Almost gluten-free brioche and its many uses

I was reading an old blog that was posted on Cannelle et Vanille. The images of this gluten free brioche she made and used with breakfast and a Nutella treat inspired me to try it. I don’t eat gluten-free, nor do I need to – but I took on the challenge anyway. We have made brioche before, and it’s difficult to get the consistency right. Throw gluten-free into the mix and it really changes it up!

Now, when I say “almost” gluten-free, it turned out that way by accident. I had, what I thought, was everything that I needed. I neglected to see that the recipe called for 3 3/4 cups of cornstarch. I would never in a million years assume that something would have that much cornstarch in it. I’ve never used more than a tablespoon of it before in my cooking. So….I used 3 cups of cornstarch and had to do 3/4 cups of all purpose flour. I have no idea how the bread would have turned out if I didn’t have the all purpose flour in there. I may never know….unless I try to make this again sometime and ensure that I have all the correct ingredients beforehand.

Now, this bread has to sit for two hours before baking it. Since we wanted it for breakfast the next day, I made it the night before and refrigerated it after the 2 hours of resting it had done. It can sit in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The next morning I woke up and thought, I bet there’s more to this bread than I realized. At 7 am I drearily looked at the recipe on my iPhone and saw that it has to sit out for 90 minutes and then bake for 45 minutes. Ugh, so breakfast would have to wait a couple of hours…

The bread smelled so good as it was baking and when I pulled it out of the oven it looked perfect, but after a few minutes it deflates and becomes a little misshapen. The end result was still really good. The bread has a fruity sweetness from the honey and the little amount of sugar sprinkled on top. The first thing you think of is to eat it with something sweet. But, Aran gave me the idea to do something different.

I have to admit that I pretty much copied what Aran did in her blog. For “late” breakfast, we toasted the bread. An when I say toasted, I mean warmed it. This bread does not get toasty. We topped it with a fried egg for mark and scrambled eggs for me and Sophie. Being that I am pregnant, I am supposed to have well-done eggs. (Boo). On top of that was watercress, green apple, and a lovely hazelnut vinaigrette. Mark’s looked much better than mine and tasted better – I snuck a bite of  his. I had to – ok? A cook must know what her food tastes like! The sweetness of the bread worked so well with the creamy eggs, tang of the vinaigrette, and peppery bite of the watercress.

For lunch we had some delicious cauliflower, turnip, and leek soup. We had all of this cauliflower from the farmer’s market and I wanted to find something good to do with it. I will have to remake the soup again and give you the recipe. It was so good!

That night after dinner, we used the brioche to make little Nutella sandwiches on the panini. I attempted to make a hazelnut praline by toasting chopped hazelnuts in a pan with sugar. To me it tasted a little burnt (I’m sure I made it wrong). I will definitely go the regular hazelnut route next time. What was so wonderfully refreshing was to eat some fresh strawberries along with it to “lighten” it up.

Gluten-Free Brioche
from Cannelle et Vanille who adapted it from “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Zoe François and Jeff Hertzberg

Makes enough bread for three 1.5 lb loaves

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
3 3/4 cups cornstarch
2 Tbs granulated yeast
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs xanthan gum
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup honey
4 eggs
1 cup neutral flavor oil
1 Tbs vanilla extract
Egg wash
Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

Whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a 5 qt bowl.

Combine the liquid ingredients and gradually mix them into the dry using a paddle attachment until there are no dry bits of flour.

Cover and allow the dough to rest for 2 hours. The dough can be used now or refrigerated for up to 5 days.

On baking day, grease a 8.5″x4.5″ pan. Break a 1.5 lb piece of dough and shape it into a round. Wet your hands as the dough will be sticky. Elongate the dough into an oval and put it in the pan. You might need to wet the top a bit to smooth it out. Let it rest for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you are using non refrigerated dough).  (*Note: the last loaf rested for 2 hours and seemed to turn out a little less dense than the others. So I would recommend letting it rest for 2 hours after it has been refrigerated.)

Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar right before baking. Bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes.

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