Yesterday, I was asked to bring some muffins to an event tomorrow. I pulled out some of my favourite recipes but also decided to try a muffin recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. If it turns out well I’ll bring them too. I’m using Hilda Rumpel’s recipe simply called Muffins. There is another similar recipe contributed by Mrs. Wildfang but young Hilda’s recipe is a little more specific and uses slightly less flour. I’m including both recipes below for comparison.
I’ve debated how to approach this recipe. Years ago my 4-H leader taught us to mix muffins sparingly. Too much mixing created peaked tops and air pockets inside the muffin so I’m intrigued by Miss Rumpel’s instructions to beat well and beat thoroughly. Her directions are very specific so I decided to follow them carefully and see what happens. My second dilemma was the “gem pan”. Gem pans are similar to cupcake/muffin pans today except that they were made of cast iron and were usually shallow. The cups could be oval or round and even have round bottoms. I’m going to use my regular muffin tins since that was another version of the gem pan available in 1906.
I sifted the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a bowl and then added the milk. I “beat well” as Miss Rumpel instructs. I chose to use shortening as the fat and once it was melted I added it to the mixture. Then I beat a medium egg before adding it and “beating thoroughly”.
I used butter to grease the cupcake/muffin pans and spooned in the batter which was more like a dough. I put a heaping tablespoon in nine cups. Gem pans often had nine cups rather than twelve so the recipe seems to match that size. It didn’t seem like much dough in the pan but I hoped they would increase in size as they baked. I put them in the oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.
I’ve talked about Hilda Rumpel a number of times. As the daughter of a prominent business family she had some advantages compared to some of the other young contributors but like them she seems to have had some domestic science training. Just compare her recipe with that of Mrs. Wildfang. Although I don’t know much about Mrs. Wildfang I imagine she is an older woman. Her recipe lists just ingredients while Hilda Rumpel lists ingredients, provides specific directions and even mentions level measurements. I’ve included a picture of making level measurements from my 1916 Ontario Teachers Manual for the Instruction of Household Management.
The muffins turned out very well and taste good.I sampled them plain, with butter and with some honey added and each time they were delicious. They did have peaked tops but no air pockets inside and they definitely grew! They are a bit more like a biscuit than a muffin. I’ve eaten several so will need to make another batch in order to have a dozen to take tomorrow. This is a good base for a modern cook to add his or her inspirations.
1 1/2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons melted fat. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, stir in the milk and beat well, add the melted fat and egg well beaten and again beat thoroughly. Bake in buttered gem pans in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Level measurements are used.
2 cups flour, 1 cup milk, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons shortening, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg