This has to be 'the original' bran muffin recipe. "Why?" You ask. Because it's one that was shared with me more than twenty five years ago by a New Zealander and lady chef, at a time when the popularity of the homestyle muffin and muffin creations of all kinds were on the rise. These 'muffin' baked goods were new to me too and I had enjoyed eating many of them, usually preferring the 'healthful' bran muffin!
Just before my 21st birthday, I was traveling and after three months of working in London, the home of the original muffin more than a century ago ;), I went on to spend nine months on a working holiday in Auckland, New Zealand where my sister and her husband lived. What do I remember of my stay in London? Well.. muffins.. muffin-mania! What of New Zealand? More... muffins!
At the time my sister was employed by a large grocery store chain corporate office, I was introduced to the canteen chef. As I recount the time, right now, I'm feeling the warmth of large catering ovens, sensing the aroma of baking and picturing the rows of muffin baking trays lined up along the polished stainless steel bench, awaiting the filling of this versatile bran muffin mix. The filled muffin tins were hastily popped into the large ovens, bronze baked, then laid out on warm on tables awaiting the morning tea break rush.
Naturally, as I always do if I love something, I asked for the recipe. Later, on returning home to Zimbabwe, I would use this same recipe for a muffin business I appropriately named 'Miss Muffitt'. This, I started some five years on from my small kitchen in my flat using a large and old, but very capable domestic oven.
A recipe mix that is quite versatile, as you could bake these as per the basic recipe for plain muffins, or for variation, add one or two of the following; raisins, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, chopped dates, chocolate chips, pre-cooked apple/pear/rhubarb chunks. Or use an overripe mashed banana, although remember to lessen the liquid measure of the recipe.
The buttermilk will keep these muffins moist. They are perfectly great on their own or with butter and a drizzle of honey or jam preserve. Just as they emerge from the oven, try a drizzle of honey and leave to soak in for that extra sweetness. Double this recipe for Jumbo muffin size baking tin.
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 18-20 minutes
Makes 12 small muffins
Preheat oven to 200 degC
1 1/4 processed wheat bran (or unprocessed wheat bran from health food store)
1 1/4 wholewheat flour
1 1/4 baking soda
1/2 Cup soft light brown sugar or granulated raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
3/4 Cup buttermilk or plain yoghurt or milk
1/2 Cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup raisins