The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bran Muffins ala Johnny

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Bran Muffins ala Johnny

Hey all.  I am bored and noticed I haven't contributed much to the forum lately, due to my proofing loaves (1000+ grams) having to be thrown in the garbage this weekend.

SO, I have decided to post this.  If anyone is interested message me and I would happy to share.  I have a bran muffin recipe that I am quite proud of.  It took 10+ years to perfect and it is FAR from the typical paper weight type bran muffin.  Warning: It takes a few different steps and ingredients some may not have readily available in the pantry, but it is worth it if you are looking for a nice, moist, and lighter than most, bran muffin recipe.  Also, a trick to have that nice crunchy top we sometimes get from...ahem...Star....(cough) bucks.


jannrn's picture

PLEASE do share! I love Bran muffins and like to experiment...but if you have already perfected them, you will save me ALOT of work! So please do share it! Can't wait!



Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Here you go Jann.  Please do let me know how they turn out and what you think - and be honest!  I don't claim to have the best recipe, but I sure like it.  The kicker in making them super moist is soaking the bran in the buttermilk.  Also the raisin mixture and the apple pie filling help keep them moist.  The trick to get the crunchy top is to reheat in oven the next day.  After a day, the sugars and moisture build at the top surface.  Heating them up for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees caramelizes the top without drying out the inside.  Let them cool a bit though, they get crunchier.  These also freeze very well.  I usually make a double batch then individually wrap in plastic wrap, then place them in freezer bags.  They last for up to 4 months.  To reheat, thaw at room temp. for 30 minutes, then heat in oven at 375 for 20 minutes.  I make mine large using a shallow but large holed muffin tin.  A final note, if you find them a bit sweet, cut back a few tbsp of sugars.  Depending on the size of the dates you use, may make it more or less sweet.

Raisin Bran Muffins

Main Ingredients:

2 ½ cup bran
1 ½ cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup apple pie filling, pureed
1/3 cup fancy molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tsp salt
Zest of orange
Pinch nutmeg

Raisin Mixture Ingredients

1 ½ cup sultana raisins
10 small dates, mashed
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup water

2 tsp lemon juice


Combine the raisin mixture ingredients, excluding the lemon juice, in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to combine well.  Take off heat, set aside and allow to cool.
Now the main ingredients.  Mix bran and buttermilk and set aside for 20 minutes to soak and soften.  In a large bowl combine all the remaining dry ingredients.  In a smaller bowl, whip sugars and butter then add eggs and rest of wet ingredients.  Combine wet with dry and stir till combined.  Do not over mix.
Fill muffin tins to approx. ¾ inch heaping.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for 22 minutes then broil on high for 2 minutes to carmelize the tops.


belle's picture

John..I too have been on the quest to perfect the ever elusive bran muffin recipe..I read through the recipe and am so excited to try it definitely looks like a winner..

All the best..


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

More than happy to share Belle.

Good luck!  I know, it's quite a process for bran muffins, but worth it.


brokenfeather's picture

Are you using a canned apple pie filling? Have you ever tried just apple sauce?


Love bran muffins make a batch ever other week. Part of my fiber regiment. 

jannrn's picture

I will probably do them closer to Christmas, but like Laura, as soon as I rustle up the ingrediants! Also, I can't seem to keep buttermilk so I use the powdered kind AND dislike raisins...have you tried them with Craisins??? I promise to let you know as soon as I try them!

Thanks again!


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Jannrn.  No I have never tried Craisins but i am sure any dried fruit like that would work.  The simmering process with sweeten and plump them up.  Also, dried blueberries would be great.

I usually buy the smallest buttermilk I can find, then plan to use for double batch of muffins, plus some pancakes.  That usually takes care of it.

Also, a neat trick is to make your own buttermilk if you only need a small amount.  Just put 4 1/2 tsp of lemon juice (vinegar for savoury uses) and fill the rest of the cup with milk.  Let this sit at room temp. for about 20 minutes.  I have to say, nothing beats real buttermilk, but this works just fine.

Good luck!


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker


You can also omit the raisin/Craisin completely.  Just make sure you do the rest of the date mixture.  It is a key compnent to the recipe.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

A few small changes to the recipe above. 

The directions say to whip the butter with the sugars.  If you use oil, no need to whip.  If you use butter, then whip it up with sugars.  I used to use 1/4 cup butter but now I use 1/4 cup oil instead.

In the directions for the raisin mixture, it says to combine all ingredients in a sauce poy, excluding the lemon juice.  You add the lemon juice after you've simmered the mixture and left it off the heat.  If you add when simmering, it is not a big problem, just some of the sourness of the juice gets cooked out.  The lemon juice is used to balance out the sweetness of the overall flavour.  Again, not too important.

The most important parts of this recipe are the date/rasin mixture, soaking the bran in buttermilk, and NOT overmixing all the ingredients together.  If you follow these main steps, you will get a moist, flavourful muffin.