For Quick Breads and Muffins, Two Temperatures Are Better than One

updated May 1, 2019
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Close-up of blueberry muffin, wrapper pulled away from sides
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

There’s no question that the standard oven temperature of 350°F gets the job done for baking up muffins and quick breads. But you don’t want baked goods that just “get the job done.” No, you deserve better — and for that, you need two temperatures.

Start High, Then Go Low

Instead of baking muffins and quick bread at one steady temperature throughout, use two temperatures to produce tall, rounded muffins and quick breads with a lightly crisped top and a pillow-soft center. Start by baking muffins and quick breads for about eight minutes at 425°F, then lower the oven temperature to 350°F for the remainder of the cook time.

Why It Works

The initial 425°F oven temperature promotes a fast rise for these baked goods. It encourages the batter to puff, extending upwards out of the liner (or pan), for a taller, more domed result. These early few minutes of extra-hot cook time also set the outer surface, developing that wonderful crust that will eventually come out of the oven lightly browned with a delicate crunch.

Think of the second phase of cooking, after the temperature is lowered, as your insurance policy against overcooking. It prevents the outside from overcooking, while it delivers an interior that’s soft and tender.

Have you tried this trick?