Sunday, June 15, 2014

Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free English Muffins

These gluten-free English muffins, made with a wild yeast starter,  have a nice sour tang. They are full of “nooks and crannies” and have a wonderful crumb.  They will hold your favorite toppings.  My favorite topping is cream cheese. The muffin is delicious as a breakfast egg muffin with bacon and cheese.  They are also good toasted with cheddar cheese.  I found them to be wonderful with lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon and Boar's Head bologna. (The bologna is gluten free). These split gluten-free English muffins make a quick base for a mini pizza.

The best part of the these English muffins - they don't cause a blood sugar spike.  Read here about other reasons to eat sourdough.  I converted my original English muffins into sourdough English Muffins. The recipe techniques I used in making English muffins came from Alton Brown.

This site helped me experiment to find the best proportions of sourdough starter and the gluten-free flour blend.  Though the recipe on the site used one gluten-free flour, I decided to use a flour blend because the starches in a blend help make a better crumb. Also, I find the wild yeast perform better with some starch. I added the flaxseed meal and the Seed Dust with psyllium to make the English muffins more nutritious.  The hydrocolloids help the bread crumb and help bind the ingredients.

There are quite a few discussions about using the hydrocolloids - chia, flaxseed and psyllium.  Some research indicates that they are good substitutes for gums.  Other research concludes the gums are much better in trapping the carbon dioxide for making bread rise.

The dough to make the sponge is slightly thick and stiff.  Whisk lots of air into the
batter to help the wild yeast and lactobacilli complete their symbiotic relationship.
The dough is too stiff to use a hand wire whisk.The Danish dough whisk does the 
job perfectly.This job can also be done with a stand mixer with the wire whisk 

It takes 7-12 hours to form a sponge.  I let the dough rise 10 hours.  The wild yeast were doing their thing; the starches were being predigested by the bacteria and forming probiotics.  The yeast was busy making carbon dioxide for the rising.  Enzymes were cleaving the proteins into amino acids.  I would have waited 12 hours but I wanted to bake the muffins before going to bed. The sourdough batter had a very nice sponge so I thought the dough might be ready.  Read here about the interesting science of sourdough.

These English muffins can be baked using the oven technique; they will have a dome. They can also be cooked in the traditional way, a griddle, and then they need to be placed in the oven to make sure they cook thoroughly without the top and bottom getting too dark. I personally like using my electric skillet -- so easy!  I can't seem to control the baking process in a griddle.  I do bake them for 10 minutes in the oven.  I test for doneness with an instant thermometer which should read about 205℉.

Sourdough English Muffins Baking in a Skillet After Being Flipped.

In the above picture, the English muffins cooking in the four corners are formed with purchased muffin rings.  The ring in the middle is from a set I made from aluminum foil.  The instructions for making muffin rings are here.  My handmade English muffin rings have lasted for a year. I wash both set of rings and dry them in a warm oven to make sure they do not rust.  I have several handmade rings that are a little larger.  They are used to make English muffin bases for pizza.  It will make two pizzas when split with a fork.  I store the handmade rings, folded in a small plastic container. I store the purchased rings in the original box so they don't dent.

Sourdough with wild yeast does it's best rising at 78℉.  I have found a trick that helps.  I heat water in a glass mixing pitcher in the microwave; then place the bowl of sourdough over the pitcher.  I have a top from a grocery store vegetable tray that fits over the bowl. I cut out slots on the plastic top so that it fits over the bowl's pour-handles. The setup is left in the microwave.  When the water cools, remove the bowl of dough and repeat the process of heating the water. 

Sourdough English Muffins


1 cup (176-240grams) sourdough starter
2 - 21/2 cups (232 grams) gluten-free flour blend* (see below)
1/4 - 1/2 cup (59-188 grams) water
1 tablespoon (21.25 grams) honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 tablespoon seed dust with psyllium
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


For 1-2 minutes, whisk (with Danish dough whisk or spoon) the sourdough starter, gluten-free flour blend, 1/4 - 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon honey.  Add the water a little at a time so not to over hydrate the batter. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least 7 hours or overnight so all the flours are fermented, the phytate is degraded, and probiotics are formed.

Just before the fermentation is complete, place the muffin rings in the griddle or skillet.  Spray the muffin rings and sprinkle the insides with gluten-freecorn meal. Turn the stove or electric skillet to warm.  (See below if using the oven to make the English muffins)

When the fermentation is complete, sprinkle flax meal and seed dust on dough.

Combine oil, salt and egg in separate small bowl. With Danish dough whisk, combine the liquids into the dough mixture.  Add the baking powder.  It will begin bubbling.

Fill the muffin rings 2/3 full of batter.  Smooth the tops flat using fingers and water.  (Don't worry if you feel the dough is too wet - the dough will absorb it.) Sprinkle with cornmeal.

Heat griddle to 270°F - 275°F.  Placing the lid on skillet will help the muffin tops set. Bake 10 minutes, until the top is barely set and bottom surface is nicely browned. Flip the muffins and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove muffins from rings and transfer to a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to cook completely. The temperature with an instant thermometer should be about 205℉.  Important! Let cool before splitting in half and toasting.

Oven Method:  Line a 13"x9" baking pan  (or larger) with parchment paper.  Place 5-6 muffin rings on the pan. Spray the insides of the rings with cooking spray and sprinkle with gluten-free cornmeal.  Fill the muffin rings 2/3 full of batter.  smooth the tops flat using fingers and water.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Bake at 350℉ for 20-25 minutes.  The muffins can be tested for doneness with an instant thermometer.  The temperature should be about 205℉.  Remove from oven to cooling racks and remove the muffin rings. Let cool before splitting in half and toasting.

Sourdough Egg, Cheese and Bacon English Muffin


English Muffin Loaf

Found that this recipe for English muffins can be used to make sourdough loaf bread. One day I made the dough but got interruped. I didn't have time to get out the electric skillet and make the muffins. Waiting another day would leave the dough to sour another day, which I didn't want. I quickly preheated the oven to 375℉.  I put it in a dough in a 3.5-in x 7.5-in pan, which I sprayed only the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. It baked for about 35 minutes, or until it reached an internal temperature of  about 205℉ with an instant read thermometer.

It makes a beautiful tender small loaf. It is made using the exact recipe for the English muffins, including making the sourdough sponge. I let the sponge do its thing for 7-8 hours before adding the final ingredients. I have made this half dozen times and it turned out great every time.

The loaf makes wonderful little toasted sandwiches. I also like to toast a slice and spread it with cream cheese. To keep over a couple days, I slice it, separate the slices with pieces parchment paper, put it in a zipper freezer bag and put in the freezer.

Toasted ham & cheese sandwich using sourdough loaf

Freezing the loaf. This is about 3/4 of the loaf. The parchment
keeps the slices from sticking to each other.

*The flour blend used:
2 cups (246grams) sorghum flour
3 cups (360 grams) oat flour
1 ½ cups (255 grams) potato starch
½ cup (63 grams) tapioca flour
½ cup (60 grams) amaranth flour
½ cup (60 grams) quinoa flour

Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Sourdough Wraps, Waffles & Pancakes
Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Basic Sourdough Bread #1

References and Resources:

"Better Bread Starts with a Sponge." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"English Muffins Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network." English Muffins Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"Gluten-free Sourdough Oat English Muffins." Gluten-free Sourdough Oat English Muffins. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"Pixie Dust Xanthan Gum Replacer." GlutenFree Doctor. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"Sourdough Home - Yeasted English Muffin Bread." Sourdough Home - Yeasted English Muffin Bread. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"The Gluten-Free-Bread Baking-with-Psyllium-Husks-Powder Test." My Gluten Free Table. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

"Top 10 Reasons To Eat Real Sourdough Bread -- Even If You're Gluten Intolerant - CHEESESLAVE." CHEESESLAVE RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2014. <>

Disclosure statement:  I have not received compensation for any products mentioned in this site.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry I did not see you comment until now, Marilyn. Thank you.