English Muffins {full of nooks & crannies; gluten free}

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Gluten Free English Muffins!

This was such a fun recipe to create!

Creating great recipes is a powerful cocktail of science, creativity, and luck.  I happen to be a nerd who loves science but in my kid years I was actually quite the little artist, even winning a few national art contests.  Then I grew up and fell in love with science; the artistic side of me shrank away and I kind of missed it.

A wonderful thing happened 6 years ago:  our family went gluten free.  I know many would think I’m nuts for thinking that a daughter & husband diagnosed with celiac plus the discovery of my own gluten intolerance is a positive thing.  Oh, but it was and it is.  Because of that diagnosis we’re healthy now.  My daughter is growing.  My husband no longer has headaches.  I’m no longer itchy.  And I found this amazing marriage of science and art that is called baking and has become my calling.

Gluten Free English Muffins

The recipes on these pages are my art.  No, not the photographs.  I do the best I can with those because I so badly want people to make and enjoy my recipes.  The actual recipes are the art.  Often I know what the final product is but not how to get there – that’s when creativity and science need to blend, and the process will come to me in a flash – a light bulb moment.

That’s how these gluten free english muffins finally came about.  After a few trials of baking hockey pucks an idea struck and I discovered how to achieve the right texture.  I had nooks and crannies!  After all you can’t have a proper english muffin without all the nooks and crannies to hold your butter and jam.

English Muffins {Gluten Free}

They still needed that sourdough taste I remembered.  This is where the science came in.  Guess how they originally made english muffins?  They made the dough at night then left it to rise until the morning.  When dough “over rises” it begins to ferment slightly and you end up with a sourdough taste!!

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting the necessary 8 hours for it to rise and rest.  If you don’t care if your english muffins have that sourdough taste, you can absolutely let the batter rise 30 minutes and then go ahead and cook them.  For authentic taste the overnight rise is essential.

Gluten Free English Muffins

UPDATE: 

There have been questions about shaping the dough.  The dough (batter really) looks impossibly wet and therefore intimidating.  So to help you out I took a quick video the other morning of the process with the help of my 9 year old son (hence the way too close to my face for that early in the morning shot lol).

 

4.3 from 3 reviews
English Muffins {full of nooks & crannies; free of gluten}
 
Author:
Yields/Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅔ cup tapioca starch
  • 1⅓ cup white rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Gluten free cornmeal for handling, shaping, and dusting
Instructions
  1. In mixing bowl, warm ½ cup water to 120 degrees and combine with yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
  2. In small bowl whisk together tapioca starch, rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Gently heat the buttermilk in the microwave just enough to make it lukewarm (if you heat it too much it will curdle and separate). Pour buttermilk and olive oil into yeast. With mixer running on low pour in the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
  4. Cover bowl and set on the counter, not in the fridge, overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. Lightly grease and preheat a griddle to 300 degrees. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and have a baking sheet at the ready.
  6. Pour ½ - 1 cup cornmeal into a pie plate. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out a ball of batter, plop it into the cornmeal, and using your hands cover it completely in cornmeal.
  7. With confidence, scoop the batter glob into your hands. Gently toss it back and forth between your hands, shaping it into a slightly flattened ball. Slide on to the preheated griddle. Do the same with the rest of the batter.
  8. Cook 10-15 minutes until the english muffin is toasted on one side, then flip with a spatula and cook another 10-15 minutes on the other side. The slow cooking is what gives them their nooks and crannies. Once they are toasted on both sides, set them on the baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until done. Mine took 20-30 minutes in the oven but it's going to depend on how done they got on the griddle so your time could be shorter or longer.
  9. Cool completely. Use a fork to split the english muffins. I suggest splitting all the english muffins then storing in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for the most longevity.
Notes
Yield: Approx 8 english muffins

 

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Comments

  1. Karina says

    I made the dough last night and the muffins this morning. My batter was pretty thin, so I was worried about placing these on a griddle. I ended up using the English muffin rings I bought a year ago and a soup ladle to get these on an electric skillet (I put cornmeal in the rings first). After that, it was super easy. I wasn’t able to split with a fork very well. The muffins are a bit starchy in the middle after coming out off the oven. But, the taste… oh my, the taste. These are amazing and completely worth the effort! Even the husband was impressed, declaring these to be great!

    • says

      Yes, the batter is thin but it shouldn’t really “ooze” at all once on the griddle. I was actually thinking of making a short video of going from batter to griddle since it is a bit different then what most people are used to. When you put the batter in the cornmeal and then sort of toss it back and forth between your hands they take on & hold their shape fairly well. Do be sure they are completely cool before trying to fork split them or your fork does get kind of stuck (because of course I couldn’t wait either and tried to eat one right away as well!).

      I’m really happy to know the flavor is right! I thought it was and I got super excited, then my husband tried them and said he wasn’t sure and shook my confidence. He never really ate english muffins even before being GF though unless it was an Egg McMuffin so I think his tastes are off.

      Thanks so much for the comments & I’m glad you and your family enjoyed them!

  2. Karina Cullar says

    After the first time, I’ve made these three more times and cannot get enough. I added a bit more flour and they come out perfect every time. It seems I make these every weekend these days. They freeze really well!

  3. says

    Hi there – thanks so much for all of the work you do for GF recipes! I am also DF (dairy free) wondered if almond milk would work instead of buttermilk (I have come to know that it loses a bit in the taste) – and if that should shorten the rise to the 30 minutes instead of overnight because it won’t “sour” like the buttermilk???

    • says

      You definitely could shorten the rise to 30 mins. If you’re looking for that sour dough taste I think it’s possible you’d achieve it with almond milk. It’s not really the buttermilk souring but more like creating a sour dough starter that happens with the overnight rise.

  4. says

    Thank you for all the hard work! Trying it for the first time..I mixed the first four ingredients, yeast, sugar, water, tapioca flour & covered loosely with saran wrap & left on the counter. This morning, it smelled like sourdough starter! Just now put the rest of the ingredients. Can hardly wait to try it.

    • says

      I hope you like them! I’ve been making them every few weeks – they keep pretty well in the fridge as long as you pre-slice them first as they do get a bit crumbly after the first few days.

      Also, you said the 1st four ingredients…but you mean the yeast, sugar, water, and the flour mix right? Just want to make sure you didn’t forget the other ingredients!

  5. Ruby Hylton says

    I like the flour you have used. Can you forgo the griddle and just bake them in the rings?

    Thank you for your site.

    Ruby

    • says

      Ruby, I’ve never tried it myself but someone did tell me that they used the rings and it worked for them so it’s certainly worth a try. The only thing I wonder is if you’ll get all the nooks & crannies as I’ve read the slow cooking on the griddle is what helps them develop. I’d love to hear how it works for you if you decide to do it that way!

    • says

      I did that (I don’t have a temperature controlled griddle at this time) and they came out bubbled up but hollow and gummy in the middle, sort of brownish looking and greasy.
      They smelled good baking but then they had that rice flour smell to them afterwards and I very much dislike the taste of most rice flour bread products. They were so bad that I had to toss them. Hate wasting food:( Had high hopes for these but will go back to the 90 second nuked individual almond flour ones* that come out good every time. Hoping I can come up with a way to make several at once – they are also low-carb which is what we prefer.
      *http://carrotsncake.com/2012/11/microwavable-english-muffin.html

      • says

        They are definitely brownish in color because of the flours used so that’s totally normal. However the greasy/gummy affect must be from being baked without being cooked on the griddle first. I’ve heard others say they don’t have a griddle either so I’ve been working on creating an oven-only recipe. In the meantime I did find some success using my iron skillet on low heat. Sorry the rings/baking method didn’t work out for you! Nothing drives me crazier than spending all that time and then having to waste all those $$ GF ingredients.

        • says

          Thanks – will watch for the new oven-only recipe – and hint for a new griddle here;)
          Thought about using the iron skillet but was too lazy:) AND figured I would never get the temp right.

  6. Sheri E. says

    I was excited to make these and finally did it yesterday. Mine came out more like thick pancakes. My yeast may not have been fresh enough and I may have overheated the buttermilk. Those were 2 things as I was making them that I was concerned about. They do have good flavor from the bite I tried. They are too flat to cut in half so I may try toasting them tomorrow morning and making my egg mcmuffin on top. I will try again!

    • says

      It sounds like the yeast was probably your problem, unless the buttermilk was so hot that it killed the yeast. I have no patience so that’s why I heat the buttermilk straight from the fridge but you could also just set it out and let it get to room temperature first.

      Also I’m working on getting a video up of the “scooping & shaping” process because some people were having a problem with it. I think once there’s a visual it’ll make more sense but that may help you as well.

  7. Sara says

    These look fantastic! Do you think this recipe could be made with brown rice flower instead of white? I’m gluten and white starch free? Thanks!

  8. Adriana Gutierrez says

    Oooooh! How I miss homemade English muffins. These look good!

    The video was immensely useful! I’m curious whether kefir or yogurt might be good substitutes for the buttermilk?

  9. Adriana says

    I am curious whether in all of your experimenting you have tried rolling out your sandwich/hamburger bun dough, cutting it in rounds and cooking it on the griddle English Muffin style?

    • says

      I don’t think you’d get the sour dough taste and I also think you’d need to add some flour because it’s too wet to roll out. It could be worth a try to not roll it out but do it in the style I do with the english muffin recipe by dropping it in cornmeal.

  10. Lindsay Jo says

    My first batch came out a goopy mess! … Take two: I used brown rice flour and made my own soured almond milk (vinegar + milk in place of buttermilk) I only used 1 cup (rather than 1 1/2). I cooked on griddle full time and in oven full time … They turned out marvelous!!!

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

    • Nicole says

      Tell me more about making sour almond milk? How much vinegar did you use and how long does it take to sour? Do y think it would work with an Almond/Coconut Milk blend? I have a dairy allergy and am about to go gluten free so I’m trying to start planning my gluten free substitutes for my favorite foods.

  11. Laura says

    Rachel – when you covered your batter, did you simply cover it with a tea-towel, or did you wrap it in plastic wrap for the night?

    Thanks!

  12. Shari Reinders says

    I made the muffins using muffin rings on the griddle. I covered the griddle with a large cookie sheet held above the rings by 2 empty pineapple cans , one at each end of the griddle. I checked the muffins at 10 minutes, and they were dark golden brown. I flipped them over and cooked them another 8 minutes. They were done! I didn’t need to bake them in the oven ! It was near torture waiting that 30 minutes to test them! I couldn’t folk split them, but they cut very nicely with a serrated knife. I toasted one and it was delicious !

  13. Shelley says

    These are absolutely amazing! I should have made a double batch. I didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I used 3/4 cup sour cream thinned with 1/4 cup water. That must’ve firmed up the batter a little bit. I had no troubles working with it. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    I want to rate this a five, but the fifth star won’t fill-in. :(

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