Faster baking with muffins and vegetables?!

Christmas season means lots of baking! Time to share two quick lessons I have
learned over the past few months.

Much faster!

Muffins speed up baking time considerably – 15-20 minutes versus 60-90 minutes. They solidify faster than cakes because the volume/surface ratio is lower (more dough is closer to an edge). The results can still be nice and moist..

Potential problem: how to remove muffins and wash the molds? I’ve found food-grade silicon molds to be very effective – we can push the bottom and the muffins pop right out. They’re also super-easy to clean by pouring on some boiling water.

A broader question: is it safe? The temperature range is -40 to 200 degC [1]; I usually bake at 160-170. There is some concern about volatile organic compounds (organosiloxanes) migrating from the molds into food [2]. This can be minimized by ‘tempering’ or ‘curing’ the molds before use [3]. Simply put them (empty) into the 200 degC circulating oven for 2-4 hours.

Note that the molds also absorb some fats into their internal structure (cleaning doesn’t help), and these will eventually go rancid [3]. Better to use stable saturated fats (coconut oil, ghee) that don’t oxidize so quickly [4]. When the molds start to smell, it’s time to replace them..

Grain-free? Works fine!

Skipping wheat and grains makes a noticeable difference for me [4] but that need not hold back the baking. As a general template, I am having considerable success with nut flour (almond/cashew), ghee/coconut oil, and the main filler: banana/carrots/zucchini/beets/corn. It is very interesting to note that vegetables don’t taste as such. Beets make for excellent red velvet chocolate muffins with the added hidden bonus of vegetable goodness (phytonutrients).

Happy baking!

1: US patent 6,197,359

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