1 1/2 cups (80 grams) wheat bran
1/3 cup (80 ml) boiling water
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (205 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (130 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup (70 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
Bran Muffins: Place the wheat bran in a bowl and stir in the boiling water. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the wheat bran and beat until combined.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, cinnamon, orange zest, salt, baking soda and powder.
In a small bowl combine the milk and buttermilk.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternately with the wet ingredients, in two additions, to the bran mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Cover and place the batter in the refrigerator until well chilled (several hours or even for a day or two).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or else spray with a nonstick vegetable spray.
Fill the muffin cups, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop, about 3/4 full and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 18 - 20 standard-sized muffins.
Most of us have two types of muffin recipes in our collection; the ones that we make for special occasions and the ones that are constantly in use. Bran Muffins fall into the second category and while they may not be sophisticated looking or contain exotic ingredients, their wholesome flavor make them an ideal breakfast food. Of course, bran is usually touted more for its carbohydrate, fiber, phosphorous, and calcium content than for its subtle taste but these muffins are anything but plain.
The addition of orange zest, vanilla, ground cinnamon and oats make these Bran Muffins flavor packed. You could also add chopped nuts, raisins, or even dried fruits to the batter with excellent results. To spruce up the look of these muffins I have sprinkled the tops with rolled oats, just before baking. Now most bran muffin batters, and this one is no exception, keep for a few days in the refrigerator, so you can have fresh muffins whenever you please. This recipe will give you about 18 - 20 standard size muffins but it really depends on the size of your muffin tins and how much batter you put in each cup. Obviously, if you like large mushroom tops you will have to fill your muffin cups very full so you will end up with less muffins.
As far as the ingredients go, although some bran muffin recipes do use a commercial bran cereal I have opted instead to use unprocessed wheat bran which is so much cheaper than commercial bran cereals and it is now readily available in most grocery stores (on the baking isle or in the organic food section) or else in health food stores. Adding old fashioned rolled oats gives flavor and texture but also gives you Vitamin B-1, B-2 and E. Molasses is used in baked goods to add color, moistness and flavor. Molasses is usually labeled as "sulphured" or "unsulphured" depending on whether sulphur was used in the processing. I like to use unsulphured molasses which is lighter in color and I prefer its flavor. Buttermilk, along with milk, provides the liquid part of the recipe and as always, buttermilk adds a wonderful tangy flavor and moist texture. It is now commercially made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or low fat milk. The other option is to use buttermilk powder or you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.