Lazy Baking — Oat Bran Sourdough Muffins

It’s Tuesday night and I can’t make bagels. I want to make bagels, I have all the ingredients for bagels, and I love making bagels. But after putting in a full day of work, my energy is sapped and I can’t face rolling 18 bagels and then staying up for another three or four hours waiting to put them into the fridge overnight. What I need is to mix, bake, and go to bed. (Well, OK, I might sneak an episode of Breaking Bad in there somewhere.)

Mix, bake, sleep… sounds like muffins to me. Sourdough, of course. And using some of that big bag of oat bran that stares me in the face every time I look at the pantry shelf seems like a good idea, too. Sourdough oat bran muffins are not in my repertoire, but what the hell, I’ll just try something. At worst, I’ll have lost 30 minutes and 63 cents’ worth of oat bran, and I can go to bed saying I tried.

Believe me when I say a new recipe almost never works for me on the first attempt, but these are actually pretty good! They have the texture I appreciate in a muffin — coarse and chewy and nothing like a cupcake. The 15-muffin batch size is a bit unconventional, but I can live with that. And they’re rather plain looking, aren’t they?

But they really do taste very good, although I can imagine all sorts of ways they could be spruced up with the addition of nuts, fruits, spices, gumball machine rings, etc. What are your ideas? Share them in the comments, or better yet, bake up your own take on these very easy muffins and send me a photo and a link to your recipe (must include sourdough starter and oat bran!). If I have any takers, I’ll post them in a roundup in a couple of weeks.

Oat Bran Sourdough Muffins

Yield: 15 muffins


  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Bake: 20 minutes


  • 116 grams oat bran
  • 168 grams whole wheat flour
  • 20 grams (4 1/3 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 1.5 grams (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 60 grams nonfat milk powder
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 336 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 108 grams egg (2 large whole eggs)
  • 42 grams olive oil
  • 8.4 grams (2 teaspoons) vanilla
  • 122 grams unsweetened applesauce
  • 256 grams water


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Spray, oil, or butter 15 muffin tin cups, or line them with paper liners. Also spray the top surfaces of the tins so the muffin tops won’t stick.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, milk powder, and sugar
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the starter, eggs, olive oil, vanilla, applesauce, and water.
  5. Add the starter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  6. Fill the prepared tins all the way to the top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer returns clean.
  8. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Oh sometimes you just have to go with it.
    These strike me a little like a blank – not bland – blank slate that could have all kinds of beautiful directions. My first inclination would be cranberry, lemon zest and walnuts … don’t know where that came from … then blueberry lemon walnuts speaks even louder ;-)
    I can so relate to the tired.

  2. meera says

    I have a lot of sourdough starter and was delighted I could use them so differently, and every ingredient was like, ‘yes I have’, ‘yes I have’… until I came to eggs. I don;t like eggs. I am also vegan.

    Can you tell me how I can make these muffins without eggs pls?

  3. says

    I’ll support the lemon-cranberry addition with nice zest pieces in. I’m here again, at Wild Yeast, because of my gluten addiction. But there is nothing better to get me over that wheat craving than visiting WY and just looking at some (all) of your breads. Recently though, I’m bending towards some gluten-free bakes, but am at a loss. You’re the most respectable source I want to come to and ask, Susan. Do you, at all, dab in gluten-free baking? Is it possible to grow a gluten-free sourdough starter? What are your thoughts? I’d love to bake these muffins with the gluten-free sourdough? Am I wasting my time… and yours?

  4. says

    never heard of muffins baked with sourdough, but these call for a try! :-)
    Just let me regenerate my sadly forgotten sourdough, I haven’t been using it for long, it’s time to wake him up! :-)

  5. says

    I just made muffins with my sourdough starter last week too! I used ww pastry flour, oat bran, and barley flour.
    I really love the simple ingredients in your muffins and they look marvelous! There’s something about sourdough and oat bran that works well together.
    I added sunflower seeds, dried cherries, and my last tiny bit of raisins to mine. The sunflower seeds add a nice crunch. I’ll send you the recipe when I post it!

  6. says

    What a smart and delicious-looking recipe! I love it that it uses sourdough, applesauce and olive oil. All ingredients not found in the supercharged monsters too often sold as muffins in the trendiest coffee-houses… And oat-bran too! Too bad I just tossed my starter because I am going away for a few days: I’d try a savory version (skipping the sugar) with Meyer lemon zest and rosemary (with maybe a bit of coarse polenta thrown it).

  7. says

    You could also try substituting sugars with agave syrup, that is good sweetener. Just be sure to add some more flour, to balance dry and wet ingredients. Anyhow, brown sugar is also a way to go.

  8. says

    this is brilliant! I was just reading (‘Is bread making you ill’-daily mail) about how lots of people are allergic to wheat and the way bread products are made today. However sourdough bread made from a starter is actually good for you and doesn’t irritate your digestive system, so finding a sourdough recipe for muffins is wonderful, thank you so much!!

  9. Kim says

    I used Linwood’s ground flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seed & goji berries in the batter.

    No need to add anything of flavor. Savory these lovely little muffins with homemade jam. I loved them w/my rosemary peach jam. yummy!!

  10. says

    It is just what I’ve been looking for, and was about to blog on all the sourdough recipes out there, but I am not very good with math, and this recipe is not in the measurements I’m use to. I don’t suppose you could put the rest of the measurements in parenthesis?

  11. says

    Oh, and this isn’t a true sourdough recipe BTW, as it is given no time to work on the added flours. If you let it sit in the fridge or on the counter overnight it would be a lot healthier. . .but I’m not sure if it would work the same. . .

  12. Heather R. says

    I made these this morning and they are delicious! I cut the recipe in half and used coconut oil instead of olive oil and real milk instead of dry and they came out just right. Thanks for sharing!

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