Bran Muffin - Give me your best!
this place by my office makes delicious bran muffins - moist, flavorful, slightly honey flavored. I would add raisins myself, but for a dollar, I'm not going to be picky. I'd love to make them myself, but don't want to buy a whole box of all-bran just to male one batch of muffins, which is what cooks illustrated would have me do. Please, any ideas? Thank you!
I've tried many recipes but I always gravitate back to this one that I got from my grandmother, circa 1970s. She was a notoriously awful cook and essentially hated food so I'm not sure where this recipe came from. We were absolutely stunned when we showed up at her house and she gave us these muffins. She was an artist and possibly bartered for them but nevertheless....
San Clemente Bran Muffins
2.5 cups brown sugar (can use less or substitute some portion with honey)
2.5 c. whole wheat flour
2.5 c. white flour
5 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 15oz. pkg of raisin bran cereal
1 qt buttermilk
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 beaten eggs
Mix dry ingredients. Add oil, buttermilk and eggs. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before baking. Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes.
A local grocery used to make moist bran muffins; the label indicated that they used prune puree. But when they switched to more expensive 'designer' muffins, I sought to make my own. What I ended up doing was start with a pumpkin bread recipe, and replacing the flour with a mix of whole grain and nut flours, and reducing the sugar. I use for example half white whole wheat flour, and split the other half among ground almonds, oat and wheat bran. Rolled oats also work well.
Health food stores (and sections of groceries) might have wheat bran in their bulk grains section. Trader Joes sells a nice oat bran. I haven't bought all-bran cereal in years.
With your own quick bread or muffin recipe, you can easily add solids like chopped walnuts, raisins, and diced dates (usually sold with an oat flour coating to reduce sticking), as well as flavors like molasses, ginger, cinnamon, etc.
Fruit and vegetable purees give breads like this a moist texture. Think for example of banana bread. Canned pumpkin works well, as does cooked and mashed hard squash of your choice. Sweet potato also works. With purees the fat (butter, oil) can be reduced, even omitted.
all fruit puree is "sugar with a bit of added fiber." but the particularly high sugar content of dates is precisely why i said you can cut back on any other added sugar in the recipe ;)
i love the flavor of date molasses but it's expensive, and not all that easy to get your hands on unless you have access to a good specialty or Middle Eastern market.
Our family has tried several Bran Muffin recipes and always come back to our tried-and-true, as found on the side of the Quaker Unprocessed Bran box.
Recipe as follows, my notes in parentheses and following the recipe.
UNPROCESSED BRAN BRAN MUFFINS
1/4 Cup vegetable shortening (note: Crisco. We often did an 1/8 C Crisco, 1/8 C Applesauce)
1/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 Cup milk
1/4 Cup molasses (Note: brands do seem to make a difference. We will use only "Grandma's Unsulphered")
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup Quaker Unprocessed Bran
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in milk, egg, and molasses. Add combined dry ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill 12 medium-sized greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in pre-heated hot oven (400 degrees F) about 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
(My notes, again: I calculated per muffin, 97 calories, 5 gr. fat, 1.85 gr of fiber. If substituting 1/8 Cup applesauce, 79+ calories, 3 gr fat, 1.9 gr fiber. I'm sure at some point we have experimented with adding a 1/2 of a mashed banana or something to get "Banana Bran Muffins," but I will leave that leap to your creativity. Enjoy!!!)
I make these by the double batch and stash them in the freezer. A minute in the microwave and breakfast is ready. They are just lightly sweet and very moist, but be careful not to overbake. I keep powdered buttermilk on hand so I never have to worry about having/buying/tossing out cartons of fresh.
1/3c. sugar or other sweetener
1c. mashed ripe banana
1c. unprocessed wheat bran
1/4c. coconut, canola or other oil
1 1/4c. whole wheat flour
1/2c. AP flour
1T. ground flax
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1c. berries (I use the frozen mixed berries from Costco or fresh when in season)
nuts if desired
Whisk eggs to break up, then add sugar, banana, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add wheat bran and let sit a minute or two to soften. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in berries.
Portion into muffin cups and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes.
adapted from Eating Well
My Darigold canister of dry buttermilk says 4T to 1c water.
As long as it is dept dry and powdery, it can be added to the dry ingredients, and water added to the wet. No need to reconstitute it first.
In a recipe like this, using a fruit puree (which is somewhat acidic), and both baking powder and baking soda, the amount of buttermilk powder is not critical