Bakers: What makes storebought (Safeway, Costco) muffins so dense and heavy?

I’m the guy who bakes the muffins at my job, but alas, I’m not actually a baker. I currently use the 5-pound boxes of Krusteaz Muffin Mix, and the problem with this stuff is that the resulting muffins are more cake-like than the ones you can pick up in a grocery store bakery. I’ve gotten some good results by using milk instead of water (tried cream, but that made batter that was way too stiff), and adding some eggs and oil. Better results, in that the muffins come out more moist and “crumbly”, but still not particularly dense. The big sales/operations manager wants denser muffins, but he is neither a cook nor a baker. So he knows what he wants but has no idea how to do it.

I do have a pretty good recipe for making muffins from scratch (from The Joy of Cooking cookbook), but that only makes maybe half a dozen jumbo muffins, and the nature of my job (conventions) often requires baking hundreds of muffins. Scaling up a small recipe to that level is completely out of my wheelhouse (I know you can’t just multiply everything, but exactly how to do it is beyond me). And the muffins still don’t have that “dense” quality.

Unfortunately, the only muffin mixes available from our suppliers are the Krusteaz, or the Sysco house brand mix, which is worse. So any ideas on what to add to this premix stuff to make denser muffins?

More gluten. Beat the batter more, or cut some bread flour into the mix. If you add more eggs, add half again as many yolks as whites.

I was going to guess “unhealthy stuff”… how much does lard weigh?

But, seriously, I would MUCH rather have your muffins. Lighter, less of a lump in your stomach after you bravely try to finish it… and I’d bet yours are tastier, too. Krusteaz* makes great mixes!

*which is harder to find since leaving Seattle… can I drop by your work on Muffin Monday?

He WANTS denser muffins?? Can you convince him he’s wrong?

You could add some bran or oats to the mix?

If he’s a sales/marketing guy, he’ll respond well to PR. Just get a couple people to say “Mmmm, these muffins are so much denser than what Mister Rik made last week. And SO much better than store bought!”

Betcha he’ll start believing it himself, esp. if someone gives him credit for giving you the idea for the “new” recipe!

ETA: For anyone not following my “logic”: Of course, Mister Rik doesn’t change the recipe one iota…

Of course you can scale up a recipe. The muffins won’t know whether you made 1 recipe many times separately or together. Think about it. What’s the difference between making one batch of batter, 20 times, and combining them, or making the batter times 20 all at once? -Speaking as an ex-pastry chef who did just this many times while in school.

In general, to have denser muffins, you want to decrease the rising. So less leavening (baking soda, baking powder, or eggs) or more of the rest of ingredients. But I never tried to make a recipe denser, just the opposite.

You need oil or melted butter in that box mix. Replace part of the water or milk with it. ( not margarine it’s watery)

I dunno, I tried quadrupling the Joy of Cooking recipe a while back and the batter came out really soupy (I’ve made clam chowder that was thicker than that batter) and when baked, the resulting muffins were misshapen and rubbery. But I’ll admit to the possibility that my math was off at some point in the process.

It probably doesn’t apply to baking muffins, but I’ve heard that when scaling up other sorts of recipes you need to be careful with things like dried herbs, spices, chile powder, etc. - you don’t necessarily want to scale those ingredients up 2X or 4X or 8X or whatever.

(And of course if you were baking something like a cake, 2 small pans would cook differently than 1 large pan.)