He Ain't Heavy, He's My Bran Muffin

Yes, the road may be long—with many a winding turn—but the emergence of this muffin is surely a sign that better times are around the bend. While some bran muffins are known for their “tough love,” being dry, often dense, and occasionally burdensome, this muffin is nothing of the sort. In fact, it sort of coddles. I might even go so far as to call it seductive.

I’ve had a muffin (okay, two) daily since they came to be. I love them, though I can’t put my finger on exactly why; I suppose the crème fraîche helps, as does the fruit soaked in framboise. Leave it to the French to lend a certain je ne sais quoi to a muffin made of bran.

And leave it to Joanne Chang to create another baked good masterpiece, without even the use of any butter whatsoever. How she managed to make a light, cake-like bran muffin is beyond me. And the texture the millet imparts is brilliant. You may be tempted to omit it because of its slight obscurity: don’t if you can help it.

Though, the perfectly round grains will bounce all over your kitchen, so don’t bother to get out your broom until the last bran muffin has been baked and put away (or eaten). You wouldn’t believe the places I’ve found those little yellow balls.

I admit I was initially concerned that all this bran was turning me into a bore, my love for a muffin with a crunchy millet topping getting deeper by the bite. But then I thought: who cares? They really are that good. Yes folks, life—when eating bran—is good.

So, on we go. My existence, at times, is still a bit cumbersome, but it’s getting better. At any rate, I now have this muffin: and he won't encumber me. In fact, he doesn’t weigh me down at all. He ain’t heavy, he’s my muffin.

Bran Muffins with Millet and Framboise-Soaked Fruit
Adapted from Joanne Chang's cookbook Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

2-1/2 cups wheat bran
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup crème fraîche
3/4 cup 0 or 2% greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup raisins
~1/3 cup framboise
2-1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 tbsp molassess (light or dark)
~1/4 cup millet
~2 tbsp cup seeds, such as sesame or flax
~2 tbsp cup slivered almonds

In a medium bowl, stir together bran, milk, crème fraîche, yogurt and eggs. Meanwhile, heat dried cherries and raisins in a small saucepan with framboise for about 5 minutes, until they start to plump, adding additional framboise if needed. Let both the bran mixture and dried fruit sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

During this time, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. After 30 minutes, add the brown sugar and molasses to the bran mixture, stirring thoroughly until well combined; drain the dried fruit and add to mixture. Add the bran mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined; do not over mix. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with muffin liners and top with millet, seeds and almonds. Bake about 30-35 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins

-This muffin is not very sweet; it's the real deal. The bran doesn't hide in sugar, it embraces itself.
-Any combination of dried fruit, nuts and seeds would work magic here. Banana chunks would also be lovely.
-Don't omit the step of letting the bran sit; have patience, grasshopper. This allowed the bran to soak up some liquid and soften.


  1. I saw the title of the post and thought gosh, should I read it even though I have about five days left of Passover? I am an idiot and did read the entire thing, recipe as well. Now I have to wait until next week to bake this muffin masterpiece. God, I'm a moron.

  2. The muffings look great. I love that you used dried fruit and than rehydrated it.

  3. The title is a riot! I love muffins and these look delicious!

  4. These muffins look absolutely fabulous. I'm not a fan of bran muffins for all the reasons you described but this one is a beauty and flagged!

  5. Mmm... I'm a sucker for any sort of muffin, heavy or not. How are you liking the cookbook? I'm thinking of buying.

  6. Jess, I LOVE the cookbook. Have yet to be disappointed in a recipe. Though, I can't quite figure out her muffin pan sizing; she says her muffins yield 12 in a standard muffin tin, but this is the second recipe that the yield has magically doubled to 24. But heck, I'm not complaining. More muffins than originally planned is never a bad thing.

  7. This is definitely one of the most interesting muffin recipes I've seen. (Framboise-soaked fruit, wow!)

  8. these look serious, i am one of those who doesn't call it breakfast unless there are some carbs that mean business, so this looks like its right up my alley.

  9. these are by far the finest and most decadent bran muffins i've ever seen. best way to partake of my daily dose of fiber? i think so. :)

  10. I would eat anything soaked in framboise. These muffins indeed seem

  11. *seem seductive! (sorry I was too excited and pressed the "post comment" button too soon haha). The Flour recipes are awesome. And yes, I can imagine chopped bananas being fabulous here.

  12. Woohoo! Just discovered your blog. What a treat, such a fan already. Really like your witty titles. Big thumbs up!

  13. This looks like a really good bran muffin. I have no doubt that I would enjoy this with my morning coffee, or anytime of day.

    I am smiling at "He ain't heavy, he's my muffin" Very cute.


  14. I just discovered your blog yesterday and love it! I love bran muffins (and they cost $5 at my favourite cafe. Seriously!) and was wondering if you knew a good substitute for framboise. I googled it and found that raspberry juice would do but i don't think i'll be able to find raspberry juice where i am. Any ideas?

  15. Thank you! We make our muffins super oversized (literally overflowing so that you can get a lot of muffin top bcse that is what customers like) so that's prob reason for difference from my yield of 12 and yours of 24. Thx for great post!

  16. Thanks Joanne! I was wondering about that ... I figured it likely had something to do with my timid portioning. Thanks for your comment and for your great recipes!