It’s happened to the best of us: You’re making a delicious blueberry pie or batch of muffins, and no matter how gently you mix in the berries, they all sink to the bottom.
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It’s a familiar scene: You’re making a batch of muffins or a coffee cake, and you fold in a cup or so of fresh or frozen blueberries only to have them sink to the bottom as the cake bakes. Not only does this produce an unattractive result, with most of the berries hidden out of sight, it also means that the ones on top can end up overcooked.
So what’s the secret to keeping those gorgeous berries suspended evenly throughout the batter? We did some testing and found a couple of ways that work.
What Makes Blueberries Sink?
As delicious as blueberries are, they can be a bit of a problem in baking. Because they are relatively large and have a high water content, they tend to sink to the bottom of the batter during baking, leaving you with muffins or cakes that have an unattractive sunken appearance.
There are a few things that you can do to prevent your blueberries from sinking in baked goods. One is to coat them in flour before adding them to the batter. This will help to create a barrier between the berries and the batter so that they don’t sink as easily. Another method is to add them at the very end, after the rest of the batter has been added to the pan. This way, they will sink less because there is less batter for them to sink into.
If you are using frozen blueberries, be sure to thaw them completely before adding them to the batter and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will also help to prevent sinking.
With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can enjoy baked goods that are full of plump, juicy blueberries that are evenly distributed throughout.
How to Keep Blueberries from Sinking
Sinking blueberries are a common problem when baking. This often happens because the berries are not the same size, or they are not coated evenly. There are a few simple ways to prevent your blueberries from sinking. Let’s take a look.
Use Larger Blueberries
One way to keep your blueberries from sinking is by using larger berries. Larger berries are less likely to sink than smaller ones because they have a higher ratio of flesh to juice. If you can’t find large blueberries, you can also try using frozen blueberries. Just be sure to thaw them completely before adding them to your batter.
Another way to prevent sinking is to dust the berries with flour before adding them to the batter. This will help the berries float on top of the batter while it bakes. If you’re using frozen berries, you can toss them with a bit of flour before freezing them. This will help the flour adhere better and will make it easier to dust them before adding them to your batter.
If you’re looking for an extra insurance policy against sinking, you can add an extra teaspoon or two of baking powder to your recipe. This will help ensure that the berries float on top of the batter during baking.
Toss the Blueberries in Flour
The first thing you need to do is toss the blueberries in flour. This step is important because it will help the blueberries keep their shape and not turn into a mushy mess. You don’t need a lot of flour, just enough to coat the blueberries.
Then, add the blueberries to your batter or dough. Be careful not to overmix because this can cause the blueberries to burst and sink.
If you’re making muffins, cookies, or quick bread, you can also add the blueberries to the batter after you’ve already mixed it. Just fold them in gently until they’re evenly distributed.
Make a Blueberry Paste
One way to keep blueberries from sinking is to make a blueberry paste. Jack Bishop, a test cook at America’s Test Kitchen, explains how this works: “When stirred into the batter, the thick purée acts like little life preservers, helping the berries to disperse evenly and stay suspended.”
To make a blueberry paste, cook 2 cups of blueberries with 1/4 cup of sugar over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the berries, then let the mixture cool. Once it’s cooled, stir it into your batter.
Here are a few quick tips:
-Toss blueberries with flour before adding them to the batter. The flour will coat each berry and help to keep it suspended in the batter as it bakes.
-Add the blueberries to the batter last, just before baking. This way, they won’t have a chance to sink to the bottom while the batter sits.
-Use frozen blueberries instead of fresh. Frozen berries are coated with ice, which helps to keep them afloat in the batter. Just be sure to add them straight from the freezer — don’t thaw them first or they’ll bleed into the batter and turn it gray.