If you read my last post for Sunshine Muffins, you probably noticed my directions to barely mix the batter. Although this seems counterintuitive there was a method behind my madness, I wanted to help prevent tunneling in your muffins. When you bake at home you might notice long, thin air pockets in your muffins, quick breads and cakes that you don’t see in commercial products. These air pockets are known as tunnels, and they are completely preventable.
Tunnels happen in baked goods when the batter is over mixed. Over mixing produces more gluten in the batter then the product needs. This gluten traps air in your treats as they are baking. Along with these air pockets the extra gluten also causes your quick breads to be tough and not keep well.
So how do you avoid tunneling in your baked goods? The best place to start is to follow the recipe’s directions explicitly. There are several traditional methods that are used to make baked goods, and each one is used for a reason. Much of baking is a science and steps need to be followed in order to achieve the desired outcome. The second thing you can do is mix by hand. You have more control over mixing when you decide to leave the stand mixer in the corner. Lastly, don’t cut out any fat. Recipes that are higher in fat are less susceptible to tunneling. If your recipe calls for dairy products, try using the full fat version until you are more comfortable.