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Ask The Experts...

Ask the Experts...About Baking with Bran

Q: Is it possible to boost the fiber content of my products with added wheat or oat bran? Will they become too dry?

Dear Baker: Home baking is a great way to boost the fiber in the baked products you enjoy by using whole-grain flour or bran.

Since bran comprises about 14.5 percent of whole-wheat flour, if you're adding bran to a baked good, consider starting by adding about 2 tablespoons to the bottom of the dry measuring cup before you measure each cup of all-purpose or bread flour.

You may find you prefer to measure the bran separately and presoak it in an equal amount of additional milk or water. Bran is very hydroscopic (loves to absorb water) and may dry your batter if used in too great an amount or without presoaking.

For example: Bran may be added to pancakes or waffles made from a recipe or mix. Soak 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup bran or bran cereal per cup of mix in an equal measure of milk. When the milk is absorbed, gently stir the bran into the batter.

More is not better. Bran is not flour, so it doesn't provide gluten. In fact, in too great an amount it will cut the gluten you're trying to form and produce a heavy loaf.