So… I was trying to perfect my crumpet recipe (why is it so damn hard to get proper holes like the pre-made ones you get from supermarkets!) and after about a million different attempts and eating far too many crumpets, a happy accident happened: I suddenly made my best gluten free English muffins yet! 😛
I came up with a recipe that I was pretty happy with a few months ago, but to get around the fact that gluten free recipes need more liquid to produce a good texture (and therefore the batter was too runny to mould into little breads), I had decided to bake them first (in a muffin tin) and then grill them on a frying pan.
But I finally got around to buying some crumpet rings so not only is this new version better and even lighter and fluffier in my opinion, but it’s simpler and made the traditional way: in a pan and not in the oven.
And BTW, don’t let the long instructions put you off. It’s easy, I promise! I just like to add a lot of details to make the process clearer. 😉
NOTES / WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- YEAST: there are two types of dry yeast you can use – dry active yeast (which comes in little balls and needs to be dissolved in warm liquid first) and easy bake/instant yeast (that comes in the form of a powder and can be added in directly with the rest of the ingredients). THIS is the one I’m using, by the brand Allinson.
- BAKING POWDER: despite using a self-raising blend, I also added a bit of extra baking powder on top. If using a plain flour blend without any raising agents, then make sure you compensate by adding more baking powder (about 3 teaspoons instead of 1).
- AN ALL PURPOSE FLOUR BLEND: here I’m using Freee Foods self-raising flour as this is what is available to me here in the UK and it always works great in my experience. But of course feel free to use what is available to you where you live. Just make sure it’s an all purpose blend and not a single flour.
- EGG OR CRUMPET RINGS: if you’re in the UK, I got these in Wilko.
- CORNMEAL: this one is optional and your English muffins will taste just as good without, but it does add a lovely toasted outer layer. I used P.A.N. pre-cooked cornmeal.
- 2 tsp dry active yeast (I used Allinson)
- 140g whole milk
- 2 tsp sugar
- 15g butter (melted)
- 200g all purpose gluten free self-raising flour (I used Freee Foods/Doves Farm)
- 1 tsp baking powder (add an extra 2 tsp if using a plain flour blend)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (only if your blend doesn't already contain it, Freee Foods does)
- ¼ tsp salt (add a bit more if using unsalted butter)
- 2 eggs
- *Optional: cornmeal (for that classic toasted cornmeal outer layer - I used P.A.N.)
PREPARE THE YEAST:
- Warm up the milk in the microwave, little by little, in 10 seconds increments (or you can heat it up in a pan on a hob, of course). Dip your finger in to check the temperature, it should be somewhere between lukewarm and hot. You don’t want it to be boiling hot or too cold otherwise the yeast won’t work. Alternatively, you can use a food thermometer and aim for roughly 40C (104F).
- Stir in the sugar until fully dissolved.
- Then add the yeast, stir and let it sit in a warm place for a few minutes. Until it dissolves and bubbles up. Note: don’t skip the sugar. This is what the yeast will react with to create these bubbles and this is what lets you know that your yeast is working. If nothing happens, this means your yeast may be too old or the milk isn’t warm enough.
* On a nice warm sunny day, I like to place the bowl on a window sill directly in the sun. But on cold winter days, you can place it near a heater/radiator or switch on your oven to the lowest setting and place your bowl on or near the opened door.
PREPARE THE BATTER:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and melt in the microwave (about 20 seconds).
- Add the flour, salt, extra baking powder and eggs and mix with a whisk or spatula.
- Add in the frothy yeast mixture and mix until smooth and lump free.
LET THE BATTER REST:
- Wrap your bowl tightly with cling film and let it sit in a warm place for an hour or so. Until it becomes all bubbly and airy. Note: Don’t skip this step as it’s essential for the yeast to do its thing. The recipe won’t work otherwise.
COOK YOUR ENGLISH MUFFINS:
- Place your egg/crumpet rings in a frying pan/skillet and heat up on medium/high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then turn the heat down to low/very low (and give it a bit of time to cool down a little).
- Add some non-stick cooking spray (I use Fry Light olive oil spray) at the bottom and also the sides of your rings. Alternatively you can brush some oil with a pastry brush too.
- Sprinkle some cornmeal at the bottom of each ring. I like to use a sieve for this but it’s not necessary.
- Then add some batter (I like to use an ice cream scoop or ladle instead of pouring, to not destroy all the air bubbles created by the yeast). And don’t fill your rings all the way up.
- Even the tops with a spatula and sprinkle some more cornmeal on top.
- Start your timer and cook for 5-6 minutes without touching or disturbing the rings at all.
- Then take the rings off with some tongs, flip your English muffins and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side. Note: if the rings are stuck, just gently unstick them using a knife.
- Let them cool down on a plate or cooling rack before eating.
- Just some tips: the best way to cut them open is to poke them all around with a fork instead of using a knife + reheat any leftovers in the microwave or oven to soften them up again.
*You can skip the cornmeal outer layer if you can’t be bothered or don’t have any. It’s not necessary, but it does add that lovely classic toasted cornmeal outer layer. 🙂
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 🙂