Published May 1, 2007.
We wanted a bran muffin that didn't require a trip to the health food store.
Classic bran muffins rely on unprocessed wheat bran, but our supermarket survey showed that few stores carry this specialized ingredient.
We wanted to make a real bran muffin—a moist, hearty muffin redolent of bran's rich, earthy flavor—without tracking down unprocessed bran.
We turned to the cereal aisle of our store. Our first goal was to narrow down the bran cereal choices, which we classified as twigs, flakes, and granules. Twigs (especially Kellogg's All-Bran Original) gave our muffins the most robust bran flavor, but at first they didn't dissolve into the batter, even sticking out of the tops of the baked muffins. To get the chewy, rustic texture we wanted, we pulverized half of the cereal and kept the other half whole—the twigs softened perfectly in only five minutes. The other secrets proved to be relatively easy to unearth. Whole milk yogurt was the tasters' first choice for the moisture component. And replacing the baking powder with baking soda gave a coarser crumb that fit the rustic muffins. Our final challenge was the raisins. We found that to get them soft enough, we needed to plump them in the microwave with a little water before baking.list of recipes