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A few years ago I shared my basic muffin formula.  This is an adaptation from the muffin formula in The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. I changed the original formula to allow for soaking the grains (in order to reduce the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients).  I expanded on the details of this basic muffin formula in my eBook Design a Dish.

On week 1 of the Thrifty Food Plan experience I did not have the money to buy any baking soda or baking powder. I actually didn’t realize that little fact until I already had muffin batter soaking! I decided to add sourdough starter to the batter that had been soaking about an hour.  I have to admit I was a bit flustered by my predicament and completely forgot that the GNOWFGLINS Sourdough eCourse had a sourdough muffin lesson.  Instead, I winged it.

Using the basic muffin recipe is great but  the ‘additions’ is what makes the muffin something other than a plain muffin (I have made plain muffins also with no additions and those good too). The addition could be a ‘dry’ addition such as nuts, sunflower seed, raisin, or coconut. Or it could be a ‘moist’ addition like blueberries, chopped or shredded apple, chopped pear, shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, etc. Or a ‘wet’ addition like pumpkin, applesauce, or mashed banana.

With this basic recipe I am able to use up whatever items I have on hand or can acquire at a reasonable price. For this experience week, I was a bit limited on what my additions could be.  I ended up making sourdough muffins twice during the week. The first time I added the zest of one lemon, the juice from half of that lemon and 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger. They were delicious.  The second time I made more of a
‘dessert’ muffin by adding chopped up pieces of an orange (about half an orange) and half of a bar of 100% dark chocolate cut in very small chunks.  That one was for serious chocolate lovers only but was quite popular with my girls and Joe (Christopher, age 3, spit out his chocolate pieces with amazing force).  If you make the chocolate version, I’d recommend making a double batch of the muffins for a half bar of chocolate.
These muffins are extremely adaptable and this sourdough version is completely naturally leavened (no additional leavening agent except for the sourdough). While these did have a little bit less rise than baking powder muffins, they more than made up for that with extreme moistness.
I rarely make a single batch of muffins. I find it easier to make a double batch so we have muffins for a few days. A single batch would be gone in minutes with my group!

Basic Sourdough Muffin Formula(makes 1 dozen plus or minus)

2 to 2 ½ cups grain ( I usually use half whole wheat and half old fashioned oats)

1 cup water or milk

1/3 cup sourdough starter


Combine your grain(s) with your liquid and sourdough starter. Cover with a cloth and let sit at room temperature for 7 hours or overnight.


After your soaking time has completed add and mix well;


Up to ¼ cup fat

1 egg


In a separate bowl, combine;

Up to ½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

Up to 1 ½ cups “dry additions”


Combine the 2 bowls until mixed. Add in any moist or wet additions.


Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-25 minutes. Your baking time may vary depending on how wet your batter is to start out and your altitude.

I have to admit, I’m excited to have this new method. I would not have tried leavening with only sourdough if I wouldn’t have been ‘forced’ into it by the Thrifty Food Plan experience.  I have another muffin method variation that I’ll share soon that resulted from a total lack of paying attention on my part.  Another wonderful surprise! We eat alot of muffins around here (they make a great breakfast or snack) so it is great to have so many options.

What is your families favorite snack food?



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