Natural Wheat Bran vs. Bran "Buds" or cereals
Many recipes call for bran buds cereal or bran flakes instead of, or as well as natural wheat bran. Most of these cereals seem to be simply compacted wheat bran. Now, buying these cereals costs from 3 to 5 times what it costs to buy natural wheat bran, at the grocery store. I'd rather just use the bran, but I wonder if it can be replaced, cup for cup, or if I should be trying to replace it by weight?
Does anyone have any experience with this?
Thanks in advance for the input
The Bran Buds and Bran Flakes cereals are probably included in your recipes to absorb moisture and contribute to a desired texture. I'm guessing the recipes are for baked goods? I would not suggest substituting the natural wheat bran in lieu of the cereal.
Bran buds contain not only wheat bran, but also corn bran, phyllium seed husks, sugar, and baking soda. And they have been cooked (as have bran flakes), which will change the taste and texture of the the finished product. If you substitute with the natural wheat bran, you may end up with a pastey or crumbly baked good. If you do want to play with substituting, I would suggest subbing weight for weight, as the wheat bran is more dense than the cereal.
re: Non Cognomina
Though here's a bran muffin recipe that uses the wheat bran rather than the cereal.
The 1 1/2 c of bran to 1c of flour seems high - until you recall that bran density is so low.
I just weighed some bran; it has about 1/3 the density of flour, so that 1 1/2c of bran equals 1/2c of flour. Letting bran be about 1/3 of the total dry ingredients sounds about right. I often make quick breads with 1/2 flour and 1/2 a mixture of oats, oat bran, ground nuts, etc.
For the pumpkin bread I've been using volume. Up to now I haven't given thought as to whether it makes a difference. With wheat bran there is a big difference in density. I don't think the difference is so great with the other substitutes. Oat bran, for example, is clearly denser than wheat bran. But I haven't actually weighed them.
I've made parkin, a Yorkshire style ginger bread. The English recipes all use weight, and call for equal weights of flour and rolled oats. Several times when I was short on oats, I used part oats and part shredded (unsweetened) coconut. With these proportions you can definitely tell the oats are there. The result is pretty dense, crumbly, and keeps very well.
In my experience, quick breads are pretty tolerant when it comes to ingredients like this - provided you accept the differences in textures. The overall ratio of liquids to solids may be the most important factor, since that will determine the consistency of the uncooked batter, and hence baking times. Experience may be the best judge of that, since recipes rarely say how stiff or runny the batter should be.