These gluten free bran muffins are special in how ordinary, but tender and tasty, they are. Try them with a smear of butter or preserves.
These muffins smell and taste just like you remember really good bran muffins to smell and taste: hearty and sweet, with a tender crumb and a light crispness on the outside.
Gluten free stabilized rice bran is a perfect substitute for the wheat bran in a conventional bran muffin. And of course, it has the added benefit of being gluten free.
I grew up in the 80s, and bran was a very. big. deal. So was margarine, though, so you can't win them all. But I still consider bran to be a nutritional win.
All about (rice) bran
Fiber helps keep you full, too. So a muffin filled with fiber that still tastes great if the perfect choice for a busy morning.
Why use “stabilized” rice bran?
The outer shell of a rice kernel is the bran. When it's separated from the rest of the grain, it becomes unstable and will quickly go rancid unless it's treated with heat to stabilize it (source). Any rice bran that you'll buy will have been stabilized.
What brand of rice bran to use
The gluten free rice bran that I use most frequently is from nuts.com. I have also successfully used gluten free oat bran in this recipe.
Bob's Red Mill doesn't seem to make a certified gluten free rice bran any longer, but they do make a certified gluten free oat bran that can be used. Vitacost also has its own brand, as does NOW Foods, but I haven't tried either brand.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: In place of the butter, I recommend trying Melt brand vegan butter. You might be able to use Earth Balance buttery sticks, but keep in mind that they have a lot of salt and a lot of moisture. You might have to cut back on the liquid a bit.
In place of buttermilk, just use half unsweetened nondairy milk (like almond milk) and half nondairy plain yogurt. It will mimic the consistency and flavor of buttermilk best.
Egg-free: There are four eggs in this recipe, which is double my limit for optimism in replacing the eggs in a recipe with an egg replacer. You can try a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) for each, but it's iffy.
Rice bran: See discussion above about rice bran. You can use certified gluten free stabilized oat or rice bran in this recipe. There isn't another substitute for the bran in this recipe, since the recipe was developed to showcase bran.
If you'd like a basic muffin recipe, don't worry; you've still come to the right blog. I recommend trying our recipe for easy gluten free muffins, which has plenty of variations—and no bran.
Honey: In place of honey, you can try using Lyle's golden syrup or light corn syrup. Maple syrup doesn't generally substitute well for honey in baking since it has a very different consistency.
Molasses: The little bit of molasses in this recipe really helps add depth of flavor to these bran muffins. You could try replacing it with more honey.
If you can have molasses but are thinking of substituting it because you don't happen to have it on hand, wait until you can make it to the store. Grandma's brand molasses is everywhere, and it gets a workout in warm, cozy fall recipes like these bran muffins and gingerbread, too.
Gluten Free Bran Muffins
1 1/3 cups (160 g) gluten free stabilized rice bran
1 1/3 cups (187 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tablespoons (105 g) honey
2 tablespoons (42 g) unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 1/3 cups (10 2/3 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the rice bran, flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, honey, molasses, vanilla, eggs, and the buttermilk. Mix until the batter is mostly smooth. The batter will be thick and might be a bit lumpy but that’s fine.
Fill the prepared muffin cups all the way full with batter and smooth the tops with wet fingers. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 22 minutes, or until a tester placed in the center of a middle muffin comes out mostly clean and the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center. Do not overbake or the edges will burn.
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm.
Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe scaled up to make larger muffins, most text, all photos, and video all new.