I don’t remember the first time I ate a strawberry. Do you?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!Print
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.
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
- 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.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned and puffy.
- 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!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: muffin, blueberry, spelt flour, crumble
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Soak the Flour
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.