Blueberry-Barley Muffins

Last Updated on April 3, 2014 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

My name is Jennifer and I have a muffin problem.

When Adarsh (hubby/designer/business manager/taste-tester extraordinaire) gave Foodess a facelift last year, we carried on a long discussion about what we both envisioned for this space. For example, he agreed with my decision to really turn the focus to photography, opting for quality rather than quantity if necessary in terms of how many posts I could crank out.

We agreed on that, and all other points, except one: he specifically requested NO MORE MUFFINS.

Okay, so maybe I went through a muffin-heavy phase. Or maybe he was just sick of eating them, hmm…

In any case, I just can’t stop. They’re perfect grab-and-go breakfast food, they freeze beautifully meaning I can have a few kinds at the ready, and little peanut bolts them down like they’re going out of style.

Because of my tiny double-fisting muffin-muncher, I make a concerted effort to incorporate healthier ingredients. Like the rolled barley flakes and whole wheat flour in these.

Yes to whole grains but also yes to butter and sugar; I like my health food to taste good, too. They aren’t overly sweet, however. Definitely not cupcakes in disguise, like some.

This recipe makes a double batch – 24 muffins. I let them cool completely then pack them into large freezer bags. Microwave about 20 seconds right-side-up and 20 seconds upside-down and they’ll be heated through and taste freshly baked.

Be sure to hone your proper flour-measuring skills – first you fluff the flour up in the bag using a fork, then you take a soup spoon and gently spoon it into the measuring cup, overfilling it then levelling it off with a knife. It’s an extra bit of work, but when measuring this much flour, simply scooping from the bag means you’ll wind up with too much (it packs), and dry muffins will be the result.

Or better yet, weigh it.


  • 2 cups rolled barley flakes + more for topping, if desired (you may substitute oats or any other rolled grain)
  • 1 2/3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups (17 oz, 454 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the barley flakes and buttermilk in a medium bowl and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Line two muffin tins with paper liners, or grease well.
  3. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract into the barley-buttermilk mixture; whisk with a fork until well blended.
  4. With a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, scrape the barley-buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. With a light touch, fold everything together until just a few floury streaks remain, then fold in the blueberries. Divide batter between muffin tins and sprinkle with a few more barley flakes (if desired); bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and springy.
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