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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to fit 20 muffins into a 30-inch oven, on one rack, at the same time

I could make 20 muffins in one go, with this trick

Don't you sometimes wish you had Mary Poppin's magical tapestry carpet bag?

If I did have such a magical bag, I could reach deep and pull out the assorted necessities for life's conundrums. Lacking the magical nanny's tricks, I have resorted to my own contrivances, solving a few of those head-scratching household puzzles.

A question for you -- how many cups does your muffin tin have? Mine has 12. In fact, I have 3 muffin tins, each with 12 cups. Now, how many muffins does your favorite muffin recipe yield? My favorite recipes all seem to yield between 15 and 18 muffins. Hmmmph!

I have a few choices, when baking more than just 12 muffins in a spell. I can move the oven racks, so that one rack is 1/3 up from the bottom, and the other rack is 1/3 down from the top of the oven. Bake my muffins in two tins, at the same time, but swapping places halfway through baking, so that neither batch top-burns or bottom-burns.

I can leave my one rack in its current position and bake 12 muffins, remove from oven, then bake the remaining muffins.

Or, I can do this -- contrive my own 20-cup muffin tin from 2 separate muffin tins.

Most of the time, I just need enough cups for 15 to 18 muffins. I fill one muffin tin, completely (12 muffins). In the second tin, I leave a strip of 4 empty cups, then fill the middle section of 4 cups, and any I might need in the far strip of 4 cups.

Once filled with batter, I place the partially filled muffin tin to the left of the oven rack.

And I place the completely-filled muffin tin to the right side, but with 4 of the filled cups sitting directly in 4 of the empty cups of the partially filled tin. Does that make sense?

I can now bake up to 20 muffins in one go, with no swapping of tins to ensure even browning.  I save time and electricity by baking the muffins in this manner.

What's that saying? Necessity is the mother of invention. Or is it this? Where there's a will, there's a way.

We're all a creative bunch, here. What sort of contrivances have you managed, to solve a household conundrum?



  1. This reminds me of a problem we had this past weekend. The cabin we stayed in had a stove and oven, but they were half size and the pizza we brought didn't fit in there. We couldn't find anything to bake it on except broiler pan from the bottom.(Didn't want to risk cooking it directly on the rack.) We didn't do anything clever except cut the pizza in half and put it in on the slanted broiler pan. That worked out fine. The ironic things was that we found the regular cookie sheets while we were checking out. I think there is a lesson to be learned here, or maybe several.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      well you managed to bake your pizza, despite not finding the cookie sheets! Whatever works!

      We've had the cut take-and-bake pizzas in half before, when our oven was "out" and we were using a toaster oven for baking. It worked okay, so we were satisfied.

      So, maybe you could have spent more time looking for the cookie sheets, but I look at it this way -- you spent your time having fun together, instead of going on an elusive cookie sheet hunt! And that sounds like the better use of time to me. :-)

  2. That is a cool idea. I have been using the silicone muffin liners and putting them on a baking sheet. I can do 24 muffins at a time with no problem and I make a batch of a dozen sweet and a batch of a dozen savory. I don't really use many recipes for muffins so I kind of tailor my ingredients to make about that level.

    1. Hi Shara,
      I've never tried this silicone baking cups. It sounds like you've found a great way to get more muffins into the oven than a standard 12-cup tin. That's great!

  3. I had cheapie silicone muffin liners in fun shapes for the kids when they were younger--maybe it was because they were cheap, but they had a strange odor when they baked and set off the smoke alarm every time, so I stopped using them and donated them to Goodwill.

    I usually do the switch-halfway-through-baking trick, myself. That's a good solution for muffins. I also have small loaf-size pans and sometimes I will pour extra muffin batter in those. For some reason, my kids think the loaf-pan muffins taste better.

    1. HI Kris,
      Interesting about the silicone and the odor. Hmmmm. I guess I'll keep on with either greasing the muffin tin or using paper liners.

      Now that's a great idea, to do remaining batter in small loaf pans. I'll give that a try. I think it would be a nice change to have a small slice of quick bread to go with a cup of tea, in place of a larger muffin. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Nice thinking outside the box :) I had to do quite a bit of thinking outside the box last year when I was living by myself. I only had a toaster oven, so if I wanted to roast meat and veggies I'd use the slow cooker for meat. Also the stove was attached to a gas bottle rather than mains gas, so a couple of times the gas ran out mid-cooking and I had to use the slow cooker.

    1. Hi Liz,
      I remember your unusual kitchen set-up! I'm sure you love having a normal kitchen this year. A bit of creativity can go a looking way. :-)

  5. You crack me up - but I have to admit that's pretty clever. Do you have problems with the 4 muffins that have the "double pan" section taking longer to get done?

    I have one 12 muffin tin and one 6 muffin tin - so I can fit both on the same rack simultaneously. But here's the deal, the muffins in the 6 muffin tin always get more done than the ones in the 12 count tin. What's up with that? I've sort of been assuming that perhaps the smaller one is made of thinner metal? Or maybe it's a different kind of metal? Or maybe I'm just nuts? Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Cat,
      About the 4 muffins in the doubled tin -- they seem to all be done enough, none burnt, none under-cooked. If anything, the 4 double-tin muffins have a slightly less-browned bottom, but nothing that would make me think they need more time to bake.

      About your 2 muffin tins, for a long time I had an odd assortment of bread pans, and I found the same thing, some loaves would bake faster than others.

      Does your oven have a "hot spot", or side which bakes faster? Mine bakes hotter in the front left, so I could in theory, put anything that would take longer to bake in that "hot spot". You could play around with trying different placement in your oven with that smaller tin, further towards the back, or closer to the front, to see if you can get it to bake at a similar rate as your 12-cup tin. Good luck!

    2. I've noticed a similar phenomenon as Cat if I bake a smaller amount in a larger sized tin. The same thing is true if I bake fewer cookies on a full-sized cookie sheet. I always thought there must be some brilliant scientific reason but have never seen an explanation for it.

    3. More places on the metal baking sheet to radiate heat from?

  6. Oh my gosh, I love this idea!! How terrific! :)


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