It is amazing what subtle, friendly peer pressure will do for you.
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!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a standard size muffin pan or line cups with paper liners.
- 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.
- 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.