Last week, after a couple of rather rough days, I received an unexpected package in the mail that really made my day. Zoe sent me copies of her two baking books “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. As you know, I am a cookbook addict and nothing makes me happier than discovering new books, especially if they are written by friends.
I started browsing through them right away and one recipe in particular caught my eye, the gluten-free brioche. I have experimented with gluten free baking before, but usually in recipes that are easy to adjust and that the gluten content is not the main requirement for its success. Bread baking is a whole different game though and I was intrigued to see what the texture of a brioche made mainly with cornstarch would turn out to be.
So I used our Halloween morning get-together to experiment with the recipe. The brioche has great flavor and texture and it is so easy to make that it even surprised me.
We had beautiful farm eggs that morning and what a better way to showcase their freshness than by poaching them. This technique immediately lets you know how fresh an egg is by just seeing how much it stays together once submerged in the poaching liquid. The yolks were so bright and colorful that really, there is no better ingredient for brunch.
Served the poached eggs on toasted slices of the brioche with a salad of watercress, purple basil and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples. I had some toasted hazelnuts from before so I though a mustard and toasted hazelnut vinaigrette would make the perfect dressing. So much flavor and texture.
I reserved some of the brioche to make hazelnut, chocolate and praline crunch panini. I don’t have a panini maker so I just spread some organic, store-bought hazelnut and chocolate spread on slices of brioche with some praline crunch and toasted them on a griddle. It really was a decadent way to finish this Halloween weekend. I wish I could show you the kids’ faces covered in chocolate and praline.
adapted 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
1 cup neutral flavor oil
1 Tbs vanilla extract
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).
Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar right before baking. Bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes.
Toasted Brioche, Poached Egg, Watercress and Apple Salad
8 slices toasted gluten-free brioche
4 eggs (preferably farm fresh)
2 cups watercress
Bunch of purple basil
2 Granny Smith apples, thinly slices
Few drops lemon juice
Water for poaching eggs
1 Tbs white vinegar
Mustard and toasted hazelnut vinaigrette
Poach the eggs. Bring 3 qts of water and the vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Break off the egg into a ramekin and gently submerge the egg in the simmering liquid. Do not let the water boil and only cook 1 or 2 eggs at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes or until white has coagulated but yolk is still liquid. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Thinly slice the apples and drizzle with some lemon juice so they don’t oxidize.
Place 2 small slices of toasted brioche on a plate. Garnish with watercress, purple basil and thinly sliced apples. Place the poached egg on top and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle the mustard and toasted hazelnut vinaigrette on top.
Mustard and Toasted Hazelnut Vinaigrette
2 tsp mustard
2 Tbs minced shallot
2 Tbs hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
Place the mustard, minced shallots, hazelnuts, balsamic and apple cider vinegars in a bowl. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking creating a light emulsion.
Thank you Zoe for sharing with us!