WHY?

I’ve been told I’m pretty good with using the Internet as a search tool and that’s a skill I take pride in. Tonight, I’m kinda stumped, though perhaps I should try harder than a five-minute Google search.

In any case, can ya help me? Why do baked goods like muffins and glazed doughnuts get “wet” when they’re stored in a container or a bag? You know what I’m talking about. If not, try this at home (preferably without parental supervision). Go to your local doughnut or muffin purveyor and purchase a glazed doughnut and/or a muffin, possibly of the blueberry variety. Get a fresh baked specimen if possible. Take said baked specimen and store it in a closed paper or plastic bag. It doesn’t have to be airtight, so feel free to keep a mouse in there too.

After about a day or possibly less, check up on your baked good. Depending on the exchange rate in your country, the muffin top and/or the entire doughnut surface should look like it’s wet with a sheen of something. I’ve noticed this for years and I’m inclined to think the baked good is drawing water from the air. I’ve actually seen this since I worked in a science lab in high school. We had a chemical solid that had to be kept airtight in a container because it would get wet when contacting the air. It would draw moisture from the air. There’s a formal name for that property but I forgot it.

Anyways, I hesitate to attribute that same property to a doughnut since that would be kinda scary. My best and latest guess is that the sugar in the baked good is somehow reacting with the air and breaking something down in the dough to make the surface appear wet.

Random guesses aside, does anyone know the real story behind my wet muffin?

6 thoughts on “WHY?”

  1. From what I have read, it seems that the heat in the bag must increase causing the moisture from the donut/muffin to leave the baked good and evaporate. As the evaporation happens inside a plastic bag it condenses on the plastic. Then it drips back onto the surface of the donut and making it soggy. KD

  2. Is the sheen watery or oily? Use the paper bag trick to see if you develop grease spots.I’ll venture a guess that, over time, the emulsifiers in you muffin don’t perform as well and the oil begins to separate out and comes to the surface.Your last line reminded me of Nigella Lawson. Sarah and I like to watch “Nigella Feasts” for the (unknowing ?) sexual references that she always makes. Once, she was describing spreading the “hot goo on her split muffin”. (Hey, you brought it up!)

  3. BryBry, I was hoping you’d weigh in on the topic. It’s hard to tell if it’s oily or watery, I think it’s oily but I’ll check.“hot goo on her split muffin”That’s hot.

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