From-scratch baking is something I put in the category of “If I only knew then what I know now…”. It seemed cumbersome before my 6 year old Jeremy and I were diagnosed with celiac disease. Why bother when you can get a moist, fluffy cupcake, muffin, etc. out of a box? Pillsbury and Betty Crocker were my go-to mixes since they are peanut and nut-free and I used them often. That seems like lifetimes ago. Now, I’m a mad scientist, trying to pull together master mixes of flours to get treats that taste great despite the fact that they are missing the one staple ingredient present in most desserts, flour.
Bread? Forget it! With minimal or no sugar and chocolate to outweigh the primary ingredient in bread-baking, I can honestly say I’ve found it near impossible to come up with a satisfying substitute. That was, until I took Chef Michelle Tampakis’ class at ICE, Gluten-Free Bread Baking. We made gluten-free brioche rolls, loaves of white and multi-grain bread, sweet and savory corn bread, foccacia, flat bread and bread sticks that were really good! Now, Chef Michelle is my pastry instructor in culinary school and we made the gluten-full versions of many breads in school this week. I brought some home for my husband and other two sons who don’t have celiac disease. They were pretty happy but the look on Jeremy’s face of pure devastation over not being able to try something I made in school just broke my heart. So, when they went off to camp in the morning, I took out the recipes from the gluten-free bread making class and spent the day whipping up several variations of breads based on Chef Michelle’s brioche recipe.
I made mini-brioche rolls, pain au chocolat and cinnamon rolls. My favorite was the cinnamon rolls. I ended up changing the original recipe and subbing in Cup4Cup flour because I ran out of potato flour and couldn’t find any in the store. I’m not going to tell you these cinnamon rolls taste like the cinnabuns you are used to. At the end of the day, you need regular flour to get that type of soft, flaky dough. However, they are yummy and my son Jeremy was beyond elated when he came home to find all of the special bread I made just for him. He actually came up to me later and said, very convincingly, “Mom, those breads were awesome! I’m not just saying that to make you feel good. They were really great!” Aww! So sweet!
This recipe is not easy. It’s a little time-consuming and you need a scale for the ingredients. I’m not messing with conversions and since the original recipe was in ounces, mine will be too. If I knew how easy regular vs. gluten-free baking was before I found out we had celiac, I may have made tons of homemade breads. However, now I am motivated to make my son happy and where there is a will, there sure is a way!
- 6 oz butter
- 2 oz granulated sugar
- ¾ oz instant yeast (or 3 packets granulated yeast)
- 14 oz Cup4Cup gluten-free flour blend (plus additional for rolling and as-needed)
- 2 oz brown rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 4 large eggs
- 6 oz of milk
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbl ground cinnamon (or more or less to taste)
- butter for greasing pans
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1½ cup confectioner's sugar
- 3 Tbl milk plus additional, if needed
- Place butter and granulated sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment or use an electric mixer on medium-high speed and beat together for 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Mix together flours, salt, xanthan gum and instant yeast* in a large bowl with a whisk (if using granulated yeast, do not include it in the dry ingredients. Warm milk to about 115 degrees, without boiling and add granulated yeast. Allow to activate for a few minutes before combining the milk with the eggs)
- Combine milk with the eggs in another bowl and whisk together well
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add ¼ of dry ingredients to the mixer with the butter and sugar.
- Add about ⅓ of the milk and egg mixture to the mixer. Stop and scrape to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Repeat this process until all of your dry and wet ingredients are added in and continue mixing about 3-4 minutes.
- Leave brioche dough in mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap place somewhere slightly warmer than room temperature for about 1 hour until the dough doubles in size (I put my oven on 200 for 30 seconds and then turned it off and put the dough inside of it).
- Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Taste and add more or less cinnamon to suit your taste. Set aside.
- Once dough has risen, you can take it out of the mixer and cut into four pieces. Flour your surface well and roll each quarter out into a rectangular shape. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, as needed so it can roll out without sticking to the surface. My pieces were about 5"X8".
- Once rolled out, sprinkle the top of the dough with your brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Start rolling on the long side of the dough, from left to right, to create a long tube. Cut into about 1- 1¼" pieces. (I was able to get six out of each roll).
- Butter 2 9X13 pans and set the cut cinnamon rolls in them, leaving room in-between.
- Place back in the slightly warmed oven for an additional ⅓ hour to continue to rise.
- Remove and heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat egg for egg wash in a small bowl and brush over each cinnamon roll.
- Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees fahrenheit.
- While baking the rolls, make your glaze by putting confectioner's sugar in a bowl and adding milk, 1 tablespoon at a time and whisking until you reach your desired consistency.
- Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and drizzle glaze on top. Serve warm immediately or reheat before serving.