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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting Back to Normal - Bran Muffins, Sourdough Starter and more

If you read my journey blog you will see our waterbed mattress sprung a leak in the early morning of the 15th so we had little sleep that night followed by a busy day of last minute prep and travelling. Once arriving in Las Vegas we enjoyed a whirlwind of activity along with way too much food and drink coupled with minimal sleep. We arrived home over fed and exhausted to snow and cold, a kid needing an immediate tooth extraction, an almost empty fridge, no energy and sleeping on a temporary air mattress in the waterbed frame. Yesterday my husband picked up a loaf of bread, milk and eggs on his way home. We had a simple meal of grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches since neither of us were even hungry! Today, he ordered a new mattress, extra long queen for the bed. During the vacation we had a chance to talk and decided to forego another waterbed mattress but use the waterbed frame if possible.

We discovered a couple of dishes I'd like to duplicate at home but for now the first step is getting things back to normal. That means I need the basics up and running. These include: sourdough starter, yogurts, breads and quick breakfast options. My first step was to get the sourdough starter going along with the yogurt. Now normally these should not be made at the same time nor should bread or yogurt be made at the same time as the yeast and bacteria compete for resources. Ultimately one or both will fail. My solution was to get the sourdough starter (yeast) going then move to another warm room. While the yeast can be distributed throughout the house with the forced air heating, it shouldn't be in large enough quantities to cause the yogurt (bacteria) to fail especially when the starter is fresh. That is why I decided to make a fresh batch instead of thawing starter. With those two important ingredients in the making, I decided to make a batch of six week bran muffins. I omitted the raisins for the first batch but will stir in fruit as needed. Tomorrow is bread day as the yogurt will be ready for the fridge and it won't interfer with the sourdough starter.

Bran Muffins

Whole grain muffins and breads are a must after a vacation simply because they help cleanse your body. One of the easiest ways is to include a whole grain muffin with your breakfast. I decided on the recipe from Jean Paré simply because it gives a large batch of muffin batter that will take a little pressure off of me for the next couple of weeks. The batter is a good one to keep on hand for quick muffins anytime. Customize the recipe by substituting cranraisins or frozen blueberries for raisins just before baking.

Six Week Bran Muffins
source: Jean Paré, Company's Coming, Muffins & More, 1983. Pp. 31

Store batter in refrigerator. Bake a fresh supply every day if you like.

4 c Bran flakes cereal
2 c All bran cereal
2 c Boiling water

1 c Butter or margarine
1 1/2 c Granulated sugar
1 1/2 c Packed brown sugar
4 Eggs

4 c Buttermilk
1/4 c Molasses (optional)

5 c All purpose flour
2 tbsp Baking soda
1 tbsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
2 c Raisins

In large bowl put cereals and boiling water. Let stand.

In mixing bowl cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mix in buttermilk. Add molasses. Stir in cereal mixture.

In another bowl put flour, soda, baking powder, salt and raisins. Mix thoroughly. Add to batter. Stir to combine. Store in refrigerator. It will keep for six weeks. As required, fill greased muffin cups % full. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pan after 5 minutes.

Variation: Brans may be switched to use 2 cups (500 mL) bran flakes and 4 cups (1 L) all bran cereal. Or you may use natural bran to replace one cereal.

Note: cranraisins, frozen cranberries or frozen blueberries make a lovely substitute for raisins.


2 food lovers commented:

Susan said...

Dear Mrs. Gnome :'

I wonder if you would be so kind as to share the recipe for your sourdough starter.
I had one gifted to me, and managed to kill it..........

Garden Gnome said...

No problem and thanks for asking. If starting right from scratch I use 1 c unbleached flour and 1 c of water. Once the starter starts bubbling it is time to use. Remove the desired amount and feed with 1/2 the amount of flour and 1/2 the amount of water or at that time you can use milk instead of water. The starter should be kept in a warm location and fed weekly. If you are not using the starter, remove 1 c replacing with equal amounts of flour and water. Dry down the removed starter by placing on a piece of wax paper. When dried break into pieces and use to seed your next starter if needed.