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Real Food VS FrankenFoods: A Muffin a Day

Muffins are awesome to eat. Apparently, they are also too hard for you to make on your own.

Here are the ingredients of this “Convenience” product:

Wheat flour – Okay, good. You definitely need this.

Cane Sugar – I guess it is good to establish what kind of sugar we are talking about. Sure.

Wheat Bran – Excellent! It has wheat bran. So far so good.

Dehydrated Banana – Makes sense, the product is dry on the shelf after all.

Soybean Oil – Why soybean? Of course! Cheaper! Also, are you sure you want to eat Roundup ready soybeans?

Whey Powder (milk) – This is a byproduct of cheese making. They are not allowed to throw it away, so why not use it as a food additive?

Emulsifier Blend-Propolyne Glycol Mono fatty acid Esters-monoglycerides soy sodium stearoyl 2 lactylate – Okay, so this is off the hook in terms of what is inside. I just do not want to go there. If you Google it, you will see the major restaurants are using it too. McDicks, PizzaSlut, etc.

Salt – Sure, a pinch of salt is always good.

Sodium Bicarbonate – No need to get excited here, it’s just baking soda. You do need this for it to rise.

Monocalcium Phosphate- This is another leavening agent. It also acts as an inhibitor for microbiotic activity.

Natural Flavors – Well, there are a lot of things that can be natural flavors. Garbage, poop, insects.

Soy Protien Isolate – Used as an emulsifier, and a texturizer. Yum! Even more fun when you think of the “toxin furan in soy protein isolate and other foods”.

Soy Lecithin – Used as an emulsifier, and to keep ingredients from separating. Fun times.

Those ingredients all make a “convenience” product. See, those manufacturers want you to believe that you are too stupid to make the mixture, so they provide you with their “easy to use” product. Follow me; I will show you that with the basic method of muffin making, you can go even further than what these convenience products offer you, and at a fraction of the cost.

DING DING! My Recipe VS Franken Muffin

We re going to start off with the basic muffin, and then you will be able to customize to your heart’s content! At first glance, it is not going to look like much, but get the technique down, and you will never need to rely on old Franken to get your day started!

Here we have the Mise en Place for the ingredients. Of course, you will not have this set up at home. The same thing applies to your home kitchen. The key is that everything is in its place before you start.


Measure flour into a bowl that is tared on a scale. In this case, you will need 250 grams.

Tare and add 20 grams baking powder.

Tare and add 2 grams kosher salt.

Tare and add 25 grams of sugar.

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture. See, the ingredients are not that hard to measure right now!


Grab another bowl; measure 245 grams of milk. (Why not use a cup measure? *245 grams=1 cup*) Well, the answer is to demonstrate to you that while you are using a scale, you can use the weight of ingredients. You will then be more accurate. Now you could scale this recipe up to 20 dozen if you wanted to – and not have to worry about messy conversions.

Tare and add 100 grams of slightly beaten eggs. Notice that it is 107 grams here. Well, we are looking for 2 eggs, and 1 large egg is usually 50 grams. So, we are looking at 2 eggs here. Hey, we're not building a bomb here, so as long as it is within a couple of grams, we will be fine.

Tare and melt the butter. See, I can tare a frying pan to get the accurate measure of butter. Take that you volumetric heathens!

Tare the wet bowl, and add the melted butter into the mix.


Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Remember that well you made? Comes in handy here, huh?

Start to stir.

Mix until just combined, about 15 to 20 strokes. DO NOT OVERMIX. Your mixture will look like this.

Spoon batter into greased muffin molds; fill at least two-thirds full.

Bake in 200°C (400°F) preheated oven.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Test with a toothpick in the center of the muffin. If the pick comes out clean, then the muffin is done.

So, there is the base. Well, what good is that? With the basics under you, it is easy to make muffins that the mixes cannot give you. An example of this is the raspberry muffin, and the chocolate chip pecan muffin. Both are made by taking the base recipe, folding in the ingredients the last minute, and baking.

For those of you into the recipes, here it is:

Basic Muffin

Adapted from 500 Best Muffins by Esther Brody

You will need 12 greased muffin tin or molds for this recipe.

Servings: 12

Oven Temperature: 400°F


  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 20 grams baking powder
  • 2 grams salt, kosher
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 245 grams 2% milk
  • 100 grams eggs, slightly beaten
  • 45 grams butter, melted



  1. Measure flour into bowl that is tared on scale.
  2. Tare and add baking powder.
  3. Tare and add salt.
  4. Tare and add sugar.
  5. Make a well in the center.


  1. Measure milk into another bowl.
  2. Tare and add beaten eggs.
  3. Tare and add melted butter.


  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  2. Mix until just combined, about 15 to 20 strokes. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin molds, filling at least two-thirds full.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
  5. Test with a toothpick in the center of the muffin. If the pick comes out clean, then the muffin is done.

You may also change up the basic recipe by adding in fruit, chocolate chips and nuts, etc. The limit is your imagination!

How did the fight go? Let your comments be the judge!

Is there a FrankenFood you would like me to challenge? Let me know by visiting my Ask the Chef! Page.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • SippitySup November 12, 2009, 12:48 pm

    This is why I avoid overly processed and most packaged foods. I love the peeks inside your professional cooking life too. GREG

  • jasonsandeman November 14, 2009, 8:38 am

    @GREG – Amen to that! Thank you for your kind words. I am also addicted to your site, and your food creations.

  • Angela@spinachtiger November 15, 2009, 11:09 pm

    I feel the same way about boxed cakes. It’s so easy to make a REAL cake with ingredients you can pronounce, and farm fresh eggs. I like your step by steps.

  • jasonsandeman November 16, 2009, 8:08 am

    @Angela – How true. I wonder if a cake battle is in the mix? Any ideas as to what kind?

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