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Basic Muffins

Today's recipe comes from the production manual of the culinary school I attended. The school has its own pastry shop, and every morning, pastry students take a "production" class, where they make the items that are sold to the public in the pastry shop: cakes, eclairs, cookies, brioche, baguettes, croissants, muffins, and more. 

The muffin batter was made in bulk in a huge mixer, and refrigerated. Each morning, a student would portion out 5 pounds of the batter, add the mix-ins, and bake them off. That's why I chose to make this recipe for Mother's Day brunch. I was able to divide the batter in half, and make two kinds of muffins without the extra work of mixing and baking two recipes. 

I've added a few flavoring suggestions below the recipe. I usually just eyeball the amounts for the mix-ins. You want to add enough so that some ends up in each muffin, but not so much that you have more mix-ins than muffin batter. 

Basic Muffins
Source: The Restaurant School Production Manual
Yield: 24 standard-sized muffins


  • 12 ounces granulated sugar
  • ¼ ounce salt
  • 4 ounces shortening
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces eggs
  • 20 ounces pastry flour (found at Whole Foods)
  • 12 ounces whole milk
  • 1 ounce baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cream together the sugar, salt, shortening and butter until fluffy and lightened. 
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. 
  4. Sift together the pastry flour and the baking powder. 
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Then add half the milk and beat until combined. Add another third of the flour, then the other half of the milk, and the remaining flour. 
  6. Stir in flavorings (see below for suggestions). 
  7. Line muffin tins with paper liners, and divide batter into the cups. 
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Flavor suggestions
  • Apple cinnamon: mix in ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ cup chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples
  • Pumpkin spice: mix in ⅛ teaspoon each cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, plus ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • Orange cranberry: mix in ½ cup dried cranberries and the zest of 1 orange
  • Apple pecan: mix in ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples and 2 ounces chopped pecans
  • Banana nut chip: mix in 1 mashed very ripe banana, ½ cup chocolate chips and ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Lemon poppy seed: mix in ¼ cup poppy seeds and the zest of two lemons

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