Friday, January 3, 2014

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Happy New Year!  Let's get 2014 started.

After a solid month of annual extravagance, if you find yourself in the mood for something for breakfast, brunch or a snack that isn't completely decadent and more in the back-to-basics lane, a Buttermilk Bran Muffin just might come in handy.

But don't be alarmed.  I promise I am not delivering a Torture Muffin.  Baking has come a long way since the days of whole wheat pastries that instilled fear.  No longer do breads and pastries made with whole wheat flour and bran have to taste like a mouthful of sawdust.

I do not think of these muffins as punishment.  They are soft and full of flavor, thanks to a good dose of molasses, vanilla and orange zest.  Pecans and raisins add more flavor and texture.  There is just enough wheat bran to enrich but not dry out the finished product.  Buttermilk helps to leaven and tenderize the gluten. This is a good muffin of choice for a simple and humble beginning of a new year.

Bench notes:
- Wheat bran can be found at bulk food grocery stores.  Bob's Red Mill also offers it.
- If your raisins are dry, plump them for about 5 minutes in just enough hot water to cover.  Drain thoroughly.
- The buttermilk and bran mixture will look like mush.
- Whisk in the flour mixture just until moistened.  Do your best not to over mix!
- Keep a close eye on the muffins as they bake.  They don't take much time at all and will be dry if over baked by a minute or two.
- If you despise raisins, try a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger.  Or maybe make a resolution to give raisins another chance!

Buttermilk Bran Muffins
Makes 16 muffins

1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk @ room temperature
1 cup (2 oz) wheat bran
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (89 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (89 grams) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) canola oil
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) molasses
2 tablespoons (1 oz) honey
2 eggs @ room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) raisins, chopped
1/2 cup (1 3/4 oz) pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 16 wells in standard size muffin tins or use paper liners.

Place the buttermilk and bran in a bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Sift both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In another bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the oil, brown sugar, molasses and honey.  Add the eggs and combine thoroughly.  Mix in the vanilla and orange zest.  Add the bran and buttermilk mixture.  Whisk in the flour mixture just until there are no streaks.  Do not over mix.  Fold in the raisins and pecans.

Divide the batter equally in the prepared muffin cups.  Bake until the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center or a tester inserted comes out clean, about 13 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Use a small thin knife or small metal spatula to remove from the pan.  Cool completely.


VelezDelights said...

Happy New Year! Loving this post :)

Beth said...

These are lovely, the addition of orange zest really perks up the flavor. When I pulled out my wheat flour I discovered I only had 1/4 cup, so I made up the difference with buckwheat flour. This added a nutty undertone that was delicious. I did not pack the brown sugar and found them to still be sweet enough for my taste. I also didn't have quite enough pecans so I threw in some walnuts. A bit of a Frankenrecipe (my fault for not checking the pantry!) but it worked and I urge everyone to try this muffin.

BTW, my grocery doesn't carry Bob's Red Mill wheat bran, but I did find Kretschmer's toasted wheat bran by the oatmeal.

Thanks as always for a wonderful recipe.

SallyBR said...

Happy New Year! Just baked a batch of these, actually I halved the recipe since my beloved husband is the bran-muffin addict in our home...

He is just enjoying his first muffin, still a little warm from baking and said it is delicious! I added a little crystallized ginger together with the raisins and pecans, and apparently that was a nice twist...

I might have one for my lunch, they smell so good I might be able to ignore the wheat bran ;-) ;-)

If the photos turn out ok I'd like to blog about them, and of course give you full credit! If that is not ok, please let me know and I won't use them in my blog

pastry studio said...

Happy New Year!

Beth, I'm so glad you gave this recipe a go with your substitutions. I love buckwheat and would love to try this sometime. Thank you!

pastry studio said...

Good morning, Sally! Please thank your husband for giving these muffins the thumbs up! And maybe you should have a little taste….you might find you enjoy them as well.

I'd love to have you blog about them. Please let me know when you post so I can visit. Cheers!

SallyBR said...

Will certainly do! And I did have one of them for lunch, my gosh they are amazing! I loved the muffin, and I don't even CARE for bran... go figure!

truly delicious...

I just check my photos, not that great, but "bloggable" - I am probably going to blog in the next couple of weeks, and will send you a link, would love to have a visit from you!

Thank you again for the wonderful recipe!

pastry studio said...

My pleasure, Sally!

SallyBR said...

Good morning, here is the link if you want to take a look

(it turned out as a great post for me, as you will notice… Your muffins brought me luck! ;-)

pastry studio said...

Thank you, Sally. Great post and congrats on the recognition!

Nishma said...

These were as delicious as promised...soft, flavorful, really lovely. Even my teenagers liked them! I used wheat germ instead of bran (bran was OLD!) and it worked great.

pastry studio said...

Thanks very much for the feedback, Nishma. It's good to know wheat germ works, too.