way you’re reaching out to
find solutions, such as baking flatbreads. We agree that
there are indeed some very tasty ones!
Muffins, however, are tricky because they have a reasonably
heavy batter, and much of their appeal lies not only in
the flavors of the ingredients but also in their texture.
The major substitute that comes to mind is using beaten
eggs. We’re unsure if you’re including eggs
when you refer to your allergy for dairy products, or
if you just mean milk, cultured dairy products (such as
yogurt), and cheese. Here are few ideas you might try.
Eggs can act as remarkable leavens, so assuming that you
can use eggs, separate the yolks from the whites and stir
the yolks into the batter along with their liquid. Beat
the whites until they’re light and fluffy and fold
them into the batter at the last minute. Beating the eggs
adds air to the egg whites and should lift the batter,
though how much depends on what other ingredients are
in your recipe. Heavier ingredients, such as oatmeal,
will lessen the egg whites’ leavening effect. You
might try including one more egg white than is called
for in the recipe to create some extra lift.
| To help eggs with the "lift job," try lightening
the batter itself. Use a combination of all-purpose and
cake-and-pastry flours. This will reduce the amount of
gluten that’s developed in the flour when liquid
is added and will make the batter rise more easily.
If you can’t use milk, substitute a carbonated beverage
such as ginger ale. The air bubbles from the carbonation
can also contribute a bit of leavening.
Also try eliminating the leavens in scones or oatcakes,
which are usually denser than muffins. Recipes for these
quick breads call for solid shortening to be cut into
the flour mixture. Adding shortening makes them more moist
and tender, so you are less likely to notice the lack
of fluffiness. Here too, try separating the eggs and folding
in the beaten whites separately. Quick breads are usually
baked at 350°, but in this case bake them at 425°.
A high oven temperature quickly converts any moisture
present to steam, a very powerful natural leaven. You
might also have to decrease the cooking time to avoid
dried out, burned breads.
Another possibility is angel food cake. Recipes for this
cake use a lot of eggs as leavens. Though they aren’t
muffins, they are delicious.
While these substitutes won’t result in traditional
products, with some experimenting on your part, you can
likely produce acceptable ones!
Perhaps, too, our readers have recipes that fit Maya’s
criteria. Please post them on the recipe section of the
Wishing you luck! And thanks for writing.
Anne and Sue