whole wheat muffins

been experimenting with some whole wheat recipes. most of the cakes i tried were not very successful. i followed recipes here and there, but i'm beginning to think many people lack taste buds because they swear the recipes work and my family (and me) just aren't satisfied with the results.

then a friend of mine introduced me to the possibility that soaking might actually improve the taste. i'm already familiar with the premise that soaking grains is healthier. there is some debate on this and i generally lean towards the side of the fence that soaking is 'not ALL THAT', but having tried everything else, i decided if it made the food taste better, it might be worth a try.

first i tried a recipe from a lady who teaches classes on this sort of thing. quite frankly, i think she qualified in that group of people with no taste buds. i thought the recipe was terrible, BUT the texture was better than any i had managed so far. and according to her, i could convert ANY white flour recipe if only i followed her methods:

1. add 1 tablespoon of acid (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) for every cup of liquid in the recipe or sub kefir, buttermilk, etc, for the milk plus add another tablespoon. i've just rounded up to one tablespoon if the liquid is under one cup and had good results.

2. soak the liquid, the acid and the fresh ground (mine is course ground) flour for at least seven hours. the expert only covered hers with a dishtowel, but i am finding that the dough dries out on certain recipes so i've been putting mine in an airtight container. i've also cheated a couple of times and only soaked for 5 hours with acceptable results.

my first two successes:

i took these recipes right out of the better homes & garden cookbook (my personal favorite) and added my own modifications.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cooking oil (lard, tallow, butter, olive, coconut - needs to be liquid for easiest mixing)

for banana muffins: add 3/4 cup mashed (overripe) bananas to mixture and 1/2 cup nuts (optional). reduction of milk was previously suggested and tried, but the recipe was easier to soak and the muffins raised higher with the extra milk.

for chocolate chip muffins: add 2/3 cup chocolate chips to batter.

~pour milk and vinegar into a bowl that has airtight lid while grinding your flour.
~add flour to, now, soured milk
~fold together until flour is evenly wet
~scrape sides and pat down into the bottom of the bowl.
~cover and soak for 7-24 hours.

after soaking is finished.

~preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~grease muffin pans (enough for 12 muffins) or line with paper cups.
~in a clean bowl, beat egg
~if making banana muffins, add bananas to eggs and mix well.
~add fat, sugar, baking powder and salt and beat until well emulsified.
~scrape wet mixture into soaked flour mixture.
~continue to mix and fold by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated.
~fold in nuts, chips or other goodies (blueberries, cranberries, raisins, etc.)

TIP: i've found that if the added chunks are room temperature, they tend to sink to the bottom of the cups before they bake, leaving a gooey mess at the bottom half of the muffin and no goodies at the top. if i put the goodies in the freezer the day before and take them out only at the very last minute to fold into the batter, this prevents the sinking and the goodies stay sprinkled evenly throughout.

~spoon into muffin cups (3/4 to full).
~bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

these muffins do not raise very high and i may experiment down the road with a bit of extra baking powder or another egg (the first recipe i tried had two eggs but it didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference in height) and don't forget, this is course--home--ground whole wheat flour which isn't going to be smooth like a while flour product. they have a very grainy texture but they are very soft and tasty. we all think these muffins are very good.

(click to enlarge any of the above photos)

for any of you who are wondering which mill i use...we chose the family mill. we decided to save up for one and then some very dear friends all got together and bought me one as a gift. i love it. a very thoughtful, AND useful gift.

soon...i will be attempting to convert a very delicious chocolate cake recipe i've used before. if i master chocolate muffins, the 'brownie' points will soar for the mom (and the wife) around here.

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disclaimer:  caution must be taken when reading my blog.  i'm a new creature and the Lord continues to mold and shape me through his will.  older entries may seem to contradict the newer ones.  there's a pretty good chance that they do for two reasons.  first, because of my nature, as i strive for perfection, i will continue to fall short of the mark and should therefore be thankful for his grace and should seek his (and your) forgiveness for having been so foolish in the past.   second, i continue to grow in him; and as changes are made, i have made attempts to change my blog to reflect those changes. in this event, please refer to #1.   if you're interested in perfection, my blog isn't the place to be.  pick up a king james bible (yup, i'm one of THOSE people) and read his PERFECT word.