Soaked Spelt Berry Muffins

I don’t remember the first time I ate a strawberry. Do you?

Vertical image of baked goods in paper liners topped with crumbles on a wooden board surrounded by fresh fruit, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I wonder if I liked it right away or if it took some time. I feel like I always liked strawberries, but who knows?

I mean, some things take time to warm up to.

For example, I do recall the first time I soaked flour, and it was no strawberry.

For my first soaked whole grain bread experience, I wasn’t sure if I made it correctly, and my inexperience with yeasted dough resulted in a disappointing loaf.

Vertical image of baked goods in a pan topped with a browned streusel.

I could have given up immediately, and vowed from that day forward to never soak whole grain flour ever again! There’s a bit of a learning curve with this technique, so why continue trying to do it?

Because it’s so much easier to digest, and so delicious!

If you’re new to this technique, soaking refers to a do-ahead step of mixing flour with warm water or another liquid and an acidic ingredient like kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, or buttermilk. You then let that mixture stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Vertical image of a streusel-topped muffin in a liner on a wooden board next to fresh fruit and a towel.

The process breaks down the phytates and makes the grains easier for your body to digest. This is good for your health, and improves the texture of your batter as well – the grains become softer while they’re soaking, resulting in a smoother, more tender baked good.

Jumping back into the ring with soaking not as an opponent, but rather as a teammate, I made one of the best recipes for mixed berry muffins, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

My recipe has a soaked spelt flour base, a few simple add-ins, and a handful of juicy blueberries and chopped sweet strawberries.

Vertical top-down image of circular baked goods topped with streusel on a surface scattered with fresh fruit.

I also added not just any crumble topping, but the one from my rhubarb coffee cake with cinnamon and ginger that I couldn’t stop baking all last summer.

While there is a little flour in the topping that is not soaked (and which you can feel free to omit, if you choose), this recipe is still a BIG and DELICIOUS win for soaking whole grains!

The muffins are golden on the outside, and moist and tender on the inside. The berries have a nice tartness, and the lightly spiced crumble on top provides the perfect crunchy finish to each bite.

Vertical image of baked goods in paper liners topped with crumbles on a wooden board surrounded by fresh fruit.

With the very best and juiciest berries, a fun new technique, and the buttery crumble topping, you won’t need any time at all to warm up to this tasty recipe for muffins!

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Horizontal image of baked goods in paper liners topped with crumbles on a wooden board surrounded by fresh fruit.

Soaked Spelt Berry Muffins


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x

Description

Our recipe for soaked spelt flour berry muffins is a great place to start if you want to learn a new baking technique: soaking whole grain flour.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

For the Crumble Topping:

  • 1/8 cup gently packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Instructions

  1. The day before baking, soak the flour. Whisk together the warm water and yogurt, then stir to combine with the spelt flour until a very thick paste forms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or transfer to a container with an airtight lid and let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  3. Make the crumble topping by whisking together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Add the melted butter and mix together with a sturdy spoon or your hands to form large crumbles. Set aside. 
  4. Transfer the soaked flour mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt  to the flour mixture. Mix at medium-high speed until a thoroughly combined homogenous mixture forms, about one minute.
  5. Fill each cup of the prepared muffin pan about 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Evenly divide and scatter the blueberries and chopped strawberry pieces on top of the batter. Evenly divide the crumble mixture on top of the berries.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned and puffy.
  7. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve and enjoy!
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Baked Goods

Keywords: muffin, blueberry, spelt flour, crumble

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Soak the Flour

Horizontal image of a thick and gooey mixture in a red bowl surrounded by fresh fruit and a navy towel.

Make sure you plan ahead for this particular recipe, as this step takes at least 12 hours!

The day before baking, you are going to start by soaking the flour.

Measure the flour into a medium-sized bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the warm water and yogurt. Pour the water and yogurt mixture into the flour, and mix with a sturdy spatula or spoon until a very thick paste forms.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container with a lid. Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

After at least 12 hours have passed, the mixture will lose its stiffness. The texture will be thick yet slightly runny, sticky, and gooey. It may look and feel weird to you, but this is exactly how it should be!

The grains will continue to break down and soften the more you let the mixture rest. But I do not recommend letting it rest for more than 24 hours – the mixture may begin to ferment and sour at this stage.

Step 2 – Make the Crumble Topping

Horizontal image of a prepared streusel in a white bowl next to fresh fruit and a navy towel.

Once the flour has soaked, preheat the oven to 375°F and continue with the remaining steps. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave and let it cool slightly.

Make the crumble topping by whisking together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix together until a crumbly mixture forms. You should be able to press the mixture together with your hands and have it stay together in large, solid clumps.

Set the crumble aside as you prepare the batter.

Step 3 – Prep and Make the Batter

Horizontal image of a light brown batter in a metal bowl.

Place the soaked flour and water mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add the egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt (everything except the berries) to the flour mixture. Mix at medium-high speed until a homogenous mixture forms. The batter will be slightly runny.

Step 4 – Assemble in Pan

Horizontal image of batter topped with fresh pieces of fruit in cups in a pan.

Fill the prepared cups in the muffin pan about 3/4 of the way full with the batter.

Evenly and gently divide the blueberries and chopped strawberries, and scatter them on top of the batter. Evenly divide the crumble mixture and distribute it on top of the berries.

Note: Why should you place the berries on top of the batter, instead of mixing them into the batter? Because this batter tends to be thinner than more traditional muffin batters, there is a risk that all of the berries may sink to the bottom of the cups if they are mixed directly into the batter.

Horizontal image of cups of batter in a pan topped with streusel.

By gently placing the berries on top of the batter rather than mixing them in, the berries will be dispersed more evenly closer to the top and middle of the batter as it bakes and rises.

Step 5 – Bake

Horizontal image of baked muffins topped with streusel in the pan.

Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned and puffy.

Remove immediately from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve and enjoy!

Embrace the Goo – You’ll Warm Up to It

The weird texture of soaked flour is not as uncommon as you may think in baking!

Horizontal image of baked goods in paper liners topped with crumbles on a wooden board surrounded by fresh fruit.

For anyone who is familiar with sourdough starter and discards, you’ll be right at home with the look and feel of soaked flour.

And if you aren’t used to it at first, you’ll soon love it – this thick and gooey mixture holds the key to being able to digest whole grains more easily, with the added bonus of getting a softer and more tender texture in your baked goods.

Have you ever soaked your flour before for any other recipe? What do you think of this method? Leave us a comment – we can’t wait to chat with you!

If you’re looking for more delicious and fluffy muffin recipes with a healthy twist, try out a few of these favorites next:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 16, 2010. Last updated on March 15, 2021. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

19 thoughts on “Soaked Spelt Berry Muffins”

  1. We’ve got a home video of me at two years old, eating vanilla ice cream. My dad asks “What’s on your ice cream, Maddie?” and I say with my mouth full: “Strawberries!” Wish you had video proof of your early berry experiences too. 🙂

    Love the idea of soaking flour. I let whole-grain batters rest before baking, to better absorb the liquid, but overnight soaking is new to me. Smart idea!

    Reply
  2. for some reason i had it in my head that in using spelt flour, soaking would NOT be necessary. this soaking thing really is hard!

    Reply
  3. mmm…muffins. i might make some muffins this weekend with the bananas i threw in my freezer last week. no soaking grains, though. i’m still just warming up to the whole art of baking!

    Reply
  4. So interesting – we’re not familiar with soaking flour but definitely want to give it a try now. These berry muffins look just lovely – perfect for a warm summer morning…!

    Reply
  5. I don’t remember the first time I had strawberries, but I found some nice, fresh ones last Friday, and almost made a meal out of them! LOL.

    Reply
  6. Maddie, My childhood definitely was lacking in the home-video department, and I’m so jealous! Eating strawberries as a two-year-old: so classic. I love it!

    Aw, Kim, you are so sweet. I feel like I’VE been learning so much lately – it’s an adventure for sure.

    Lan, I look at it this way: using spelt is better than all-purpose, soaked or not. So it’s a great, positive step! Soaking ups it another notch, that’s all. One step at a time, friend. PS – buckwheat is a great grain to use if you don’t feel like soaking. Even when really soaked, it only takes 7 hours.

    Jacqui, Ha! First step: like baking. Second step: keep liking baking. : ) You are on your way, my friend!

    Blue-Eyed Bakers, I know, I feel the same away about it – it’s like a whole new world. Try it!

    TJ, Yum! Sounds refreshing!

    Reply
  7. Soaking grains, eh? I’ve never heard of doing that before. Your muffins look quite successful, though, so maybe I should give this whole grain soaking business a try.

    Reply
  8. I am totally trying this. I have yet to soak flour and I just feel like I should really make that a new routine. I just explained it to my dad because he was looking over my shoulder to see what I was reading, and he was dumbfounded. Never heard of it. I love stuff like this! P.S. The blueberry farm is closed until next weekend due to lack of ripening berries in this hot hot HOT weather, soooo… fresh blueberries will have to wait another week.

    Reply
  9. I have never baked with soaked grains. Spelt flour is something I need to try as soon as I get my hands on them.

    Reply
  10. Dana, Thanks and I hope you do!

    JessieV, Blueberries are SO good for you, too!

    Alicia, We’ll have to talk about all these food things when we get together, blueberry-picking or kombucha-baby-giving or whatever. Try this soaking! Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Shaheen, Excellent! Hope you enjoy it!

    Reply
  11. Hi, just wanted to add that I have done a bread recipe for years from James Beard’s Beard on Bread cookbook and it requires you to soak the oatmeal and whole wheat flour but specifies that only if the flour is home-ground whole-wheat flour. So perhaps there’s something in the soaking that is better for the freshly ground grains. Oh, the recipe is William Melville Child’s Health Bread. It is good and one I serve my kids-a moist, whole wheat bread. Congrats, by the way on stepping out on your own. You’re sure to be successful!!

    Reply
  12. I am just reading this… I know, I know… what have I been doing all weekend!? Anyway, I am happy that you soaked the flour. Very cool.

    Reply
  13. Heidi, I’d love to make my own flour at some point and I’d definitely soak it then, but I think I need a mill, right? Wishlist! : ) As far as the soaking – I think it’s especially key in helping the flavors/texture when dealing with home-ground, but it’s nutritionally beneficial with store-bought whole grains, too. I love hearing about bread recipes people have used for years. Thanks for mentioning it!

    Tim, Ha! Good thing you have a good excuse! I am happy I soaked it, too. It’s like a whole new world!

    Reply
  14. Oh, I have almost completely switched over to soaking because it is so much better for digestibilityand absorption of nutrients. It also seems to make baked goods with whole wheat flour more tender, like white flour. Thanks for another recipe to add to the repertoire!

    Reply
  15. Hey Rebecca, That’s awesome to hear – good for you! I am on my way to the same decision, and it’s great to hear of other people’s success. Thanks for the comment!

    Reply

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