Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ode to an Egg McMuffin

Once upon a time in a world far away, this woman-child was a McDonald's worker.
Although she knew even then that she wouldn't eat most of the food, it was a job close to home and so she worked hard to do her best.
She worked so hard that they made her a teacher of other young people. She taught them how to fill and clean the shake machine. How to stack together the two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese, pickles, onions on the sesame seed bun to create a Big Mac.
But most of all, she worked the breakfast shift.
Creating more than her share of Big Breakfasts (scrambled eggs, hash browns, pancakes and sausage) and especially Egg McMuffins.

Eating a hot Egg McMuffin after a long shift was one of the precious joys of working.
A fried egg shaped by a ring to be 3/4 inch thick, melted american cheese (or not since I HATED american cheese, even then I knew it was plastic food) a piece of Canadian bacon all layered in a toasted english muffin.

Once I grew up, learned more about food and nutrition, I still enjoyed that kind of sandwich. It was far more likely that I would layer a slice of aged cheddar cheese atop a slice of farmer ham. I loved those english muffins, full of nooks and crannies just to hold the butter.

So once I went gluten-free, finding a terrific english muffin was important.
Kinnickinnick has one that is lovely in a pinch, but I find it too thick for this sandwich.
So I began my search for a recipe and the rings to form the buns.

I found a recipe first. You just have to love Google. Just type in Gluten-free english muffin recipe and presto a few idea sites within reach.

This one on GlutenFreeSoxFan is my inspiration:

But she uses a muffin top pan. I wanted to use an open ring to make sure that the dough got enough contact to brown lightly on both sides. Also I wanted to make at least 8 english muffins at one time since we are a family of 4. How would we split the last two otherwise?

So the search continued till I found these Norpro rings at the Bob's Red mill store when I drove down to Portland for some continuing education. Couldn't go all that way and not restock the bookcase in my office that I use to help the members of the Bellingham Gluten Intolerant community. It was fun to see the new store, well new to me since I left Portland 5 years ago.

I love these rings. They worked perfectly with just a bit of oiling. Of course once I looked on Amazon, there they were again:

But I also noticed that these rings qualify for free shipping if you order over $25. Since that is rarely a problem, I might just get a foursome of these on my next order.

I am so glad that they are not non stick. The chemicals in non stick cookware are just frightening. This is an excerpt from the Environmental Working Group:

Why avoid nonstick coatings?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), every time an empty nonstick coated pan is used on medium to high heat the surface emits a toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. PFOA has recently been labeled a likely human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

DuPont was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly hiding data for years on serious health effects of exposure to PFOA.

PFOA has been found in the blood of almost all North Americans, including newborn babies.
Canada has negotiated an agreement with manufacturers of nonstick coatings to reformulate their coatings and their manufacturing process to decrease release of PFOA by 95% by 2010.

Then I just had to adjust the recipe for the number of english muffins I wanted to make, add back in the millet flour for a lovely crumb and tweak it a bit to avoid the cornstarch and xanthan gum as much as I can. I seem to react to too much cornstarch and xanthan.
And Voila!

Gluten-free English Muffins
Makes 8

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup warm water
cornmeal to sprinkle into rings

1. Place 8 rings on sheet pan. brush rings with oil or use spray oil to coat. sprinkle a bit of corn meal into each ring.
2. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of mixer.
3. Add oil and water and mix till well blended, scrape sides down occasionally.
4. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
5. spoon into rings. sprinkle in a tiny bit of cornmeal. Cover and let rest in cool area for 20 minutes to develop flavor and then 20 minutes in warmer area to let rise.
6. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. They should be barely browned.
6. Let cool and split with a fork.
Toast and enjoy.

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