Naturally Leavened Muffins

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A few weeks ago I made a double batch of muffins.  I realized as soon as they were in the oven that I’d forgot to add any baking powder or baking soda. Oops.

I expected to end up with stones instead of muffins. I was super surprised to pull beautiful muffins with a terrific rise out of the oven.

Kefir Leavened Muffins

How did this happen? I thought it was due to soaking the batter in kefir. I tested this theory (purposely leaving out the leavening this time) and sure enough. Using kefir as a soaking agent results in a natural leavening.  I had wondered about this in the past but never moved forward with the testing, not wanting to ‘ruin’ a batch of muffins. This information could come in very handy if I ever find myself out of baking powder or baking soda!

I love discovering things like this!

For my basic muffin recipe which is adaptable to ingredients you have on  hand, visit my Design a Muffin post, Design a Sourdough Muffin, or download my Design a Dish eBook (which has several basic formulas).

Have you made wonderful discoveries like this totally by accident? I’d love to hear about it.

This post is shared at Traditional Tuesdays and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at


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  1. Jami

    Isn’t it the best?! I had this same discovery a while back when I was making muffins as well.
    I also had a fun discovery when one time I only had second-fermented lemon flavored kefir (kefir that I put lemon rind into and allowed to do a second ferment after straining) in the fridge and needed some kefir to soak with. I didn’t really think the lemon would come out much. The result was the most amazing lemony quick quick bread. I have yet to do it on purpose though and play with pairings, but I was thinking about adding in some cardamom next time!

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      Hi Jami,
      I’m glad to hear about the flavored kefir. I’ve been wondering how that would work. My already versatile muffins just might be kicked up a notch!

  2. Michaela

    All that fuss about forgetting to buy baking soda & powder & you forgot to use them. That sounds like something *I* would do!!! LOL

    Glad they turned out well. They look delicious!

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      Even funnier, this was before ‘exerience weeks’– I had them actually out on the counter! Granted not in the area I was working but out none the less. Here’s another good one, I once melted butter for muffins and left it on the stove top instead of adding it to the muffins. It’s a wonder any of our dishes turn out.

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  5. bonnie

    hi, millie….i did the same thing recently….well, almost the same thing….beside the baking soda or powder (don’t remember which), i soaked in kefir because i didn’t have any buttermilk. they were the best muffins ever and i need to make them again real soon. thanks for sharing your discovery. i will try them without the soda or powder next time.

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