VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Buttermilk

For this, the third week of VeganMoFo 2011, I am bringing back Flavor Bible Week!  The Flavor Bible is a big book which tells you about ingredients, and lists their flavor affinities.  I’ve scientifically chosen five random pages from the book (by closing my eyes and flipping to whatever page it lands on), and I’ll make a dish with flavor matches for each ingredient.  Last year Flavor Bible Week led to interesting experiments such as Parsnip Spice Muffins, Chestnut-Celeriac Soup, Bean Salad with Herbed Yogurt Dressing, the Lychee-Dori, and Mushroom, Cheddar & Chive Crustless Quiche, which is still one of the best eggy tofu dishes I’ve ever had.

Today I landed on page page 88, buttermilk!  Not a vegan ingredient, but veganizable.  Two of the flavor matches that jumped out at me were dates and brown sugar.  Doesn’t that sound tasty?  I thought bran muffins would be a good platform for these flavors, and found this recipe which fit the bill.

To make vegan buttermilk, you add some acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to soy milk and let it sit for a few minutes.  That’s it!  For a more scientific explanation, check out this article at  Soy milk is really the best non-dairy milk for curdling, but if you can’t or don’t do soy, almond milk is a decent second choice.

Buttermilk-Date Bran Muffins

These muffins are very subtly sweet, and make a great snack or light breakfast.  They have that dense bran muffin crumb without being crumbly or dry.  If you don’t want to use dates, raisins would be great too.  Adapted from

1 scant cup soy milk, unsweetened plain
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs ground flax
3 Tbs warm water
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
2 Tbs plus 1 tsp canola oil
3 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
2. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup then add soy milk to measure 1 cup.  Mix together and let stand a few minutes to curdle.
3. Whisk the flax and warm water together in a small bowl until the mixture starts to gel, and set aside to cool.
4. Once the soy milk has curdled, combine it with the wheat bran and let stand for 10 minutes.
5. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, flax mixture and soy milk/bran mixture.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well.  Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, just until incorporated.  Fold in the dates.
6. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Amount Per Serving (1 muffin)
Calories 185.09
Calories From Fat (19%) 34.31
Total Fat 3.9g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.32g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 257.01mg 11%
Potassium 249.2mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 38.12g 13%
Fiber 5.62g 22%
Sugar 23.37g
Protein 3.28g 7%


  1. FoodFeud said

    I really like this Flavor Bible idea, I think I originally started following you about this time last year when you were MoFoing it. It’s really inventive and clever. I’ve got to pick the book up myself.

  2. Okay. I love this idea. Might have to try the same thing for next week – I adore the book and use it tons anyway!

  3. Those look divine!

  4. Mandee said

    I loved your Flavour Bible posts last year and whenever I’m thinking about what to put with something, I wonder what your book would say!

    These muffins look good and healthy too!

  5. chow vegan said

    I totally remember your Flavor Bible posts from last year, glad to see you’re doing it again this year. I didn’t realize buttermilk was so easy to veganized. The muffins look great! 🙂

  6. jd said

    I love the Flavor Bible idea – way to bring it back! And those muffins look absolutely perfect…

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