Parmesan and fresh oregano make these savory gluten-free muffins a perfect addition to the dinner table. For an easy variation, switch out the cheese and herb for another flavor combination. Extra sharp cheddar and fresh chives are a popular duo, as are Swiss cheese with mild green chilies. If you’re out of fresh herbs, substitute two tablespoons of dried herbs.
One of the joys of gluten-free baking is that you can’t over mix the batter, so don’t worry about making a well in the center of the flour and working quickly like regular muffin recipes call for. If you’re baking with wheat, mixing activates the gluten, which makes quick breads tough. Since that’s not a problem with gluten-free flours, the muffins are sure to be a success no matter what your mixing technique is. The recipe doesn’t call for xanthan or guar gum either, since the only time you need them in gluten-free baking is when you’re working with yeast. For best results, weigh the flour instead of using volume measurements, as flours easily compact, which can result in too much flour and a dense, heavy muffin.
This recipe works equally well with buttermilk or soured milk. To make soured milk, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or vinegar to the bottom of the measuring cup, then fill the cup with warm milk. If you can’t tolerate dairy, use lactose-free milk or one of the milk substitutes such as almond or soy. The batter will be thinner and won’t rise as high as it does with buttermilk, but the moist, tender crumb will be equally delicious. Unlike many gluten-free baked goods, these muffins still taste good the next day, though if your house is like mine, they seldom last that long.
According to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Sue Shepherd, Parmesan cheese is a low lactose cheese. The nutrition facts state that it contains 0 grams of carbohydrate, so it’s safe to eat if you are lactose intolerant. Most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.
Note: Research now says that almonds should be limited to about 10 nuts per serving, so only eat a small serving of this. Ten nuts weigh about 12 grams. To calculate how much of this you can safely eat, divide the 123 grams of almond meal in the recipe by the 12 grams per allowed serving to get 10.25 servings total. The recipe makes 12 muffins, so a safe serving is a little over 1 muffin.
Gluten-free Parmesan and Herb Muffins
122 grams (7/8 cup) brown rice flour
123 grams (1 1/4 cup) blanched almond flour (almond meal)
52 grams (1/2 cup) tapioca flour/starch or arrowroot
53 grams (1/3 cup) potato starch
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5 ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (10 ml) kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 ml) baking soda
40 grams (packed 1/3 cup or 80 ml) Parmesan cheese, grated
15 grams (1/2 cup) chopped fresh oregano or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried
300 grams (1 1/4 cups or 300 ml) buttermilk or soured milk (see notes above)
100 grams (1/2 cup or 120 ml) canola or grapeseed oil
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Use a paper towel to grease a muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in the cheese and herbs. Put the buttermilk or soured milk, oil and eggs into a small bowl and beat until combined. Pour the liquid into the flour and stir until there are no lumps or dry flour remaining, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, dividing it evenly between the cups. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them sit for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen it, then move it to a wire rack to finish cooling.