One of my greatest pleasures in the kitchen was making bread, that is before I was diagnosed gluten sensitive. When I bought my first batch of gluten free flours to experiment with for bread, I made the biggest mess in my kitchen. Lucky for me, our local library had some gluten free cookbooks by Bette Hagman. Her book, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread was a life saver, not only for me, but for all those bags of flour I had brought home. At last they were destined for my stomach and not the trash.
Since then, I've gotten away from making yeast breads, contenting myself with various types of quick breads. Lingering in the back of my mind was my desire to make some of the yeast breads I had loved, but in a gluten free form. I thought the hardest bread to make gluten free would be a brioche. A flavorful egg bread, a brioche should be light and lofty. The type of bread that Bobby Flay (Boy Meets Grill, Iron Chef) uses for his pumpkin french toast.
Could I pull off a lofty gluten free bread? Obviously, I just had to try this out. I began putting together a gluten free brioche recipe, by using my favorite recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cook Book as a starting point. I selected my flours and then for a binder I chose agar agar.
I like using agar in bread recipes, because when it gels around the flour it still has a soft texture. Agar has the added benefit of being able to be reheated and brought back to a liquid. You can also make agar gel in a microwave. This picture is what agar in milk looks like after 30 seconds on medium heat.
Now off to the baking part of the test.
1 pkg Rapunzel rIZE yeast 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 deg F) 1/4 cup milk 1 Tb agar agar flakes 1/4 cup butter 3 Tb agave syrup 2 whole eggs 1/2 cup brown rice flour 1/2 cup sweet rice flour 1/3 + 1 Tb arrowroot starch 1/2 + 1 Tb buckwheat flour 1 egg white, for glazing top of dough
1. Warm the water for softening the yeast to between 110-115 deg F. Add the yeast to the water.
2. In a microwave safe container, pour in the milk and agar. Warm for about 30 seconds on medium heat.
3. In a medium sized bowl, pour in each of the flours and stir them together.
4. In a large mixing bowl, plop in the butter and cream on medium speed. Pour in the agave syrup and eggs. Mix them with the butter. Next pour in the milk/agar mixture and the softened yeast. Then mix into the liquid. Slowly pour in the flour blend into the mixing bowl.
5. Once it is nicely mixed together remove the bowl from the mixer. Then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set some place warm to rise. Allow it to rise for 2 hours.
6. Once the two hours have passed, place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator to rest over night.
7. To make mini brioche rolls, take 8 silicone cup cake molds and place them on a baking sheet. Pour a little water into a small bowl for moistening your fingers into to keep the dough from sticking too much. Using your hands scoop out enough dough to make a ball about the size of a golf ball. Make 8 balls, but leave enough dough in the bowl for making little balls to place on top. Using your finger, press in an indentation in the top of each ball. This is for the little ball that is placed on top. Make 8 little balls. Pinch one side of the ball so that it makes a point and place the point into the indentation.
8. The mini brioche rolls are now ready for the second rise. Cover them and place them in a warm spot to rise for 45 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
10. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of the mini brioche rolls with the egg white.
11. Place the rolls in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
12. Allow to cool before serving. Makes 8 mini-brioche rolls.
How did my experiment turn out? Was the bread light and lofty? The rolls were rather light, but they weren't lofty. The rolls held together well and had a nice texture. However, they weren't as light as a brioche made with wheat.
How did they taste? My husband and I thought they were fabulous...warm, yeasty and full of flavor. My kids thought they were okay. They said the flavor wasn't bad, just different. My husband and I think this recipe is a keeper.