This post may contain affiliate links for products and ingredients I use and recommend. For more information, see my affiliate disclosures.
- 🌾 What is Wheat Bran?
- 👍 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 🔍 Tips for Making Sourdough Bran Muffins
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 🌾 How to Make Sourdough Bran Muffins
- How to Serve
- How to Store
- ❓ FAQs:
- Other Sourdough Breakfast Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Sourdough Bran Muffins
These old-fashioned Sourdough Bran Muffins are full of fiber and not too sweet! The breakfast muffins are made with buttermilk, molasses, and sourdough discard so they stay moist for days.
I love adding toasted pecans, plump raisins, and orange zest to give these bran muffins an extra flavor and texture boost. However, the recipe is quite versatile to choose whatever inclusions you’d like such as dates, walnuts, or lemon zest.
I adapted this recipe for sourdough discard from Joy of Cooking, as it’s one of my favorite breakfast muffin recipes. The orange zest really takes these over the top adding a nice brightness and zing.
The recipe includes lots of tips on how to make these delicious sourdough discard bran muffins.
🌾 What is Wheat Bran?
A by-product of wheat processing, wheat bran is the protective outer shell of the wheat grain removed during milling.
Most flour that you purchase at the store has been sifted (or bolted), which results in the loss of much of the wheat grain’s fibrous and nutritious properties. Whole wheat flour isn’t bolted, so the bran, germ, and endosperm remain.
Wheat bran is full of insoluble fiber and has a light, coarse,and flaky texture with incredible nutty flavor.
👍 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Full of fiber from wheat bran and pecans
- Can rest the batter overnight
- There’s no fermenting since the muffins use sourdough discard (or active starter), which you can use straight from the refrigerator. The baking soda and egg does all of the leavening.
- Grab-and-go quick breakfast
- Can substitute the raisins, pecans, and orange zest with other nuts, dried fruit, or citrus zest (or leave out completely).
- Not too sweet
- Sweetened with only a ¼ cup of light brown sugar and ½ cup of molassees.
- No mixer required
- Stores well
- Muffins are best fresh out of the oven, but these store well for a few days at room temperature. Reheat them slightly in a microwave, toaster oven, or slice in half and brown with butter in a skillet!
🔍 Tips for Making Sourdough Bran Muffins
- Rest the batter before baking
- You can bake these muffins right after mixing, but they do best with at least an hour or overnight rest in the refrigerator. This allows the flour and bran to soak some of the moisture. Additionally, it helps create the classic bakery-style muffin top dome.
- Use room temperature ingredients
- For the best muffins, let your buttermilk, egg, and sourdough discard come to room temperature before mixing. The room temperature wet ingredients emulsify better and achieve a better rise.
- Bake hot for the first 5 minutes
- Don’t overmix the batter
- Use sourdough discard or active sourdough starter
- You can use active sourdough starter or unfed sourdough discard in this recipe since it’s not leavening the muffins.
🛠 Tools Needed:
You only need a few basic tools to make these sourdough muffins. No mixer required!
- Baking Scale
- Flour and sourdough starter can weigh differently from person to person, so weighing your ingredients is the best option! Weighing your ingredients by weight will make your baking more consistent and accurate.
- Muffin Pan
- This recipe makes about 16 standard-size muffins. You can split the batter between two muffin pans or just bake 12 at a time.
- Muffin Liners (optional)
- If you’re using a nonstick muffin pan or grease a muffin pan well, you don’t have to line the pan with muffin paper liners or muffin tins. However, I prefer serving muffins with the liners so they’re easier to transport and store.
- For folding in the raisins and pecans and scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Cookie or Ice Cream Scoop (optional)
- It’s optional, but using a ½ cup or 4oz cookie or ice cream scoop helps your muffins be more evenly sized and I find it makes less of a mess than spooning in batter.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
See below for my ingredient recommendations and possible substitutions.
- All-purpose flour
- Substitute with whole wheat flour for a denser, but even more nutritious muffin.
- Wheat bran
- I use this Bob’s Red Mill wheat bran. You can find wheat bran at health food stores or bulk aisles in many grocery stores.
- Wheat germ and oat bran are not the same as wheat bran, but can be used as 1:1 substitutes in this recipe if that’s what you have.
- Baking soda
- The baking will interact with the acidic buttermilk, molasses, and sourdough discard to contribute to the rise in these muffins.
- Orange zest
- Many muffins include vanilla extract for flavoring, but the orange zest adds so much brightness and flavoring to this recipe that I don’t find vanilla extract necessary. I might even say that the orange zest is my favorite flavor in these muffins!
- If you don’t have an orange, you can substitute it with lemon zest.
- Light brown sugar
- There’s ¼ cup of light brown sugar to give the muffins a bit more sweetness, moisture, and structure that you don’t get with molasses alone. You can substitute it with granulated sugar or another sweetener of your choosing.
- If you opt for sweetener like maple syrup, honey, or agave, only use 2 TBS so your batter isn’t too sweet and wet.
- Sourdough Discard
- The buttermilk adds tanginess and the acidity interacts with the baking soda. If you don’t have, you can reconstitute powdered buttermilk. Don’t substitute with another milk or your muffins may not rise as well.
- Melted Butter
- Pecans, chopped and toasted
- Toasting nuts brings out their flavor and helps them stay crunchy.
- Leave out or substitute with another nut such as walnuts or hazelnuts.
- Leave out or substitute with another dried fruit such as dates or dried cranberries.
- Demerara or raw sugar, for topping
Sourdough Bran Muffin Variations
- Like morning glory muffins or my Sourdough Banana Bread with Chai Spices, you can add cinnamon or other warming spices like ginger to your muffins.
- If you want even more fiber, add a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds to the batter.
- Add chocolate chips for a chocolate chip bran muffin.
- Instead of raisins, add fresh fruit such as blueberry or raspberries.
🌾 How to Make Sourdough Bran Muffins
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you make the best sourdough bran muffins.
1. Mix the Dry Ingredients
If you haven’t done so, toast your pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. It’ll only take a few minutes, so keep your eye on them so they don’t burn!
Remove from the heat, cool, and chop. You can use a food processor to chop them quickly and evenly, too.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the all-purpose flour, wheat bran, orange zest, salt, and baking soda.
2. Whisk the Wet Ingredients
In another mixing bowl, whisk the wet ingredients, including the buttermilk, egg, light brown sugar, molasses, sourdough discard, and melted butter.
3. Mix and Rest the Batter
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until almost all of the flour is hydrated. It’s okay if some floury spots remain.
Then, fold in the chopped pecans and raisins just until the muffin batter is mixed.
For the best results, cover and chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. This will allow the bran and flour to absorb the liquid and help the muffins rise taller in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
As the batter rests and you preheat the oven, prepare your muffin pan. Line it with muffin liners if you’re using and spray the liners and top of the pan with non-stick baking spray.
Once the oven is preheated and the batter has rested for at least an hour, evenly distribute the batter among the muffin cups and fill them most of the way up.
I like to use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop for even measuring and cleaner pouring, but you can use a spoon or spatula too. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar (or more wheat bran) for shiny, sugary tops.
This recipe makes about 16 standard-sized muffins. If you have two muffin pans, you can bake them all at one time or you can bake 12 and then bake the remaining batter afterwards.
Bake the muffins for 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350ºF (177ºC) and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are shiny, golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
How to Serve
These sourdough bran muffins are great as a grab-and-go breakfast, afternoon snack with tea, or simple dessert.
They’re great on their own, but for a more luxurious experience, brown some butter in a pan, slice the muffins in half, and toast them in the butter. So good!
Bran muffins also go well with cream cheese or savory nut butters like peanut butter.
How to Store
Sourdough bran muffins store very well!
While they’re best when freshly baked, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Toast or reheat them slightly before serving as they will become more dense and lose moisture over time.
To get a couple of more days out of them, you can refrigerate the muffins for 4-5 days.
How to Freeze
After baking, let the bran muffins cool to room temperature and then place them in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw the muffins in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a toaster oven or oven at 350ºF.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients and divide the muffins between more muffin pans or reserve the batter for baking later.
Can I add whole wheat flour to the muffins?
You can! Substitute all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. The muffins will be very flavorful, but denser.
Can I use bran cereal?
Bran cereal is denser than wheat bran flakes and typically has added ingredients so it would not be a 1:1 substitute in this recipe.
Why are bran muffins dense?
Dense bran muffins may be due to overmixing your batter, which creates a chewy muffin. It’s also possible you overbaked them.
Other Sourdough Breakfast Recipes You May Enjoy:
Sourdough Bran Muffins
- 200 g All-purpose Flour, 1 ½ cups
- 85 g Wheat Bran, 1 ½ cups
- 1 ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- Orange Zest, from one orange
- 454 g Buttermilk, 2 cups
- 1 Egg
- 120 g Sourdough Discard, ½ cup, or active starter
- 170 g Unsulphered Molasses, ½ cup
- 50 g Light Brown Sugar, ¼ cup
- 55 g Unsalted Butter, melted, 4 TBS
- 112 g Pecans, 1 cup, toasted and chopped, unsalted
- 80 g Raisins, ½ cup
- Raw Sugar, optional, for topping
- If your pecans aren't already toasted, toast them in a small skillet for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, and chop. Set aside.Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.200 g All-purpose Flour, 85 g Wheat Bran, 1 ¼ tsp Baking Soda, ½ tsp Kosher Salt, Orange Zest
- In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until incorporated.454 g Buttermilk, 1 Egg, 120 g Sourdough Discard, 170 g Unsulphered Molasses, 50 g Light Brown Sugar, 55 g Unsalted Butter
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until only a few specks of flour remain. Use a spatula to fold in the pecans and raisins and mix just until combined.For the best results, rest the batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. The batter will hydrate in the refrigerator and result in taller muffins.112 g Pecans, 80 g Raisins
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC).Line a standard muffin pan with muffin tins or paper liners and spray with non-stick baking spray or oil. This recipe makes about 16 muffins, so save any remaining batter to bake later if you have one muffin pan.Distribute the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling most of the way up. I like to use a cookie or ice cream scoop for a cleaner transfer process. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar or more wheat bran.Bake for 5 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350ºF (177ºC) and bake for another 15 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffins comes out clean.Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!Raw Sugar
- Once cool, store the bran muffins in an airtight container for 3-4 days at room temperature or 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze the muffins in a freezer-safe bag, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and reheat.
- Follow my guide above for more detailed instructions, tips, and photos to make this recipe.