While visiting our children in the U.S. recently, we found ourselves drooling in the stores looking at English muffins. We didn’t miss them so much while we were living in France : out of sight, out of mind. But there, the temptation was strong, so I resolved to find a new recipe for gluten-free English muffins. I say new, because I already had one, but it involved the microwave and I could only make two muffins at a time. Anyway, after searching, trying and testing, I am very happy to say I can now make delicious English muffins that we can both safely eat. I have made them regularly since September, often two batches at a time so that I can stock up in my freezer ! The muffins came in very handy when we had to wait at the airport for our flight back, in the form of sandwiches : toasted, with mashed avocado spread on each slice, and filled with real Parma prosciutto, which I was very excited to find at Trader Joe’s ! Only ingredients : organic pork and sea salt ; look for the little Parma crown logo:
Besides the obvious breakfast use, you can also eat them as a healthy treat, toasting the two halves, spreading cashew / almond / peanut butter, and squeezing banana slices in between. This particular snack was most appreciated by my daughter on one of her dreaded busy Wednesdays (with college classes starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 8:50 p.m. ! )
I am giving you two versions, one with buckwheat flour (my personal favorite), the other with sorghum and coconut flour (my Significant Other’s). However, you need to know that the dough for the second version will not behave the same if you do not have dishes to bake it in. The sorghum/coconut version tends to spread out rather than rise up ^^. The muffins come out flatter, but still very good.
Ingredients (makes 6 English muffins)
– 125 ml / ½ cup non-dairy milk (if you can have dairy go ahead) + 250 ml / 1 cup water
– 1 tsp unrefined cane sugar (I use light brown cane sugar)
– 2 ½ tsp dry active yeast
– 160 g / 5.6oz rice flour
– 80 g / 2.8oz buckwheat flour OR 60 g / 2.1oz sorghum flour + 20 g / 0.7oz coconut flour
– 80 g / 2.8oz tapioca starch, sometimes labeled “tapioca flour” (some people have problems with starches; we don’t. If you test this recipe without let me know how you substituted for it and how it came out).
– 2 tsp xantham / guar gum or ground psyllium husk
– ½ tsp sea salt, without any additives
It also helps if you have English muffin rings or the kind of earthenware dishes shown below in my photo, especially for the sorghum and coconut flour English muffins:
1. Slightly warm up the liquids with the tsp sugar, just so that the sugar will dissolve. You want your liquid lukewarm, not hot, or it will kill the yeast. Pour some of the liquid over the yeast in a small bowl and watch it slowly become bubbly and foamy. I always get a kick out of that!
2. Meanwhile, weigh and mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. I do not trust measuring cups when it comes to baking, which is why I always give the quantities in grams. Remember, baking is chemistry!
3. Make a well, add the activated yeast and start stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually adding the remaining liquid. The dough will feel very soft and even sticky, actually more like a batter than a dough; do not expect it to look or feel like gluten-full dough. When new to gluten-free baking, this is always baffling, but trust me, adding more flour will do more harm than good.
4. Let the dough / batter rise, covered (I use an oiled plastic film to prevent sticking), in a warm place, about an hour. The dough will almost double in size.
5. Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F. In the meantime, grease your baking dishes or rings if you have them; otherwise, grease a sheet of parchment paper and place it on a baking sheet.
6. With WET hands (keep a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in before shaping each muffin), scoop out one sixth of the batter*, place inside your muffin rings / earthenware dishes or just onto the parchment paper, and shape as best as you can. Drawing a gentle circular motion with the flat of a wet hand will allow the top to be even. Let rise again another 10 minutes.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from dishes / rings / baking tray and cool on a rack. At this point, the crust might feel hard, but relax! It softens as it cools down. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Wait till the muffins are cold before you slice them in half and toast them.
*NOTE: I confess that I am very bad at dividing my dough exactly into 6 portions. that’s how I sometimes end up with 5 super-size muffins instead of 6 regular ones!