Unlike sourdough bread, Sourdough Blueberry Muffins are super simple and quick to make. The sourdough is actually sourdough discard, and a fabulous way to use it up! These muffins have a tender crumb and boast tremendous flavor from lemon zest, vanilla extract and sweet blueberries. The discard in these sourdough discard muffins keeps the muffins soft and tender while adding the perfect tang.
Tips for Making Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
I have three tips for making these muffins. While each tip is optional, I highly recommend following all three of them for the best sourdough muffins.
1. Allow the Dairy to Get to Room Temperature
I have developed a super easy schedule to make these Sourdough Blueberry Muffins: Weigh out the sourdough discard and sour cream into a medium mixing bowl (and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or any other cover) and remove the eggs from the refrigerator before sitting down (or going out) for dinner. Mix the batter 1 to 3 hours later. With the dairy at room temperature, the batter comes together really quickly. Just be sure to allow the melted butter to cool to room temperature before you mix it in with the rest of the wet ingredients.
2. Refrigerate the Batter
This is a step I have been doing for over 20 years now. I first started doing it when I was hosting brunches. It just made my life much easier to get the batter mixed the night before brunch so I had one less thing to do in the morning. There are a few other advantages to refrigerating the batter:
- The muffins tend to rise more when the batter goes into the oven cold.
- The overnight chill also allows the flour to absorb the moisture without developing the gluten, while allowing the flavors to deepen.
- Once chilled, the batter is much thicker, which means that the thick batter will hold the blueberries in place while they bake instead of them falling to the bottom of the muffin.
Refrigerating the batter works very well with this recipe. It should work with any muffin recipe, provided that there is no baking soda in the recipe. Baking soda, like baking powder, is a chemical leavener. Unlike baking powder, when baking soda first interacts with an acid (this recipe is loaded with acid in the lemon, sourdough discard and sour cream), it reacts immediately. Baking powder, on the other hand, is what we call double acting, meaning that there is a small reaction on first contact with the acids in the recipe, but there is a greater reaction when heat is applied in the oven. These muffins rise due to the baking powder becoming activated in the hot oven.
3. Spread Some Batter on the Bottom of Each Tin
I picked up this genius tip from Handle the Heat. In the morning, spread about ½ to 1 Tablespoon of the chilled batter on the bottom of each muffin tin (or paper). A metal spatula or bottom of a spoon works great for this. If using paper cups, you can take the paper out of the pan to spread the thin layer of batter on the bottom. Then, gently mix in the blueberries to the rest of the batter and load up the tins with the batter. The small layer of batter without blueberries on the bottom will prevent any blueberry soggy bottoms. Such a great idea!
How to Make Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
Discard blueberry muffins take about 10 minutes to whip together, but it is helpful to have a better understanding of the process.
First, let’s talk ingredients.
As explained above, this recipe uses only baking powder and no baking soda. Do not substitute baking soda in this recipe, especially when refrigerating the batter for any period of time. The cornstarch makes the muffin batter slightly softer and lighter.
These muffins boast big flavor because, in addition to the zest of 1 lemon, there is 1 Tablespoon (yes, you read that correctly) of vanilla extract AND 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. The vanilla is a wonderful contrast to the tang of the sourdough and the sour of the lemon. The sour cream contributes both to the tang and to the moistness of the tender crumb of the muffin.
Tips for the Method of Making Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
- Using your fingertips, massage the lemon zest into the sugar. This helps release the oils from the zest, giving a stronger lemon flavor. Whisk all the remaining dry ingredients into the sugar/zest.
- Use the same whisk from the dry ingredients to whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Make sure the melted butter has cooled a bit so it does not cook the eggs.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula or spoon just until there is barely any flour still showing. With muffins, we want to avoid overmixing the batter so that we do not develop the gluten. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Miix up the crumb topping and store it in airtight container in the refrigerator. I love this crumb topping and use versions of it in my Blueberry Lemon Crumb Babka and my Blueberry Hamantaschen.
- In the morning, line your muffin tins with paper, if using. Spread about ½ to 1 Tablespoon of the chilled batter on the bottom of each muffin tin (or paper). A metal spatula or bottom of a spoon is great for this. Then mix in the blueberries to the rest of the batter. Just give it a few swirls to avoid coloring the batter blue. Use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop to evenly divide the batter into the 12 tins. Each tin should be filled to the top — no need to spread the batter or anything. Mounds are perfect here.
- Top each muffin with the crumb topping. Alternatively, and if you are looking for a sweeter contrast, you can simply top each muffin with 1 teaspoon of granulated or Demerara sugar. Bake, cool slightly, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
Do I have to refrigerate sourdough blueberry muffins before baking?
No, but you will get the best results by refrigerating the muffin batter before baking. In particular, the muffins will rise more and the blueberries are less likely to sink while baking.
Do all the ingredients need to be at room temperature to mix the batter?
No, but the liquid ingredients will mix together much easier if they are all at room temperature.
Should I use fresh or frozen blueberries?
You can use either. I tend to use frozen (especially when it is not blueberry season) because they are almost always perfectly sweet, being picked and frozen at their ripest.
Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
- 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 240 grams all purpose flour (2 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 113 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled (½ cup or 8 Tablespoons)
- 113 grams sourdough discard, at room temperature (½ cup)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 180 grams sour cream, at room temperature (¾ cup)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1½ cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 56 grams all purpose flour (½ cup less 2 teaspoons)
- 36 grams confectioner’s sugar (⅓ cup)
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 26 grams unsalted butter, melted (2 Tablespoons)
- Muffin batter. In a large mixing bowl, using your fingertips, press the lemon zest into the sugar. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together (use the whisk from the dry ingredients) the sourdough discard, sour cream, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and lemon juice.
- With a rubber spatula or spoon, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until there is barely any flour still visible. Do not overmix.
- Cover and refrigerate at least a couple of hours or overnight.
- Crumbs. Combine all ingredients and mix with a fork, just until crumbs are formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Line 12 muffin tins with papers or grease the tins with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Spread approximately 1 Tablespoon of the cold muffin batter on the bottoms of each paper or muffin tin. Mix the blueberries into the rest of the batter, being careful not to overmix. Fill the muffin tins with equal amounts of the cold batter. Sprinkle the tops with the crumbs.
- Bake for 23-27 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- You can make these muffins without the refrigeration time, but keep in mind that they may not rise quite as much and you may want to dust the blueberries in about 1 Tablespoon of flour to help avoid them from sinking as they bake. (When chilled, the batter holds the blueberries in place so they do not sink.)
- Instead of making the lemon crumb, you can simply top each muffin with 1 teaspoon of granulated or Demerara sugar just before baking.
- Muffins are best eaten within a few hours of when baked. They freeze beautifully. To defrost, wrap completely in aluminum foil and place in oven. Turn oven on to 350° F. Within 5-10 minutes after the oven reaches 350° F the muffins should be defrosted and warm.