"Proofing" Muffin Batter
I've recently become familiar with the theory that resting muffin batters (or other chemically leavened batters) prior to baking increases "doming" during the baking process.
For years, I've been trying to create muffins with bakery-style caps at home. It seems I've tried every trick in the book, usually with only modest success. High heat, thick batter, and filling the cups generously seem to be key to getting volume, but I can never the particular shape of dome I wanted.
Frustrating, especially given that I've worked at a bakery where I consistently produced countless muffins with the dome I had in mind. However, when I used the bakery formulas at home, the results were not the same. I started to believe that commercial convection and commercial crown muffin pans were necessary for proper muffin caps.
Yesterday, it occurred to me that the muffin batters in the bakery were always made ahead of time and chilled. Then, after some googling, I found posts by other home bakers who had unintentionally left muffin or cupcake batter to sit before baking, and found that it domed a lot when baked. That the resting would produce doming makes sense. The flour has time to hydrate and thicken, and develop a modest amount of gluten. This means more structure. Also, the leavener has time to do some work, and so the batter goes through a kind of "proofing" process.
I have heard many home bakers insist that chemically leavened batter will die if not baked immediately. This is a piece of popular wisdom that, on reflection, seems unsupported by my experience.
This weekend, I plan to make a few muffin batters and baking after various stages of resting. But, in advance, I'm interested in feedback from you folks, who have so much knowledge about leavening. I am wondering if it is possible to think of chemical leavened batters as on a continuum with yeast-raised doughs, as opposed to putting them into entirely separate categories. Put a different way: is it possible or even desirable to include "proofing" time in a muffin formula?