I love English muffins. Love them love them love them. Without gluten in my kitchen, I have a heck of a time trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast that’s not garbage, 97% sugar, and not leftovers from the night before (which I will eat for lunch, more often than not. Who wants to eat the same food for three consecutive meals? Yes, a real first world problem, I realize).
I was looking for a good breakfast food and came across three consecutive mentions of English muffins on the internet, one of which was gluten free. So I decided to find a starting point and tweak from there. I made the Better Batter recipe, using a Better Batter cheat recipe and found out the hard way that I need to make a sweeping generalization: There is too much stinking xanthan gum in most gluten-free recipes which is what makes them gummy, heavy, without air pockets, and generally ucky (to be particularly eloquent).
So I made a second round, tweaking the flours (you can substitute 3 1/2-4 cups of your favorite flour mix), the xanthan gum and realizing that I only had 4 English muffin rings for a recipe that makes about a dozen English muffins. They were light, non-gummy, toasted really nicely (well, would have toasted better if I had, um, a toaster. But the broiler worked fairly well) and took a lovely pat of butter making my eyes roll around in my head when I ate it (the butter and the muffin).
Gluten-free English Muffins, heather-style
2 1/4 tsp (or 1 packet) dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 cup milk (dairy or non, or water if you wish), warmed to about 110 degrees
1 cup warm buttermilk (or 1 cup milk/milk substitute, plus 1 T vinegar)
5 T shortening (I use Spectrum, non-hydrogenated palm shortening)
1 1/3 cups rice flour or sorghum flour
1 cup, plus 2T millet or amaranth flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2/3 cup potato starch
(or substitute 4 cups of your favorite flour blend)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milks, and set aside to proof for 5-7 minutes until frothing and bubbly. While the yeast is proofing, blend the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a sifter or a whisk. Cut the shortening into the mixed dry ingredients with a pastry blender, two knives, or rub it in with your hands until well-blended. When the yeast is well-proofed, add it into the flour mix, and mix for 2-3 minutes, until fully incorporated.
Spray and flour the inside of your English muffin rings ($5 for 4 at Sur la Table) or empty tuna cans with the top and the bottom removed, washed, labels removed. PLace them on a baking sheet on a piece of parchment paper, lightly sprinkled with flour. Evenly fill the rings about 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. Without the extra xanthan gum, the batter is sticky instead of dough-like. Welcome to the world of gluten-free batter. If you don’t have rings, or if you only have a few, you can either free form themm, or form them in the rings, and remove them, but they will spread and become more crumpet-shaped. Let the English muffins rise for 45 minutes in a warm place (I usually set the oven at about 100-115 degrees and let them rise in there).
When they’ve risen and are a bit puffy on top, bake them in a 350 degree oven for 18-25 minutes. Or until light golden brown, whichever. Set the muffins on a rack to cool. Remove the muffins from the rings. You may need to run around the inside of the ring with a thin knife, to release them. Split the english muffins with a fork to take advantage of those patented nooks and crannies. Freeze everything you won’t eat now, to thaw and toast later. Spread with butter or jam or both or honey or, you get the idea.