Beautiful Bran Muffins and also, I am the Muffin Whisperer

Cooked up on July 22, 2012

Filed under: baking, breakfast, brunch

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What a weekend! It was such a treat to have my good friends Lisa and Diane, whom I met at BlogHer Food earlier this year. I’ve definitely been MIA from the Internet for a couple of days. And you know what? It was a little refreshing.  I did take tons of photos, though. More on that later this week. Right now I’m sharing what Dave, Diane and I had for breakfast Saturday morning:

Beautiful Bran Muffins

Did you know that muffins talk to you? It’s true. I am The Muffin Whisperer, according to Diane.

My mom and grandmother taught me a great technique for knowing that your muffins are done without making an ugly hole in one of them. Here it is – are you ready? Stick your ear next to them (DON’T BURN YOURSELF) and …

Listen. That’s it.

If the muffins aren’t done yet, you’ll hear a very gentle popping and crackling – it’s the liquid evaporating out of the batter/dough/whatever it is for muffins. When they are done, the muffins will be quiet – there will still be some popping but it is distinctively quieter. And then the muffins are done and perfectly moist. If they are totally silent they might be a teensy bit dry.

And that’s how you turn something that’s so frequently dry and heavy into a beautiful breakfast muffin that is lighter than air – such as bran muffins.

I’m already planning some great ways to play with this recipe. But here’s what I did this weekend – adapted quite a bit from this recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins


Preheat the oven to 375 and spray your muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. When making muffins, especially ones that don’t travel outside my home, I never use wrappers. It seems wasteful. I will use them if I’m a) going to be handling them a lot (like, decorating cupcakes for example) or if I am taking them anywhere outside my kitchen and dining room.

In a medium bowl (not mixing – just something tall) mix together the wheat bran, milk and water. Allow to hydrate for at least ten minutes.

Use a whisk to combine the vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add the bran mixture to the oil/sugar/etc. and use the whisk to combine.

Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and stir briefly to combine. Then add the flour mixture into the liquid in the mixing bowl and whisk to fold together. DO NOT overmix – you should be able to combine these totally with large, sweeping strokes and only a few of them. Just before the last stroke, add in the raisins.

Place in the muffin tin and bake for about fifteen minutes – use the Muffin Whisperer trick. And enjoy! 🙂


  1. That’s neat! Could you post some audio of muffin sounds so I know what to listen for?

    Comment by Ben Hoffman — July 23, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  2. I totally have to try out this trick! I am the Roast Chicken Whisperer….doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the ‘Muffin Whisperer’ and you can imagine the sounds that poor bird is making when you lean in close. Thanks for the plug. Lx

    Comment by Lisa — July 26, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  3. You ARE the Muffin Whisperer! I’d never heard of it til you told me. And thanks for the recipe ~ they were delicious! And all-purpose: can’t wait to stuff them full of figs or cherries or walnuts or what have you.

    Comment by PenPanDiane — July 28, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  4. I love this! And the next time I make muffins, I’m going to try it – or even a dense cake/bread, I bet the evaporation/noise principle works!

    Comment by Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 20, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  5. […] Don’t believe me? Rebekah wrote about it. […]

    Pingback by Weekend Things — August 25, 2012 @ 8:48 am

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