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.
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.
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 Guess how they originally made english muffins?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.
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).
- 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
- In mixing bowl, warm ½ cup water to 120 degrees and combine with yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
- In small bowl whisk together tapioca starch, rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- 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.
- Cover bowl and set on the counter, not in the fridge, overnight or at least 8 hours.
- Lightly grease and preheat a griddle to 300 degrees. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and have a baking sheet at the ready.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.