Yes, I’m still searching for the “perfect” bran muffin recipe. I’d really like a copycat recipe for the Van de Kamp’s bakery bran muffins of my youth. But, alas, several years ago Van de Kamp’s was sold, and I’ve not been able to find a comparable bran muffin.
A few weeks ago my daughter & I had lunch at Mimi’s Café. My soup & salad lunch came with a choice of muffin, and, of course, I chose the bran muffin. I always get it because, even though it’s not a Van de Kamp’s, it’s pretty good. Dark & dense, fairly moist, with a great glaze. It’s served like a pineapple upside down cake so the glaze can drip down the sides of the huge muffin. I decided then & there to start looking for a copycat recipe. I found two that I tried. After a taste test, the clear winner was a recipe from The Recipe Link. This Mimi’s clone tastes great. The glaze takes eating a bran muffin to an entirely new level of enjoyment. Instead of “…I’ve got to eat this for my health,” it’s “…I want to eat this for the yummy taste!”
Here are the changes I made to the Recipe Link recipe: I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour instead of regular All Purpose flour. Of course, I totally omitted the salt and used sodium free baking powder. And, since I like orange flavoring, I increased the grated orange zest to 1 teaspoon. For the glaze, I used butter instead of shortening and 1 tablespoon each of dark corn syrup & honey.
(For additional bran muffin recipes see this older POST.)
Even though I liked the new bran muffin recipe, I was getting tired of the sweetness factor. I started looking for something more like a yeast dinner roll but packed with bran. I found just the recipe I wanted on the Hodgson Mill website. It’s a great bread recipe that I’ve been using now for a couple of months. Instead of a bread loaf, I make dinner rolls. After baking, I separate them into portions for two and then freeze them. I can quickly reheat them in the microwave. They’re great as dinner rolls, snacks, and even breakfast. I have made other very nice whole wheat dinner roll recipes, but this is my favorite to keep on hand for just “family” use because of the added bran.
Hodgson Mills High Fiber Bran Bread
I made 15 dinner rolls
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 tbsp. powdered milk
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp. salt)
(I added 2 tbsp. vital wheat gluten)
2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. bread flour
1 c. wheat bran
2 tsp. active dry yeast (To compensate for the reduced salt, I used 1 tsp yeast)
I used the "dough" setting on my bread machine to knead & proof the dough. I checked the dough's consistency during the "knead" cycle. Even though it felt fine, I added a tablespoon of water just because I know that whole wheat flour and bran can suck up moisture. When the "rise" cycle started, I rubbed some oil onto all the exposed surfaces of the dough ball and misted it with water. That kept the dough ball from developing a "skin."
I divided the dough into 15 pieces, weighing each piece (approximately 2 1/4 oz. each) so all the rolls were of a uniform size. (I've also made 18 smaller rolls, 2 oz. each, using this recipe.) By using a Silpat baking mat, I've found that I don't need to add additional flour for rolling and shaping. That keeps the dough softer and it doesn't dry out. After shaping and placing in a greased baking pan, I covered the rolls with plastic wrap and let them rise for about an hour. Before baking, I brushed the tops with cream.
I baked them at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. I always check the bottoms of rolls or buns before removing them from the oven. If I don't think the bottom is done enough, I'll take the pan off the oven rack and put it directly onto the baking stone for 3-5 minutes. After baking, I immediately remove the rolls from the pan and place them on a rack to cool.