Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Won't Miss #283 - dry muffins and cakes

If you don't bake, you may not know what components make baked goods moist. Most people assume that it is the fat that makes things like a muffin moist. Well, it is, but it's only half of the equation. The other half is sugar and that is why most muffins and many (but not all!) cakes in Japan have poor texture. The Japanese are notorious for whining that everything in America is "too sweet" for their palates. To compensate for the desire for less sweet baked goods, bakers in Japan use less sugar and the result is fatty, but dry muffins and cakes. You can't just ditch sugar in a recipe and expect a less sweet, but good result. There are ways to compensate for this (like using unsweetened fruit puree such as applesauce, prunes, etc.) to enhance moisture without using more sugar, but the bakers here don't seem to know or care to adjust the recipes. Sometimes, I wake up thinking I'd love to go off to a bakery and buy a nice muffin as a rare treat for breakfast, then I remember that every purchase is a roll of the dice and the cards for a good result are stacked against me.

I won't miss the dry, unpleasant cakes and muffins in Japan.