Everyone likes homemade muffins and quick breads like pumpkin and zucchini bread…they are tasty, make the house smell great, and we feel like we are creating something special and homey for our families. My kids love it when I make homemade muffins! They are great to have on hand as part of a quick breakfast (like a muffin with butter and a hard boiled egg) when you have to run out the door! However, there are a few extra steps in the whole preparation process that I would like to tell you about that are really worth it to incorporate into your loving muffin making routine. Its not that hard. I promise!
The Extra Steps…and Why.
We have all heard that whole wheat flour is better for us than the refined, bleached kind of flour. It is true! There are all kinds of crazy nutritious things you get when you consume the whole grain…you get the normal protein and carbohydrates like in white flour, but you also get all the super fiber and minerals from the bran and the crazy important B Vitamins from the germ. However, instead of just picking up a bag of flour in the store to bake with…I like to buy the whole wheat berries (what flour is made from). While yes, it takes a little more effort to source because they aren’t normally in your basic grocery store, they are not that hard to get. I have found them in packaged bags or bulk bins of stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts but I normally buy them on Amazon from here.
Grind Your Own Flour…the Reason: Shortly after you grind up your wheat berries…those super nutrients are oxidized and destroyed, and the natural fats in the grain can spoil and become rancid. I have read that within 40 hours after grinding, 40% of the nutrients could have oxidized and within 72 hours up to 90% are destroyed! So…the reason is…if I go through all the effort to find and incorporate these healthy whole grains…I want to make sure those beneficial nutrients are still there! I have a Vitamix Blender with a Dry Grains Container that I use to grind up my flour (in small batches). There are lots of other types of grain grinders you can use. In the past, I have also purchased bags of freshly ground flour (and stored in the freezer) from a bakery like The Great Harvest Bread Company which grinds their own flour too!
Soak Your Freshly Ground Flour Overnight…the Reason: The next extra step is to soak your freshly ground flour overnight in a sour, cultured liquid like buttermilk, kefir, yogurt (or water with raw apple cider vinegar if avoiding dairy). A long, long time ago…people used to do this. The reason is that most grains naturally contain phytic acid which can combine with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and block our ability to absorb these minerals. Why go through all the effort to get freshly ground whole grains if you can’t absorb the nutrients they contain?! Soaking grains this way gives them a pleasant, slightly sour taste (like sourdough bread) and also encourages the production of beneficial enzymes that actually increase the amount of B Vitamins in the flour. A double whammy!
Just think of all the super nutrient (minerals, B vitamins, etc.) potential we are missing out on when we don’t freshly grind or soak our grains first! Crazy!
I admit…I’m busy too and can’t do this all the time. But I do try to grind up and soak a batch of flour each week so I at least have some healthy breakfast muffins to keep in the fridge. I also do this for Saturday morning pancakes. You can soak things like oats overnight too and pump up the nutrient volume of your morning oatmeal! Below is the muffin recipe my family likes most. Enjoy!
SOAKED WHOLE WHEAT RASPBERRY MUFFINS:
(which is basically the Basic Muffin recipe in Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions”)
- 3 cups freshly ground organic whole wheat flour (I ground up whole wheat berries in my Vitamix Blender with their Dry Grains Container)
- 2 cups plain kefir
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs melted butter
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 Tbs large grained organic sugar (to sprinkle on top)
Mix the freshly ground flour with the kefir in a large glass or plastic bowl, cover loosely and set out on counter 12 to 24 hours. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients saving the frozen raspberries until the end. Gently fold in the frozen raspberries (don’t over mix or it will all turn pink!). Spoon into buttered muffin tins and sprinkle a little sugar on top to make it pretty. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour. Cool and serve with a big slab of grass-fed butter! Yum!