Most quick-bread doughs and batters are mixed by using one of three mixing methods.
The biscuit method is used for biscuits, scones, and similar products. It is sometimes called the pastry method because it is like that used for mixing pie pastry.
The muffin method is used for muffins, pancakes, waffles, and many loaf-type or sheet-type quick breads. This method is fast and easy. However, the danger is the dough can quickly become overmixed, resulting in toughness. Muffin batter should be mixed only until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not attempt to achieve a smooth batter. Some loaf breads and coffee cakes are higher in fat and sugar than muffins, so they can withstand a little more mixing without becoming tough.
This mixing method is not as suitable for formulas high in fat, unlike the creaming method described next. Consequently, quick breads mixed by this method are not as rich and cakelike as muffins and other products mixed by the creaming method. They tend to be a little drier, more like breads than cake. High-fat muffins sell better in today’s market (in spite of the public’s concern about fat), so the muffin method is not as often used as it once was. Keep this in mind as you try the muffin-method formulas in this chapter.
The creaming method is a cake-mixing method that is sometimes applied to muffins and loaf breads. Actually, there is no exact dividing line between muffin products and cakes, and, if they are rich enough, muffin products may be considered cakes rather than breads.
The creaming method is a more time-consuming procedure than the muffin method. However, it produces fine-textured goods and carries less danger of overmixing. The creaming method is especially useful for products with high fat and sugar content because it helps mix the ingredients more uniformly.
Some biscuits are also mixed by the creaming method. These have a texture that is more cakelike and less flaky than that produced by the biscuit method.