Gluten Free English Muffins

One of my favorite breakfast foods is a toasted English muffin smeared with butter. In fact, it was an English muffin that alerted me to my gluten sensitivity.  For months, a good ol’ English muffin was one of the few foods I craved after going gluten free. 

Let me tell you, I’ve tried every gluten free English muffin I’ve come across. Some were light, but oddly spongy. Others felt like hockey pucks, and tasted about the same. The closest I’ve come were good, but a little too heavy for my taste. How hard could it be to get that light texture but still have a little bit of body too? Oh yeah, and don’t forget they needed to taste good!

I tried making English muffins in my distant wheat-filled past, and it was a disaster. I thought I’d never make English muffins again, let alone gluten free English muffins.

Well, I’ve changed my mind. After a bit of tweaking and making them nearly every week for several months, I can’t imagine not making these gluten free English muffins. They’re pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. They’re sweet, have a great crumb, and could be even better than the real thing.
Got caught with sneaking English muffins!

You’ll need a baking sheet, parchment paper, English muffin rings, a mixing bowl, whisk, spatula, and a couple of bowls.

Don’t have English muffin rings? Neither do I.  Some people use pineapple cans with the top and the bottom cut out. Don’t eat canned pineapple? Me either. I imagine that tuna cans would also do the trick, but I don’t have that much tuna in my house, and I don’t even want to think about English muffins that taste like tuna.

English muffin rings at a local cooking store cost about $30 for a pack of four. This recipe makes eight. Plus, those rings are quite shallow. I prefer an English muffin with a bit more rise.

Here’s what I do:
Take a regular old piece of aluminum foil, about eight inches wide. Fold a couple of times, then shape into a circle, folding the foil over itself to hold its shape. It won’t be gorgeous, but it’ll do the job.

Notes: You can substitute other flours as you wish. Before switching to teff flour, I used quinoa flour, and the muffins were absolutely delicious that way too. However, be sure to substitute by weight instead of volume. You’ll also want to substitute starches for starch, light flours for light flours, and so on. If you’re not familiar with how to do that, here’s a good place to start. Or here.

If you can’t handle dairy at all, shortening or oil will work just fine instead of the butter. You can substitute nut, rice, or soy milk for the dairy milk, but be aware that it might affect how the muffins rise.

Gluten Free English Muffins

1 cup sorghum flour (127 g)
1 cup potato starch (170 g)
1/2 cup teff flour (60 g)
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons psyllium husks
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup water, heated
1/4 cup milk, heated
1 pinch of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Turn your oven on for a few minutes to warm it, then turn it off. Grease 8 English muffin rings and place them on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle cornmeal inside the English muffin rings.

Whisk together the flours, flaxseed meal, psyllium husks, brown sugar, and salt.

Proof the yeast: Mix the warm water, milk, butter, and pinch of sugar. Use a thermometer to make sure the liquid is between 110-115° F before adding the yeast.

Once the liquid is between 110-115° F, stir in the yeast and let the yeast proof for 2-3 minutes.

Add the liquid containing the yeast to the dry ingredients and mix. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.  The dough should be more like a thick muffin batter than a bread dough. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of warm water (or honey). Let the dough rest for a few minutes.

Spoon the dough into the eight English muffin rings. Using wet fingers, smooth out the tops of the dough. Place the baking sheet into the warm oven and allow the dough to rise. Check after 30 minutes. The dough should double in height.

Remove the dough from the oven, and preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake in the center of the 350° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until firm and slightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.  When cool, split with a fork.

Makes 8 English muffins. Keeps a week or two in the fridge, longer in the freezer.

These taste best toasted with a little bit of butter or jam. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

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