BBD#13: Orange Cranberry Bran Muffins

It is amazing what subtle, friendly peer pressure will do for you.

breadbakingday # 13 - 100% Whole Grains

I had sworn off this month’s Bread Baking Day as just too much effort for a theme I was not bonkers about (100% Whole Grain), when Susan, of Wild Yeast, commented in response to a comment I left on her blog that she was sure I would end up participating.


As I said the theme is 100% whole grain–no refined flours or grains allowed. It is hosted by Jude of Apples Pie, Patis & Pate, so that is where you want to head for the round up in early September. It is a great theme for anyone who likes the taste of the grain wheat–which is not really me so much. Oats, corn, any of the sweeter grains, etc., I am your girl. Unfortunately none of those grains rise well without some refined flour–wheat is unique in that. So this Bread Baking Day was definitely a challenge for me.

Originally I was thinking yeast bread, to truly challenge myself, but I decided that was being too ambitious post surgery (if I cannot pick up my kids how am I gonna knead bread?). Instead I decided to look at bran muffins–a food group that is so “not me” so as to constitute a
challenge in and of itself right there.

I went searching and finally settled on the 100% whole grain bran muffins made by Farmgirl Susan over at Farmgirl Fare. For one thing, they also used oat bran, and I vastly prefer oats to wheat. I also liked that they had 2/3 cup total of sweeteners–I definitely prefer sweet quick
breads. I used dried cranberries and some orange extract and some orange oil. If I had had any oranges around I would have subbed some orange juice in for some of the milk and used orange zest as well. In my experience a little orange zest or oil goes a long way (as opposed to lemon, where more is better) so while I did not use enough (thanks to not being able to smell a thing) I would still be careful while experimenting to not use too much. Maybe the zest of one orange or 1/4 teaspoon of oil. And one teaspoon extract if you are not using any juice–otherwise it is not necessary.

The muffins did not disappoint. I made them today–we had them as the girls’ afternoon snack and will also have them for breakfast the next day or 2. Everyone enjoyed them. They are soft but they hold together, and they are sweet but not overly so–at least not in my opinion although I must confess my taste buds are not functioning perfectly right now. No one else found them too sweet at any rate. I heartily recommend them!

BBD#13: Orange Cranberry Bran Muffins
Adapted from Farmgirl Fare
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: muffins
  • 2 cups (3oz/86g) wheat bran
  • 1 cup (5oz/141g) oat bran
  • 1¼ cups (6oz/170g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ⅓ cup cane syrup--I used Lyle's Cane Syrup
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ t orange oil or zest of one orange (see notes above)
  • 1 t orange extract or sub in juice of one orange for the milk (and use milk to fill to ⅔ cup)
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top of the muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a standard size muffin pan or line cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine wheat bran, oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine eggs, milk (and juice if using), yogurt, canola oil, molasses, and honey in a small bowl and mix well. Add extracts and oils or zest. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Add the cranberries and gently fold in, being careful to not overmix.
  3. Generously fill muffin cups with batter. Unlike muffins made with refined flour, this dough will fill the muffin cups to the brim. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top of the muffins. Bake in pan for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 7 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and serve warm, or let cool on a wire rack.



  1. Jude says

    Glad you were able to send this in despite not being 100% and not being a big whole grains fan. Wouldn’t have known from the results… Looks great!
    That’s a serious ingredient list right there. Don’t have cane syrup and cranberries — otherwise i’d be mixing right now.

  2. Laura says

    Jude: that’s what I love about blogging. I try a lot of stuff I wouldn’t normally and frequently find I am wrong in my preconceptions. :)

    And I believe Farmgirl Susan made a point of saying you could use all honey if you wanted to, so don’t let the lack of cane syrup stop you.

  3. Grace says

    my favorite kind of muffin–chock-full of fiber and other healthy stuff, and delicious at the same time. very nice (and great melted butter shots!). :)

  4. Vicci says

    Laura, I made these a while back (took my so-far favorite “muffin photo”, too) and I agree that they are wonderful. I did alter it a bit to lower the fat by using lowfat plain yogurt and subbing pureed canned pears for the canola oil. And these are so perfect to make in the winter with the orange and cranberry flavors!


  5. That Girl says

    I love that you put butter on your muffins. That’s my favorite way to eat muffins and the hubs always looks at me like I’m crazy.

  6. Laura says

    Beth: they are definitely the perfect amount of sweetness–I would never confuse them with cake, unlike some muffins.

    Grace: I totally agree.

    Vicci: you know me, always taking the full fat route. :) In all seriousness, frequently it is because that is what I need to use up, especially in the case of full fat milk, which organically only comes in 1/2 gallon sizes and which I need to buy for my youngest.

    thatgirl: Here I had been feeling some affinity for thatboy–I forget why now, something he liked or didn’t liked–but no butter on his muffins?!?!?! Is he crazy?!?!?! :)

    Susan: Yea yea, I had to do it in the end. Thanks for encouraging me–I never would have guessed I would like bran muffins!

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