Gluten-Free Brioche Rolls

A few weeks ago, I was catching up on all of my blog reading and came across a series of recipes for gluten-free desserts on Katie Quinn Davies' site, What Katie Ate. She made these gorgeous cakes and tarts, all artfully arranged and photographed in her classic, country-meets-modern style. By the time I finished savoring every picture and poring over the ingredient list, all I could think about was how I might do a some gluten-free experimenting of my own. Then, I remembered that Thomas Keller (TK) had a gluten-free recipe for brioche rolls towards the end of Bouchon Bakery, and I knew it was meant to be.

I rearranged my baking schedule and embarked on a virtual research project to find the best gluten-free flour for the most affordable price. As much as I love Thomas Keller, I also find that some of the ingredients he uses aren't exactly cost effective. EXAMPLE: Cup4Cup, the gluten-free flour invented and trademarked by one of his former chefs, which retails at Williams Sonoma for $19.95.

Twenty dollars for a bag of flour!?
Hell will most certainly freeze over before I spend $20 on a bag of flour. 

Thankfully, Williams Sonoma lists all the ingredients in Cup4Cup on their website, so I jotted them down and started searching for other gluten-free flours made from similar ingredients. I read Amazon reviews, consulted bakery websites, and ultimately landed on King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which I was able to score at Whole Foods for $7.99. 
But my research still wasn't done yet because this recipe calls for instant yeast, NOT active dry yeast. According to TK, active dry yeast has a coating of dead cells around the outside, which makes it behave less consistently. I would tend to agree, even in my very limited bread-making experience.

Several years ago, my former roommate Ivy and I were on an Indian food kick and we attempted to make our own naan. We kneaded the dough, placed it in oiled boils, laid damp towels over it, let it rise for hours -- the whole nine yards. Even still, the final product was rather dense and never rose quite the way we hoped it would.

I figured it was worth a shot to give instant yeast a try, but they didn't seem to carry it at any of the major grocery stores, so I went back to the "virtual" drawing board and started googling again. Thanks to some random guy who posted years ago on an online forum, I now know that Saf instant yeast can be bought at your local Smart and Final. Victory at last!

Once I got to the baking part, I was pleasantly surprised by these brioche rolls. They came out moist and flavorful, and I didn't even miss the wheat flour. They're also pretty easy to whip together and don't require any kneading -- hooray!

If you've got some gluten-free friends -- or if you're just in the mood to experiment -- try them out and let me know what you think in the comment section, or leave a comment on my Edible Life facebook page :)

Gluten-Free Brioche Rolls
(adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook)

Total time required: 4 hours 30 mins (But most of this time is letting the dough rise.)

Saf instant yeast             7 grams, or 2 tsp.            
Granulated sugar            20 grams, or 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp.
Warm water                   230 grams, or 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp 
Gluten-free flour             535 grams, or 3 3/4 cups
Kosher salt                    10 grams, or 1 Tbsp
Eggs                              158 grams, or 2 eggs
Egg yolks                       22 grams, or 2 yolks
Honey                            80 grams, or 1/4 cup
Unsalted butter, melted  100 grams, or 7 Tbsp.
Egg, beaten                   1  
Maldon, or other flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Combine yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add water and set the bowl in a warm spot to proof for 10 minutes, or until it gets foamy and bubbly.

Combine the gluten-free flour and salt in large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Get out another bowl and whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, honey, melted butter, and yeast mixture.

Turn the stand mixer to low (or use an electric hand mixer on low) and slowly add the egg mixture to the flour. Once it's all combined, increase the speed to high and mix for another 10 minutes. The dough should be silky -- not stiff, like regular bread dough.

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Next, use a rubber spatula to deflate the dough and turn it over several times. Re-cover it with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate for 2 hours.

Get out 2 muffin tins and coat them with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough evenly among the cups (it should make about 14 rolls), and then brush the tops of them with beaten egg. Top with a light sprinkling of Maldon salt, and then set in a warm spot to proof, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-17 minutes.