Whole Grain Wheat-Free Muffins with Love.
I've been thinking about muffins. And not just any ordinary, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill, starchy, gluten-free muffins. Nope. A tender, whole grain, lower sugar, vanilla scented muffin that bursts with fresh strawberry flavor. Warm from the oven, these pleasantly grainy breakfast treats are pull-apart soft with juicy bites of strawberry. Sweet- but not too sweet.
I used pure maple syrup for the primary sweetener, and a mere two tablespoons of organic brown sugar. And now for the interesting part. I also experimented with no xanthan gum. This is highly unusual for me. I've usually rely on xanthan gum to give my gluten-free batter and dough the stretchability factor- a trait removed when I booted gluten from my kitchen and wished it vaya con dios. But inspired by Lauren, the Celiac Teen, I decided to try baking without it.
But here's the thing.
Shunning gluten is a complicated issue. Gluten imparts a flexibility to batter and dough, and baking without it can lead you to crumbly, gritty ruin if you're not careful. You're giving up protein. And you're giving up elasticity. And not only that, you're saying buh-bye to the toothsome texture you are accustomed to.
Reaching for xanthan gum was a quick fix, an immediate solution to this lack of flexibility problem. But many of you now report you don't want to use it. For some it's a price issue (xanthan gum ain't cheap, Darling). For others it's a digestive issue (xanthan gum or its alternative, guar gum, can be hard on sensitive digestion). And for some, it's an allergy issue (to mold or the growth medium, most often cornstarch).
Gluten-free baking without gums is tricky. This, I know. So my first foray into this venture is not vegan. I used two free-range organic eggs. Egg whites help give gluten-free batter that precious stretchability factor. And the protein factor. They bind, and they leaven.
My choice of flours reflects two things- what I had on hand this morning, and my desire to use whole grains (I am liking starches less and less). I picked hazelnut flour for the delightful nutty flavor and protein; millet, brown rice, and sorghum flour because they are whole grain and higher protein than white rice flour or potato starch; and I used coconut flour because it attracts moisture and adds a lovely texture to gluten-free baked goods (not to mention, for its high fiber status).
The result? A tasty, blog worthy success. I absolutely love these strawberry muffins.
And I hope you do, too!
Karina's Gluten-Free Whole Grain Strawberry MuffinsRecipe posted April 2011.
The combo of whole grain flours gives a delicate, aromatic flavor to these strawberry studded muffins. Light and tender, these bumpy dome topped beauties make a perfect breakfast treat for spring and summer. Use local organic strawberries for maximum deliciousness.
First: Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
1/2 cup hazelnut flour or almond flour
1/2 cup GF oat flour, or cornmeal
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup GF millet flour or GF oat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour or flax meal
2 tablespoons organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
1/4 cup light olive oil or grape seed oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 cup vanilla soy milk, rice milk, coconut or nut milk, as needed
1 1/2 cups fresh organic strawberries, washed, stemmed, diced
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- from the hazelnut flour to the nutmeg. Add in the beaten eggs, oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat to begin combining.
As the batter is coming together, start pouring in the soy milk, slowly, a little at a time, and beat to mix thoroughly. When you have added 3/4 cup liquid, take a close look at your batter. It should be soft and slightly thick.
Add the rest of the milk slowly, continuing to beat. When the batter looks like a muffin batter, stop adding the liquid. I used a full cup, but some of you in more humid climes might need a tablespoon or two less liquid. This batter isn't super-smooth and sticky (no xanthan gum!). It is not as thin as cake batter. It should look almost puffy.
Stir in most of the strawberries by hand, using a wooden spoon (reserve a portion of the strawberry pieces for the tops).
Spoon the strawberry muffin batter into the twelve lined cups. Stud the tops with strawberry pieces. Don't smooth out the tops- leave them puffy and bumpy.
Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Note: If your berries are cold, your muffins will take a few minutes longer to bake.
Cool the pan on a rack for five minutes, then turn out the muffins to continue cooling on a wire rack (this keeps them from steaming in the hot pan and getting soggy).
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 12 muffins
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
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|Warm from the oven whole grain lovelies.|
Vegan and egg-free readers, you'll need to experiment with an egg replacer that has some binding properties (remember, no xanthan gum means much less binding). I'm thinking a flax seed sub might work best. Keep an eye on the liquid to dry ratio- don't let the batter get too wet and gummy. If the batter seems wet and thin or gummy- bake the muffins a tad longer, perhaps. Use your experience in baking with flax seed gel.
For those of you substituting flours- I'd recommend using certified gluten-free oat flour as a suitable sub for any of these flours- though coconut flour has no real replacement- it is so moist, and adds fiber and texture, and helps keep the batter happy. If you do sub the coconut flour, keep an eye on the liquid- you may need less.
Those of you preferring organic raw agave nectar over maple syrup, the substitution should be equal.
I made these low fructose/fructan for a FODMAPs friendly muffin (though some may not be able to tolerate the coconut flour). These gluten-free beauties are also lactose/dairy free, corn-free (use corn-free baking powder), and easily soy-free if you use vanilla rice, nut or hemp milk.
Wrap leftover muffins in foil, and freeze them in a freezer bag to preserve freshness. Warm before serving, if you like.
For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.