The “nooks and crannies” are critical to English muffins.
English muffins have always been a favorite bread to serve with scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast. My favorite brunch dish, Eggs Benedict, also requires English muffins. But, I normally wouldn’t try to make the muffins at home, although I did once years ago.
Lately I’ve craved them and all of their “nooks and crannies” but have yet to find gluten-free English muffins in the store.
With Eggs Benedict on my wish list of recipes to prepare, I decided it was time to master making gluten-free English muffins, a real treat and a real feat.
While not that difficult to make, they are a little time consuming and, in the end, well worth the effort.
Gluten-free English muffins 12 to 14 servings
Special items you’ll need to make these muffins are a 10-inch cast iron skillet and 3-½ inch biscuit/cookie cutters. At specialty stores, English muffin tins are available but not necessary.
1-2/3 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of yeast
3-½ cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour*
½ cup of powdered milk
3-½ teaspoons of xantham gum
2 teaspoons of salt
1 extra large egg
¾ cup of liquid egg whites
¼ cup of melted butter (but cooled)
1 cup of all-purpose gluten-free flour (for kneading)
1 cup corn meal
Measure all of the ingredients and bring the egg whites and egg to room temperature. Generally 30 minutes out of the refrigerator will do this.
Then “proof” your yeast to make sure it is still active. To do this, heat the milk so it feels warm — but not hot — to your finger, either in a saucepan or the microwave. The temperature should be about 110°. (If the temperature is too hot, it will kill the yeast). Stir in the honey and then the yeast. Let this stand for 5 to 15 minutes. If it foams, this means the yeast is active and your bread will rise.
While the yeast proofs, place your measured dry ingredients in the mixing stand bowl and stir with a whisk until blended.
Using the paddle attachment and the mixer on its lowest speed, add the egg, egg whites and butter to the flour mixture. Then slowly add the milk. (Be careful not to add too much milk at once or it will splash all over.) It will begin to look somewhat like oatmeal.
Once mixed, turn the speed to high and beat for three minutes. Now it will look like a heavy cake batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let it sit for an hour or until the dough rises by a couple of inches. The dough will rise more quickly if the room is 75° or warmer.
Once the dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly-floured work surface and sprinkle with flour. It will be quite sticky so be sure to have a scraper to help fold the dough over. To handle the dough, you’ll also need to continue to lightly sprinkle with flour. Form a ball and then divide into two equal pieces.
Roll out one of the pieces of dough to measure ¾-inch thick. Using a 3-½ inch biscuit cutter or English muffin mold, cut muffins and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with corn meal.
Pre-heat the oven to 375°, and on the stove heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet until very hot (medium high heat). Be sure the cornmeal is on both the muffins’ tops and bottoms and then place in the skillet. (Depending on the size of you pan, four will cook comfortably.) Reduce the temperature to medium and every minute or so rotate the biscuit so they will brown evenly. You’ll notice that the muffins will rise as they cook. After five to seven minutes and nicely browned flip the muffins and brown the second side.
Transfer the muffins to a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Once done remove and place the muffins on a rack to cool. When ready to serve, fork split the muffins, place on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown.
* The blend of flours I use for bread:
1-¼ cups of sorghum flour
1-¼ cups of white rice flour
1 cup of potato starch (not flour)
1 cup of sweet rice flour