Saturday, February 9, 2008
Here is the weekly installment of the The Clueless College Baker but, unlike some of my previous efforts, this one has a happy ending! The muffins turned out really, REALLY well...except for one step which we'll get to a little bit later. Wholesome and moist, these muffins make me look forward to getting up in the morning...perfect with a cup of coffee.
The recipe I'm using can be found in I'm Just Here For More Food...I've had issues in the past where the volume and weight measurements didn't quite match up (1 tsp of vanilla extract weighs 57 grams?) but had no problems with the bran muffin recipe. It's also a fun book to read through. Brown's enthusiasm for food is infectious and his science-based perspective is refreshing in an industry dominated by flowery adjectives and hollow rhetoric. There's substance behind his words that helps you understand WHY things happen as they do. When you understand the science behind the cooking process, you'll become more confident and will, eventually, be able to anticipate problems before they happen. Good stuff.
Oh. Some of you might notice that I use weight measurements when I bake. I do this because it's more precise. Given that flour can be compressed, it's easier to give weight measurements because then everyone's on the same page.
Anyhow, here we go.
The ingredients. Raisins in the center, bran flakes directly above. Baking soda to the right. Nutmeg in the small grinder.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set half of a stick of butter aside to come to room temperature.
Use butter to grease up a 10 of the 12 openings on a 12-muffin muffin tin.
Measure out the dry ingredients. First, 138 grams of whole wheat flour:
8 grams of baking soda
Sift. Add a few pinches of salt. Recipe calls for 2.5 grams (.5 teaspoon) of ground allspice. I didn't have allspice and used nutmeg instead...I just ground it until it smelled quite fragrant. Set aside:
Measure out more dry ingredients. 20 grams of wheat germ:
Toast the wheat germ...just enough so it smells toasty. Set aside:
106 grams of bran flakes:
1/2 of a cup of raisins on top of the bran flakes:
Combine bran flakes, wheat germ and raisins. Set aside.
More measuring. 86 grams of brown sugar:
62 grams of molasses:
Set aside sugar/molasses mixture.
Buttermilk, 228 grams:
Measuring is done.
Take the softened butter and smoosh it around until it's sorta smooth. This was harder than I had imagined it would be:Watch this video and try not to think of me as a total psycho:
Here's what happened a moment later:
Ughh. Ideally, I would've whisked the butter and then added the sugar/molasses and whisked that for a while. After that, one egg. Things don't always go as planned. Aim for a nice homogeneous mixture.
Add half the flour/baking soda/salt mixture. Combine:Add half the buttermilk:Add the half of the flour mixture and combine. Add the remaining buttermilk and combine.
Add the bran flakes, wheat germ and raisins. Fold to combine...you will need Popeye-like forearms...it gets pretty thick:I used an ice cream scoop to get the muffin batter into the tins.
Done. Notice how some of these tins aren't quite full. The next time I make this recipe. I will only make 10 mufffins. Place muffins into your preheated oven for 20 minutes or so. Check to see that they're cooked through by stabbing them with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, they're done.
20 minutes later...GREAT SUCCESS! They look purdy, don't they? I couldn't resist and had to eat a piping hot muffin:
Cool on a rack:
Man, was I thrilled to see the lovely brown muffins come out of the oven. I guess I'm not totally hopeless when it comes to baking. Next time, I might try something a little more difficult. Homemade puff pastry? Maybe...just maybe...
Time- About an hour including baking time
Food cost- Lost the grocery receipt. Oops. However, it can't be more than 4 bucks for the whole batch...these things are pretty cheap.
edit: It should be known that I was somewhat unsatisfied with the shape of the muffins. They just don't have that steroid-fueled GIANT Starbucks muffin shape. This is one reason why I decided that, the next time, to make 10 muffins and not 12...that should help facilitate the classic muffin shape.