Best Bran Muffins
Bran muffins are my jam. Seriously. This is my second full post on them. In the first, from over 5 years ago, I recount my long and loving history with the bran muffin and my inability to make them well at home. Feel free to go back and read my lament, but in the meantime just know that only towards the very end of my six years living outside North America did I find decent bran muffins – and only then in a few inner-city Sydney cafes for $5 each. I was frustrated. I was disheartened. So I set to work.
After a bunch of flops, I kind of gave up. Maybe it’s not possible to make them at home. Maybe it takes some sort of bakery magic to get that perfectly dense, hearty, branny muffin. Plus, after 18 months stateside, I’d gotten used to finding bran muffins everywhere (even though, in Brooklyn, they’re still $5 each). But with another imminent intercontinental move, this time to London – where, honestly, I don’t think there will be a shortage of mind blowing baked things – I needed to get my bran muffin strong. Just in case.
For those of you who don’t know, I don’t do fussy recipes. Well, sometimes I do, but I usually resent (and never remake) them. So when I came across this recipe, which is the classic formula of mix wets + mix dries + mix them together, I didn’t really hesitate. Better a low-effort failure than an annoyingly precious failure or, worse, no bran muffins at all ever again.
Turns out these are the best bran muffins I’ve ever been able to make at home. Hands down. Not only that, they are low-effort, free of refined sugar, full of grains, easily modified and beloved by the whole family. After years of searching, I’m done. The great fear of going without bran muffins is over. The homemade bran muffin is real. And this is it.
BEST BRAN MUFFINS
Not too sweet but very substantive, these are the best easy breakfast. The recipe is from a site called Farmgirl that I can’t access anymore, but Google it and you may have more luck. This recipe makes 12 biggish muffins. You can add spices if you want, but I think the nuttiness of the bran gives them a deep flavor. These are even better the next day and perfect defrosted for an hour from the freezer.
2 cups wheat bran (I’ve substituted wheat germ/oat bran/flour)
1 cup oat bran
1 cup flour (whole wheat or white)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup yogurt, sour cream or labne
1/3 cup canola or similar oil
2/3 cup honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, molasses or a mix (I usually use half honey, half maple)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – 2 cups additions if you want (such as raisins, fresh or frozen berries, chopped figs, chopped apples, etc.)
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients – the flour, oat and wheat bran, baking powder and soda and the salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients – the eggs, yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla and honey/syrups/molasses.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and very gently fold them together until combined. Gently fold in whatever additions you like – raisins, dried or fresh cranberries, chopped apples, frozen berries, etc. I love frozen berries because they’re the easiest, but raisins pre-soaked in hot water (then drained) and chopped apples are good classics, too.
Spoon batter into greased muffin tin, filling up to the top (they won’t rise too much). Bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and golden brown on top. Cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove from the pan and cool.
Cool completely before storing or freezing in an airtight container or bag.