Friday, January 25, 2013

Whole Foods Friday: Vanilla Sprouted Wheat Muffins

Sprouted wheat flour is an interesting ingredient. It's a whole grain product, but I've read that since it's sprouted, it's more like a vegetable than a grain. Whether that's completely accurate, I have no idea, but it makes some sense.

I'll leave the research on that up to you.

The flavor is similar to whole wheat, but with some sweet, malty notes. It paired nicely with the vanilla. And when it comes to vanilla, I'm a bit of a fiend. As much as I like chocolate, I really adore vanilla, In a lot of recipes, vanilla is a background note. In these muffins, it's a little more prominent.

I thought these muffins were fine as-is, but they'd make a perfect background for some fruit added to the muffins. Dried cherries would be my first choice. Or apples. About 1/4 cup of fruit would be perfect. Add the fruit when you mix the wet and dry ingredients.

The one problem with baking with any whole wheat flour is that it doesn't hydrate quite as quickly as white flour, so the baked products don't seem as "soft" as when you bake with white flour - there's a grittiness or toughness in the finished product.

That hydration problem is easy to solve - and it's simple. You just need to let the batter rest. The flour absorbs liquid and gets softer. For these muffins, an overnight rest is perfect. Or a full 24 hours, if that works better for your schedule.

Vanilla Sprouted Wheat Muffins

2 cups (9 ounces) sprouted wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, milk, oil, egg, and vanilla together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well.

Cover the bowl or transfer the batter to a storage container with a lid. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray 12 standard-sized muffin tins with baking spray. Or, if you prefer, line them with cupcake papers.

Stir the batter - it will have bubbled up a lot. You don't want to beat the heck out of it, just stir.

Portion the batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 325 degrees until nicely browned, the top bounces back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool completely.