Best Bran Muffin Recipe

Written by Becky

I’m searching for the best bran muffin recipe.  So far, I found a pretty good one in a vintage cook book but I think it still needs some tweaking.  Maybe due to the fact that it has shortening, which I really don’t like to use.

My ideal Bran Muffin has a crispy top and grainy texture with some dried fruit throughout.  The recipes with less flour and more bran are so far my favorites.  My favorite bakery-made bran muffin was at a place called the Avenues Bakery, which shut their doors a couple years ago.  Since then I’ve been on a quest for a the perfect Bran Muffin.

I would love any tips or links to recipes that you might have for a great Bran Muffin.  Or if you have any suggestions on how to make the recipe below better, I would greatly appreciate it!  It is the best I’ve found but I have hopes for something even better soon.

Also, in my search for a good bran muffin, I found a really great Banana Blueberry Bran Muffin recipe  (pictured above) that is pretty healthy too!  You can check it out here from Epicurious.

Best Bran Muffins (thus far)
adapted from The Perfect Hostess Cookbook 1950
(pictured at the top)

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilks
1/2 cup flour
2 cups of bran
1/2 cup sun dried cherries (optional or use raisins)
1 egg

Cream butter, sugar and shortening until light. Stir 1 tsp of soda into 1 cup of buttermilk until dissolved.  Add the liquid to the butter mixture.  Sift flour then add a pinch of salt to the flour. Add flour to batter.  Stir in bran, cherries, and 1 well beaten egg.  Spoon into hot greased muffin pans, filling them only 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Allow to stand 5 minutes in the pan then remove carefully as these muffins are delicate.

What the cookbook had to say about these muffins: (I love vintage cookbooks and the funny notes on the recipes!)  Note:  These bran muffins are delicious beyond words and never fail to create an enthusiastic stir at the table.  Butter may be served with them of course, but because of their rich resemblance to certain cupcakes, it is often found quite satisfactory to serve them plain.

Hope they cause a stir at your table!!

Comments (14)

  1. I also love bran muffins but don't usually see them in bakeries and forget about their deliciousness when I'm baking myself. Thanks for the reminder- this is the perfect time of year for them.

  2. more advice? 🙂 ok… here is what i know: use more butter for rich and soft muffins BUT that adds fat. use agave nectar to avoid sugar and (bonus!!)… it also adds moisture. i added wheat germ to muffins this morning and it was tasty!

  3. Need more info on what the tweaking needs to be. Are they to dry, to moist? Wrong texture? Knowing these things will help to better diagnose the needed changes. They look good though.

  4. Altamania,

    The perfect bran muffin is crispy on the outside but moist on the inside, grainy, and has dried fruit and maybe nuts. Really I'm trying to get at the perfect consistency where the muffins are almost crunchy with a chunky exterior. Hope that helps?? Now that I'm typing it seems very hard to describe.

  5. Well I would guess that the recipe was written and tested at sea level. With that said you might want to try and adjust the baking soda/powder and the increase/decrease of flour and sugar.

    I don't think that you will get a very chunky outside texture given that bran flour/flakes produce a smoother texture. The additions of fruit should help a little. You might try crushed pineapple/drained.

    Hope that helps a bit. Good Luck

  6. Crushed pineapple…that's brilliant! I will try that and also try adjust the flour ratio. Thanks so much.

  7. Sounds like you need to make Nancy Silverton's Bran Muffins from La Brea Pastry Book. They are exactly the kind of muffin you are looking for. Delicious and healthy. David Lebovitz has a version of it on his blog, but if I recall correctly, the ingredients are slightly off compared with Nancy's book.

  8. I was also in search of the best bran muffin and I just found it!! So fantastic! It is the La Brea, Nancy Silverton recipe. It has pureed raisins and toasted bran in it. It also has yogurt and brown sugar, not much flour and I substituted coconut oil for the veg oil which is great. You can google the recipe and trust me, it's so moist with a crisp dark brown top and the sweet molasses like flavor. yumm, good luck

  9. I am trying to replicate the Suisse Italia Cafe bran muffin from SF in the 80s. I have not yet tried the LaBrea recipe. The S.I. muffin top was huge, dense, crunchy, chewy, bittersweet and had raisins. Someone out there must know the secret and it is not molasses! I tried a bran and molasses recipe and it was way too strong. I also tried the banana and peaches bran muffin from someone who said she used to work at S.I. Cafe in SF but it wasn’t quite right. This is becoming a mission for me now 🙂

    • I love this mission! Please let me know when you do find the right mix! I’d love to try it too. I’m always trying new bran muffin recipes.

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